What does the word 'sujood' mean?

Question:

D
o the stars and the trees really prostrate (55:6)? We know this is not possible physically. Some websites claim (using this verse) that 'sujood' does not mean to prostrate but it means to submit to God. Can you please shed light on this matter in the light of Quran?

Reply:

Indeed, all objects in the universe prostrate to God, however, their sujood is not like our sujood, nor is their 'tasbeeh' (glorification of God).
As an example, God tells us that we will not understand how they glorify God:

Glorifying Him are the seven universes and the earth and all who are in them. There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise, but
you do not understand their glorification. He is Forbearing, Forgiving. 17:44

Just because we humans do 'tasbeeh' (glorification) and 'sujood' (prostration), does not mean that everything else in the universe does tasbeeh and sujood in exactly the same manner that we do. Verse
17:44 proves that it does not have to be in the same manner.
Here is an example that happens in front of our eyes:
All living creatures need oxygen for living, but the way different creatures breathe is not the same. Humans and animals breathe air and extract oxygen through their lungs, but fish breathe water (not air), and extract oxygen from the water through their gills.
If we follow the logic of the deniers of prostration, can we then ask:
"Do fish really breathe oxygen, since they do not have lungs like us to be able to extract oxygen, nor do they breathe air?"

Sadly, there are many deceptive websites, youtube videos and facebook accounts that spread a lot of falsehood thereby exploiting many gullible people. All they do is deliberately manipulate various Quranic words. Their agenda is to destroy the rituals of Islam that are given by God in the Quran.

Some claim that sujood is not a physical prostration, while others are saying that Zakat is not an obligatory money payment, and others are also saying that fasting should not be during the month of Ramadan, but during the hottest month of the solar year, etc etc.
On every occasion God exposed their falsehood in the Quran itself.
When we come to their claim about sujood not being a physical movement, but only submission to God, we find the following pieces of Quranic evidence.

Evidence 1

The following 2 verses in Sura 4 speak about the concession from God to shorten the Salat during times of fear of the enemy.

If you travel in the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening your Salat if you fear that those who disbelieved may harm you. Surely, the disbelievers are your clear enemy. 4:101

And if you are among them and you lead the Salat for them, let a group of them stand with you and let them hold on to their weapons. Then once they have done 'sujood', let them be positioned behind you and let another group, who has not yet observed the Salat, observe the Salat with you while remaining cautious and while holding on to their weapons. 4:102

God is saying that when the Imam leads the Salat, a group of believers stand to observe the Salat with him (while holding on to their weapons). The words that follow are very important, they say that once the first group do sujood, they should go to the rear (to guard), and a new group comes to pray with the Imam.
For argument's sake, let us substitute the word sujood in this verse with the words (submit to God). What would the verse mean in that case? It would mean the following:

1- The words "once they have done sujood" would mean that the group observing the Salat with the Imam could not have been submitting to God when they started the Salat but that sometime during the Salat they submitted to God.

2- The words would also mean that when people submit to God they should immediately go and stand in the rear! Then another new group comes to observe the Salat with the Imam, and they too continue with the Imam until they submit to God.

3- The words would also imply that there would be no need for further Salat since they have already submitted to God. Or will they lose their submission later and will need to submit to God again?

Considering that the verse speaks to those who are already believers, and warning them how to be on guard at times of war, it makes no sense to suggest that groups among the believers are not submitting to God already, or that they will decide in groups to submit to God halfway through the Salat!

Evidence 2

On the Day when a leg will be exposed they will be called to prostration, but they will be unable to.
With their eyes subdued, humiliation will overwhelm them; for they used to be called to prostration when they were safe and sound. 68:42-43

What the above words tell us is that on Judgement Day, the wicked ones will be called to prostrate (sujood) but they will not be able to.

1- This immediately refutes the suggestion that sujood means suibmission to God. On Judgement Day, all creatures will be in total submission to God. The option of not being able to submit to God will not exist, that is, if sujood means submission.

2- The words in verse 43 tell us why they will not be able to do sujood (prostration), it is because they will not be in a physical condition that allows them to prostarte. Various Quranic verses that describe the condition of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement indicate that they will be shackles up to their necks and in total distress.