Allama Parwez was also of the idea that until a Central Quranic Authority comes into power and gives its judgment on Namaaz, Muslims should continue to observe Namaaz the way they have been taught. Allama even mentions in one of his letters that he offers Namaaz in the Hanafi manner when with Hanafis (possibly implying that he used to offer Namaaz the Shafa’i way when praying at a Shafa’i mosque, and so on and so forth).
With due respect to Allama and my mentor Dr. Shabbir, I fail to identify with this line of thought. Once it has become apparent to us that Namaaz is but an invention concocted after the times of the Prophet (S), why should we then keep on with it? I think we should be courageous enough to take a stand and put our foot down regarding this erroneous practice.
I read about Dr. Shabbir’s position on Namaaz around 3 years ago, and while being convinced about his research even then (and complementing it with some personal research about the Zoroastrian manner of worship); it nevertheless took me 3 years to convince myself to stop the ritualistic (and addictive) practice of Namaaz. Many reasons were involved for this delay. For one, you can’t wake up one fine day and stop what you have been religiously doing for 20 years. To compound matters, there is so much importance attached to Namaaz that I was actually scared out of my wits to give it up. Also, I faced the ridicule of my family and friends for being brash enough to question the validity of the cardinal Namaaz.
However, there came a time recently when I decided that enough was enough: I wouldn’t go on with this non-Quranic ritual. Believe me, it took every amount of will and courage to give it up. But now that I have, I feel a strange sense of catharsis, and a sense of being unshackled from the biggest anti-Quranic ritual.
While I am still dealing with the harsh attitudes of family and friends (“What’s you next step”, they sarcastically say, “disbelief in Allah?”), I must tell you that I am beginning to feel that I am gathering some support around me. As it turns out, some people around me did have their doubts about Namaaz, or at least some functions of Namaaz. They were just too afraid to mention their doubts to anybody for fear of being dismissed as heretics. It turned out that such people just needed a little push: just a little bit of motivation to convince them to go out and think for themselves. When they employed this tactic of individual judgment, they felt the same cathartic release that I felt.
I do not know what stopped the great GAP, and what is stopping the equally brilliant Dr. Shabbir to openly declare that Namaaz is wrong. Period. Dr. Shabbir has always called a spade a spade. I humbly say to Dr. Saheb that he should not make an exception with Namaaz. An unconditional stance from him will mean a positive change in the lives of innumerable people.