I have a query which I have been unable to answer for myself. Perhaps a discussion on this forum can help:
As brother Jawaid has described in his post, the word salaat comes with various meanings depending on the context. There are certain verses in which along with salaat, the words 'ruku' & 'sujood' are mentioned. The fact that these words are mentioned separately, and given that Allah chose His words wisely, there has to be an underlying meaning & significance in the 'distinct' usage of these two words.
If we think that there are figurative meanings of these words, then the distinction is not needed. Either word is sufficient to convey the figurative concept. However, I feel that we need to examine the verses for their literal aspect, as there cannot be wasted words in the Quran.
2:43 mentions salaat with rukoo
2:125 mentions rukoo and sujood
4:102 mentions salaat with sujood and
4:103 talks of salaat at appointed times
5:58 mentions call to prayer (this reinforces the appointed time concept ?)
9:112 mentions rukoo & sujood
22:26 mentions rukoo & sujood
22:77 talks of rukoo & sajda
Thanks & regards,