The subject is still on. I hope it is reasonably clear. It will become more reader-friendly after editing.
So far we have seen from the Qur'an that:
Salaat = Following Divine commands.
Establishing Salaat takes us to the desired destination of success in both lives since we follow our Lord on His Straight Path.
11:56 .... Indeed, my Lord is on the Straight, Balanced Path. ...
The Opposite of Salaat = Following desires or lusts. See 19:59 below - Ittiba'-ish-shahawaat). [THE OPPOSITE OF SALAAT IS NOT MISSING PRAYERS (NAMAAZ).]
19:59 But after them (the great prophets 19:58) came generations that ruined the Salaat and started following desires.... [ruined the Salaat = Stopped following the Divine commands and followed their desires instead]
All books of Ahadith and Fiqh fail to explain the method of Namaaz or ritual prayers.
All creatures, birds and animals, know their Salaat (Mission) & Tasbeeh (Strife). [24:41]
Do they do Wudhu, Azaan, Recitation, Rukoo' and Sajdah? No! Therefore, Salaat cannot be Namaaz or ritual prayer.
Salaat shuts of lewdness, stinginess and bad conduct. Namaaz or ritual prayer does not. (29:45)
Salaat is closely tied to economic justice:
11:87 They said, "O Sho’aib! Does your Salaat command you that.... we should forsake doing what we like to do with our wealth? ...."
AQEEM-US-SALAATA WA AAT-UZ-ZAKAAT
2:110 Establish the Divine System, and set up the Just Economic Order of Zakaat ....
See Role of the Masjid in Part 3.
SALVATION OR SUCCESS?
What is the ultimate goal of human beings according to the Qur'an? It is not NIJAAT or Salvation. The ultimate Goal for us is to attain magnificent Success (Fauz-o-Falah) in both lives.
11:56 “.... Indeed, my Lord is on the Straight, Balanced Path.”
Salaat puts us on the Path of our Lord.
DEEN (System of Life. It is always based on COLLECTIVELY ESTABLISHING SALAAT.)
2:132 This very legacy Abraham left to his children, and so did Jacob, saying, “O My children! Indeed, God has chosen for you the Way of Life. Therefore, let not death overtake you except that you are submitters (Muslim).”
[Deen = The Divinely Prescribed System of Life = Al-Islam. It has more to do with the collective life of humans and sociology. It concerns itself with people living in this world in peace according to the Code of permanent values that ensures success in both lives. Religion (Mazhab) is more of a generic term signifying a creed involving certain rites and rituals and seeking individual salvation. Islam being a Collective System of Life is, in fact, a Challenge to Religion]
“Salaat-il-Wusta” is usually translated as the ‘middle prayer’, the middle one of the five daily prayers, that is, afternoon prayers or ‘Asr. In fact, it means ‘the central duty’.
2:238 Guard your duties pertaining to the family life (221-237) and the central duty which is remaining vigilant in obeying Divine commands.
Salaat-il-Mauqoota = Congregational Salaat at times appointed by the government: Today, it is understood as the five prayers a day at fixed hours - Fajar, Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha. See ‘Role of the Masjid’ in Part 3.
4:103 After you are done with the congregation, remain mindful of God - standing, sitting or lying down. When you feel secure once again, establish Salaat as usual. Salaat at the times appointed by the Central Authority is mandatory unto believers. [3:191]
TIMINGS: There was no concept of praying alone or praying at homes and offices during the blessed era of the exalted Prophet and his noble companions. The congregation timings were determined by the central or local officials according to the situation, from once a day to once a week. Friday was the official Day of Congregation.
Rak’ats or Units: Today’s Namaaz is broken down in Fardh (Mandatory), Sunnat (Prophetic tradition), Nafl (Optional), and Witar (Important). Then each of the five prayers is broken down into units. As we have discussed, there were no five fixed prayers a day and the congregational Salaat at the Masjid consisted of one unit standing only without bowing or prostrating.
Haneefi or Abrahimic Salaat: It is often stated that the method of ritual prayers has been going on since the times of Ibrahim (a.s.). But the history tells us that there were only three or four Haneefi men in Makkah when Muhammad (S) was commissioned to the prophetic office. If they prayed like today, what would they recite when the Qur'an was not yet revealed?
dictated, not read