I want to reiterate once more, I am not criticizing and/or belittling scholars’ work, past and/or present. I am humbly thankful to them for their work which was/is instrumental to bring me out of the darkness some 15 years back. I read, reflect, and benefit from scholars’ work, but I am not a blind follower. Scholars never claimed that theirs is the final word when it comes to Quran. What I am stating in these posts is my considered understanding of various concepts, terms and terminologies in Quran. In this context, I am simply presenting my understanding of the word “salat” in Quran.
My methodology of doing this research is based on grammar, lexicons, context in which words, phrases and verses appear, and tasreef-ul-a’ya’t. I don’t come to Quran and its verses to confirm and/or deny some preconceived ideas and notions, as I see some doing on this forum. Rather, I look up to the verses to guide and lead me to the right conclusions, whatever those conclusions happen to be. Yet, I am a human being with all its strengths and weaknesses intact. I am prone to error. I will readily accept my errors if brought to my notice with convincing evidence. To this end and within this context, Quran and its verses are front and center for me, and the only rightful criterion to be accepted.
Further, as I demand my right to understand the Quran the way I see it, I fully extend the same right to anyone who likes to do the same for him/herself. If this is your understanding of the word Salat, brother Jawaid, be it. I wish you good luck with your understanding, no matter how far removed this understanding is from the message of the Quran. I will try showing you through logic, verses, and context how misplaced your understanding is, provided you are open to reason, of which I am growing doubtful as per my observation.
I have taken bits and pieces of Br. Jawaid’s various recent posts to save time and to consolidate my response. The following series of explanations punctuated with questions are open for anyone who wants to reflect.
According to Br. Jawaid, the “birds in flight” is an example of birds doing Salat and Tasbih. Some related questions:
1. Do you think birds when not in flight or birds which cannot fly, they too do Salat and Tasbih? Yes, No?
2. Are the examples of “birds not in flight” less worthy of the example of “birds in flight.?” Yes, No? Why and why not?
3. What is so special about “birds in flight” and not just “birds” that God had to use this particular configuration as an example?
4. Are there any verses in Quran with similar structure in which similar example is provided?
According to Br. Jawaid, this verse 24:41 is the default verse for him, from which he is obliged to understand:
(i) what is meant by the “birds doing Salat when in flight,”
(ii) that this understanding of “salat of birds-in-flight” is general enough or is such overpowering that it should define what is meant by the salat used elsewhere in the Quran with reference to humans, and
(iii) finally, he takes a leap of faith to define the phrase “Aqeemu-salat” as follows: Aqimussallat = Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands.
Brother Jawaid mentions in another post to me the following: “3:39: While he was still praying (YUSALLEE – my insertion here) in the chamber, angels announced to him, “God gives you the good news of a son, Yahya (John the Baptist) who would reiterate the Word of God, be a disciplined leader and a Prophet among those who set things right.””
Please note, the word “Qaimun = standing” preceding the word (Yusalli - praying) in 3:39 is missing in Jawaid’s translation. Is it by design or by just a human error? I think it is the latter.
This original verse [3:39] has two words next to each other, “qāimun = standing – an active participle” and “yuṣallī = praying – imperfect verb.” It is obvious that this combination in Arabic could be rendered as “standing in prayer,” and/or “standing and praying,” etc. It is an action in progress. One notes in 3:39 that:
(a) Prophet Zacharia, a prophet of God is doing Salat while standing.
(b) It has exactly the same two words “Qaim” and “Salat” which are in the phrase “Aqeemu Salat” which brother Jawaid rendered as “Aqimussallat = Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands.”
(c) The only difference between the two forms (“qāimun = standing, yuṣallī = praying in 3:39, and Aqeemu Salat = you stand in prayer”) is that an action is in progress in 3:39, whereas an action is demanded (imperative verb) when “Aqeemu Salat” is mentioned elsewhere in the Quran.
5. According to Jawaid's definition, Prophet Zacharia in 3:39 is "Establishing the system that is facilitating or meant to facilitate following of Divine Commands”. Yet, Jawaid writes that prophet Zacharia is "praying - Yusalli". Which one is true Br. Jawaid? Is prophet Zacharia praying or establishing some kind of yet-to-be-defined system?
Br. Jawaid saw “Birds in flight” and “salat” together in 24:41 and it became default verse for him, defining what human salat should be, whereas a prophet of God setting an example in 3:39 for humans does not become a default verse for him, despite the fact the phrase “Qaimun Yusalli” in 3:39 is an exact version of the phrase “Aqeemu Salat” elsewhere in the Quran? Why? What is going on here? Can any sane person accept such convoluted explanation?
6. Should we/you take examples from “birds in flight” as to how we should perform our salat or God’s prophets, who came to lead and guide us should be our examples? Decide it for yourself.
Br. Jawaid writes: “Zakariya did a dua which is separate to salat; two different words. Dua means asking God for help and then doing the hard work to get the results, salat means understand the commands and then following them.” 3:38 This was when Zakariya prayed to his Lord, “My Lord! Bestow upon me from Your Presence the gift of goodly offspring. You are the Hearer of prayer.”
3:39 While he was still praying in the chamber, angels announced to him, “God gives you the good news of a son, Yahya (John the Baptist) who would reiterate the Word of God, be a disciplined leader and a Prophet among those who set things right.”
7. Please note, Br. Jawaid himself defined “Aqeemu Salat=Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands,” but now when prophet Zacharia is actually doing it (Qaimun Yusalli), he defines it to be “salat means understand the commands and then following them.” Should he not be “establishing a system” now?
Further, Br. Jawaid is himself defining in [3:39] that prophet Zacharia is “praying – Yusalli,” but concluding “salat means understand the commands and then following them.” Can anyone take such inferences and conclusions seriously?
8. Is Prophet Zacharia “standing praying” or is he “understanding and following the commands?” Which commands? Did God send His angels with commands or with "glad tidings" to prophet Zacharia? Is this convoluted explanation not a figment of your imagination, far removed from the text itself?
9. What is he praying for? Is he praying for Pizza but God sent His angels to inform him of a great son but sorry no pizza? What is the relationship between the “Dua for a son” in 3:38, praying in 3:39, and angels’ responding to him with glad tidings for a son in 3:39? Apparently, context is of no consequence to some when it does not suit them?
Finally, I ask the following questions with reference to Br. Jawaid’s assertion: “Aqimussallat = Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands.”
10. What do you mean by the term “system?” Define this word “system”.
11. Are the words “system” and “salat” interchangeable?
12. How does this system look like? What are its various components?
13. How do you know that this “system” is “facilitating following the Divine Commands” once this “system” is in place?
14. Is this “system” collective or individual?
15. Above all, where are “system” and its components listed in the Quran?