Dear brother, it does not matter if I believe birds doing Salat or not, since I have already conceded your right to understand it the way you do. According to your understanding, you translated it as follows:
“Aqeemu Salat=Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands”
With reference to the above definition or translation of yours, major questions are still outstanding.
1. What do you mean by the term “system?” Define this “system”.
2. Are “system” and the word “salat” interchangeable?
3. How does this system look like? What are its various components?
4. How do you know that this “system” is “facilitating following the Divine Commands” once this “system” is in place?
5. Is this “system” collective or individual?
6. Above all, where are “system” and its components listed in the Quran?
You wrote: “... BUT it gives one good example of birds in flight as they are doing AN ACTION and not just lip service.”
Dear brother, “lip service” is a phenomenon unique to humans. Pre-programed entities including the birds-in-flight cannot become an example to endorse or refute it. This is comparing apples and oranges, perhaps worse. Examples for Muslims to do Salat and similar mandatory acts are the examples set by the prophets not by animals and other creatures. Do we teach our children to act like humans or like animals and birds?
When verses of the Quran asking believers to do Salat were revealed and believers asked the prophet what it is that we are supposed to do? Do you think prophet told them (i) “look at the birds in flight” and then decide what to do, OR (ii) wait until the “birds” verse is revealed if not already revealed, and then decide what to do?
You wrote: “The Reminder tells us after salat to GET UP and go about our business, acting upon what we have learnt in the salat. Please reflect upon this.”
In the above, you are admitting that “salat” is over when you get up and go about your business. Thus, Salat is a specific action of some duration which is to be performed at specific times.
You wrote: “…You know very well that language can have multiple meanings/interpretations so looking at every verse about salat narrows this down to a basic understanding….”
This is indeed true, and this is what I am suggesting to you too. There are nearly seven dozen plus verses dealing with “Salat.” You are taking one verse (erroneously and out of context as per my understanding) and then bending all other verses around this verse, and ignoring clear verses informing us about the Salat and how prophets did it.
You wrote: “Both birds and Prophets are important but by giving us the birds example we ELIMINATE the human tendency to bring God down to our level when He wants to raise us up closer to His.”
Is God informing us about birds being good example or prophets?
[33:21]: There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.
You wrote: “Reading Zakariya leaves open any interpretation, birds doing salat helps us narrow down what he was doing.”
You could do better, brother. Prophet Zakaria “standing and praying” is open to any interpretation, yet birds-in-flight is so unique that no other interpretation is possible? Please reflect.
Please forgive me if I am a bit harsh in my words. My intention was/is not to belittle your understanding, rather to reflect and ponder what the verses are telling us. As my brother, I love you. As a teacher, I respect you, I learned many things from you and continue to do so.