Whilst brother Dawood is still trying to convince us birds do not do salat, here are some verses regarding the duty, command, submission, prostration etc of those things in the heavens and earth. It will help overcome any resistance to understanding salat of birds, since resistance is futile when we read the full Quran in context. Enjoy:
Sujood and Rukuh
While discussing the ritualised namaz/physical prayer I was asked about the terms rukuh and sujood which are usually translated as bowing and prostrating . Let us look deeper at the whole meaning of submission, prostration and bowing down to Allah [I will use Yusuf Ali’s translation as he puts the generally understood translation of the words].
13:15Walillahi yasjudu man fee alssamawati waal-ardi tawAAan wakarhan wathilaluhum bialghuduwwi waal-asali
13:15Whatever beings there are in the heavens and the earth do prostrate themselves to Allah (acknowledging subjection), willingly or unwillingly: so do their shadows in the morning and evenings.
The word “yasjudu” has been translated as prostrating and this then throws up the question as to exactly how they are prostrating. The “shadows” move according to the movement of the Sun. They are doing so only in accordance with the laws of optics which has light travelling in a straight line and not being able to travel through opaque materials and hence shadows are formed. The shadow has no say in what it does or where it goes but is produced by and “follows” the Sun [I have used simple language to describe this process].
3:83Afaghayra deeni Allahi yabghoona walahu aslama man fee alssamawati waal-ardi tawAAan wakarhan wa-ilayhi yurjaAAoona
3:83Do they seek for other than the Religion (Deen) of Allah.-while all creatures (things) in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back.
The word “aslama” means submit which the above translator has put into brackets to mean “accept Islam”. Creatures ‘accept Islam’? Further verses help us understand better.
22:18Alam tara anna Allaha yasjudu lahu man fee alssamawati waman fee al-ardi waalshshamsu waalqamaru waalnnujoomu waaljibalu waalshshajaru waalddawabbu wakatheerun mina alnnasi wakatheerun haqqa AAalayhi alAAathabu waman yuhini Allahu fama lahu min mukrimin inna Allaha yafAAalu ma yasha/o
22:18Do you not see that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth,- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as are fit for punishment: and such as Allah shall disgrace, none can raise to honour: for Allah carries out all that He wills.
The moon does not do prostration like us or rukuh’s! This bowing is not bending itself but actually means following the laws that were assigned to it by Allah. The moon follows its course around the earth and does not deviate from this unless acted upon by some other force. The laws of Allah are the natural physical laws of the universe and everything within it acts according to these laws. Objects fall down to earth due to gravity, they heat up due to the thermo-nuclear heat of the Sun and they hurt when you hit your head on them! They follow what they are “commanded” to do, according to:
16:48Awa lam yaraw ila ma khalaqa Allahu min shay-in yatafayyao thilaluhu AAani alyameeni waalshshama-ili sujjadan lillahi wahum dakhiroona
16:49Walillahi yasjudu ma fee alssamawati wama fee al-ardi min dabbatin waalmala-ikatu wahum la yastakbiroona
16:50Yakhafoona rabbahum min fawqihim wayafAAaloona ma yu/maroon
16:48. Do they not look at Allah.s creation, (even) among (inanimate) things,- How their (very) shadows turn round, from the right and the left, prostrating themselves to Allah, and that in the humblest manner?
16:49. And to Allah doth obeisance all that is in the heavens and on earth, whether moving (living) creatures or the angels: for none are arrogant (before their Lord).
16:50. They all revere their Lord, high above them, and they do all that they are commanded.
This clearly states that following what Allah has commanded is the submission and prostration referred to above. Further light can be thrown on this by the next verse:-
20:49Qala faman rabbukuma ya moosa
Qala rabbuna allathee aAAta kulla shay-in khalqahu thumma hada
20:49. (When this message was delivered), (Pharaoh) said: "Who, then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?"
20:50. He said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further, gave (it) guidance."
Allah created everything and assigned it guidance which is the fulfilling of its function. Birds guidance is to fly with their wings, it cannot do so if its feathers are cropped.
41:11Thumma istawa ila alssama-i wahiya dukhanun faqala laha walil-ardi i/tiya tawAAan aw karhan qalata atayna ta-iAAeena
41:12Faqadahunna sabAAa samawatin fee yawmayni waawha fee kulli sama-in amraha wazayyanna alssamaa alddunya bimasabeeha wahifthan thalika taqdeeru alAAazeezi alAAaleemi
41:11. Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
41;12. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and HE ASSIGNED TO EACH HEAVEN ITS DUTY AND COMMAND. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.
“Duty and command” means function and it is the instructions or laws of Allah that guide them. But surely we must be doing the right thing by ‘sujooding’ five times a day! Well if everything has its laws and are following them accordingly then where are our ‘duty and commands;’ our instructions? They are what are contained in the Quran and that is my whole point. We are “free willed” and our guidance is not fixed like the Moons but ours must be understood and followed willingly. We must submit our wills to the guidance of Allah in order to create a heaven on earth and safe guard our futures. We must do this not by bending physically down to Allah but mentally believing and following His way of life. True submission is putting the words of the Quran into practice by having true faith in them which is only acquired by careful study and pondering over their meaning. Going back to the above verse in Surah 13 verse 15:-
Whatever beings there are in the heavens and the earth do prostrate themselves to Allah (acknowledging subjection), willingly or unwillingly: so do their shadows in the morning and evenings.
We have seen that even the shadows are following the laws set by them, they move as the Sun moves without any thought. What Muslims are doing in the namaaz is a pale “shadow” of the true physical (studying) and practical (implementing) Salat. Namaaz are rituals which are undertaken without thought or comprehension so are worthless in any realistic sense. Our Jewish brethren prostate themselves four times during services, for example at Yom Kippur, where they kneel down and then double over to touch their heads to the floors as their “hasan” (cantor) speaks the word secret name of Adonai. Is this form or worship authorised by the Quran? If we look at the Quranic meaning of the word sujood, bowing, we should realise that this is not the case.
7:28 (As an example,) when people commit an indecency they say, "We found our forefathers doing it and God has enjoined it upon us" (made it natural for us). Say (O Prophet), "God never enjoins indecency. Do you attribute to God that of which you have no knowledge?"
7:29 Say (O Messenger), "My Lord enjoins justice and to stand devoted to Him alone in complete submission at all time and place. Call unto Him, sincere in your faith in Him alone. As He brought you into being in the first place, so shall you return to Him.”
7:30 Some He has guided, others have deserved straying. They take satanic people as allies instead of God, and think that they are rightly guided. [7:3, 22:13. The straying ones take their religious leadership as their masters instead of God
The above verses speak about those who commit wrong acts and the Quran says to be “stand devoted to Him alone in complete submission”, how can you stand in prostration? It can only mean that in order to avoid wrong acts we must put into practice the Guidance of Allah, the Quran, which is exactly the wisdom of verse 7:30; become and stay rightly guided and not wrongly prostrated.
48:29 Muhammadun rasoolu Allahi waallatheena maAAahu ashiddao AAala alkuffari ruhamao baynahum tarahum rukkaAAan sujjadan yabtaghoona fadlan mina Allahi waridwanan seemahum fee wujoohihim min athari alssujoodi thalika mathaluhum fee alttawrati wamathaluhum fee al-injeeli kazarAAin akhraja shat-ahu faazarahu faistaghlatha faistawa AAala sooqihi yuAAjibu alzzurraAAa liyagheetha bihimu alkuffara waAAada Allahu allatheena amanoo waAAamiloo alssalihati minhum maghfiratan waajran AAatheeman
Y.Ali 48:29. Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.
The above has the Messenger and his companions ‘bowing and prostrating’.
Dr Shabbir in his translation has put the following in brackets after this verse:-
Athar-is-sujood is frequently mistranslated as the physical mark on the forehead resulting from regular prostration. But Wajh = Countenance = Whole being = Face, and not forehead. In addition, the verses of the Bible that the Qur’an is referring to, make no mention of any physical marks on the foreheads or faces. Sujood = Adoration = Prostrations = Complete submission. ‘Signs on their faces’ = Reflection of faith in the believer’s mannerism. Torah and Gospel: Numbers16:22. Mark 4: 27-28 – Mathew 13:3-9]
They were not rukuhing and sujooding, but they understood the Message of the Quran, accepted their responsibilities of putting Islam into practice which was then reflected in their being, their look, the way they spoke and interacted with others; they became the balanced and best of peoples.
A final word; Some have suggested that the above is completely true but we must or can still express ourselves physically before Allah by bowing and prostrating. The long process of becoming ‘walking Qurans’may well lead to a person wanting to do this in the same way we fervently shake hands or embrace someone who has just helped us, or soldier saluting a superior officer. Unfortunately, this has been hijacked by the religious fraternity who have turned what may well be a lovely natural expression of appreciation and obedience to Allah into their lazy mans ritualistic, mindless act. If we do get a Quranic orientated people establishing another Medina or early Andalusia state, then rest assured that any rituals at the time of any gatherings [jumma] will eventually turn into the most important aspect of the gathering as opposed to the implementing of the Quran in society. History tells us we cannot compromise over the Quran so do not take that risk!
The submission is also linked to something called “tasbih” and before you all jump up and grab your prayer beads you had better read the following first.
Surah 57 verse 1
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, let it declare the praises and glory of Allah. For He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
The translation “praises and glory of Allah” is based on the false understanding of the word tasbeeh because how does the Moon etc. praise Allah? You may say it is allegorical so that is alright but then what is the allegorical understanding of this verse? As a verb tasbeeh means to swim, float and travel along. As a noun it means duties, business and occupation. Now we have a clearer understanding of the word the correct translation of tasbeeh should be “to carry out the duties of Allah in a swift and expeditious manner”. The Moon does not have beads wrapped around itself and does not speak praises but is travelling along in its orbit in the correct manner assigned to it by Allah. That means our tasbeeh should be following the guidance of Allah in the best and most straightforward manner as possible by reading, understanding and implementing the Quran in our daily lives. The prayer beads used by today’s Muslims are a Buddhist, mantra inspired, interpolation into Islam and has no place in the true Deen. It benefits no-one or Allah by continuously repeating His “names” which were only revealed to us to give us an indication of what we should be emulating; Allah is Most Compassionate and Most Merciful so we should be compassionate and merciful to all around us, etc. Remembering His Names is a ritual; following His Guidance is a way of life.