You wrote: “How did you end up linking Salaat to Prayer - the prayer which is normally performed in ritualized/repeatable form, as seen in Namaaz, Christian Liturgical prayers, Jewish Amidah, Hindu Bhakti Yog, etc?”
Dear brother, I did not end up doing anything, rather I am simply stating what I believe and understand from verses what it is.
You wrote: “The closest the word ‘Prayer’ – as in an earnest request or wish - could come to is Du’a in the Qur’an, referring to the call of the caller unto God. Whereas, Salaat = To follow closely, like a runner-up (Musalli) follows the winning horse (Saabiq) = To follow Divine Commands. (QxP)
Aqimussallat = Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands. (QxP) You again seem to be cherry picking the meanings of Quranic words to retrofit into Salaat so it could point to ritualized or some form of contact prayers. You have separated ‘establish’ from Salaat, and are stressing on the source qāf wāw mīm while ignoring the compound meanings of the word and variants “yuqeemunas salaat”, “aqaamus salaat”.”
I am quoting well-respected lexicons to establish my point. It is not me who is retrofitting these meanings. These are well established in lexicons as I detail below. Rather it is my quran-only brothers who are retrofitting their thoughts and notions on to the Quranic words and then insisting on their error.
Let me look at first the word Salat itself from “Sad Lam Waw”. I quote from Lane pp. 1720-21. This choice is easier because I don’t have to translate lengthy discussion from Urdu to English. “The words “Salla’”, “Salatan”, and “Salat” mean: He prayed, supplicated, or petitioned; He performed the divinely-appointed act [of prayer commonly] termed Salat. This is said to be its primary signification: and Mussali is said to have the same meanings. Then applied to signify A certain well-known mode, or manner, [of religious service,] because comprising prayer; [the divinely appointed act of prayer], one of the divinely appointed salawaat; a certain religious service in which are Ruku [or lowering of the head so that the palms of the hand reach the knees] and Sujood [or prostration of oneself in a particular manner]….. Mussalin = anyone praying [in any manner: and particularly performing the divinely-appointed act of prayer]. And “Almussali” signifies, as applied to a horse, The one that follows next after the foremost [at the goal] in a race, because his head is next to the part called “sallan” or next to the “salawan” of the foremost.”
Thus, it is obvious that the word “salat” when alone, itself, mean prayers, petition, supplication, Dua, as well as performing the divinely act of prayer including Ruku and Sujood. It is used in 62:9 with call towards salat, and twice in 24:58 along with the names Fajr and Esha, for example. It is one of the commands like any other command and cannot be defined other ways if one wants to stay close to the words and phrases in Quran.
In my previous post, I quoted meanings and usage when the word Salat is preceded by Qaim, etc., from “qāf wāw mīm”. This word when translated in English would mean: Qama’ = he stood still, stood up or erect; Qama’t da’batu = the beast stopped from journeying or fatigue, etc.; Qama’ bilayil = he stood/rose during night to pray; Qama tisalatu = the people rose to prayer, or the time of prayer came to pass; Aqama’ salata’ = He observed/performed prayers. Establish is not one of the original meanings, rather one of the inferred meanings to state or convey that “prayers be performed with due care and diligence,” thus, the word establish.
Therefore, none of the above is my linkage, or cherry-picking, or ritualizing it as you suggest, Rather I am sticking with (i) lexicons, (ii) grammar, (iii) tasreef, and (iv) context. In my humble view, no other meanings can satisfy all four conditions.