You wrote: “I am reminded of a response by brother Mansur at speakers corner, Hyde Park, to an individual that unless he accepts well understood logical points of view, there is no point going ahead with a discussion. Every time clear verses of the Quran are presented, you bring forth fairy tale stories, ignore the meaning or chop out birds etc from the context. If you say you are a figment of your own imagination, it does not matter what I say, you will not believe I exist.”
Dear bhai, my writings as well as yours are on the forum. My methodology of doing research through these verses is on the forum. Please re-read my posts, I do not bring fairy tales (rather you keep bringing them up), I do not ignore the meanings, rather I read them very close to the text, grammar, lexicon, and context. On the other hand, you have your opinions which are so generalized that they drip with your desired meanings, neglecting grammar, tasreef, context, etc. The following will shed some more light as to how I do my research.
You wrote: “Reference in chapter 96 says 'a slave' and not 'the slave of Allah'. Sorry, Tabari says it is Muhammad so we must accept this! The meaning of the chapter is totally devastated when you apply fairy tale 'research' to it. You are not approaching it 'pure'. You are mounting the Quran with your ideas and you have presented no proof from the Quran to back up what you say. Where is the first contact story in the Quran with all the details?”
First, please note who has brought up Tabari? Is it me or you? Second, yes, the meanings arrived at as per your generalizations are dismissed when viewed in accordance with grammar, lexicon, tasreef, context, and logic. In this sense, your meanings are devastated. Now to Chap 96, who this “slave/servant” is?
Verses 96:1-5 indicate God’s favor and mercy in terms of how He created man, then taught him through the pen what he knew not. Verse 96:6-8 indicate as to how Man transgress, i.e. when he considers himself self-sufficient, and that man’s ultimate return is to God.
From 96:9 onward the subject changes from the general condition of man to a very specific address to the prophet himself in a singular tone. Prophet himself is the direct addressee along with an indirect addressee (the one who stops a slave/servant from praying) in 96:9.
[96:9-10]: Have you seen/considered/observed the one who forbids “a slave/servant” when he prays.
Your contention is that this “Slave/servant” is any third person, whereas my understanding is that this is referring to the first addressee prophet himself. This is why I think so.
If you go through verses 96:11 on ward, you see that God asks prophet: “have you (prophet) seen if this person (who forbids praying) is on the guidance or he enjoins taqwa [96:11-12]. Have you (prophet) seen if he denies and turns away [96:13].” In light of these verses, it is obvious that this person who forbids “a slave/servant” from praying is in error. God asking “is this person not aware that God sees everything” [96:14]. In [96:14-18] God is warning this person to desist from such behavior of his, that is not to stop/hinder “a slave/servant” from praying. If the verses had stopped here at 96:18, you could have argued that this “slave/servant” could be any third person. However, [96:19] rules this out and clearly establishes that the person called “a slave/servant” being stopped from praying is indeed prophet himself, thus, the directive: “ [96:19]: Nay, (O’ exalted prophet) don’t obey him (the one who stopped a slave/servant-yourself- from praying), rather prostrate and (this way) draw near to God.” In the context of these verse, no other understanding is sustainable in my view.
Please note in passing, “prostration” is a mean to draw closer to God. This is the same prostration in 4:102 after which shortened salat is over under certain conditions. This is the same prostration in 2:125 in connection with Ibrahim and manasiks. So on and so forth.