*Does salat = prayer?*
Translating salat as 'prayer' in the following verses does not fit. Translators such as Yusuf Ali (and others) recognized this and amended their translation accordingly.
[2:157] , [2:238] , [9:5] , [11:87] , [24:41] , [4:102 and 33:56] , [9:99] , [9:103] , [19:31]
أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
To those will be salawat from their Lord and a mercy, they are the guided ones. [2:157]
*Does the Lord pray for people? (salawat = plural of salat)*
حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ
Preserve the salawat, and the wusta (commonly translated as 'middle') salat, and stand/persist devoutly to GOD. [2:238]
Why would God mention to preserve the prayers, and then say "... and the middle prayer" ? Surely, the first comment includes the middle prayer? Is there something special about the middle prayer? Does this have any support from al quran?
[additional inconsistencies with this verse]
The most accurate translation of 2:238 is as follows, followed by a short explanation:
Preserve/guard on the orations/bonds, and the most balanced oration/bond, and stand/persist to/for The God in obedience. [2:238]
The context prior to 2:238 discusses formal/public orations/vows/bonds. The core meaning of these orations/vows, as implied by the root, are to go/turn towards in a close/positive manner. This view is given further weight by the use of "QaNiTeena/obedience" at the end of the ayat/sign. And the reference of "the most balanced oration/bond" (i.e. al quran) provides a perfect link for 2:239.
فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِن تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
So when the sacred months are passed, then you may kill those who have set-up partners wherever you find them, and take them, and surround them, and stand against them at every point. If they repent, and uphold the salat, and contribute to the zakat, then you shall leave them alone. GOD is forgiving, Merciful. [9:5]
Is God saying here that the unbelievers must perform prayers if they are going to be forgiven by the people? The essential point of prayer is that one believes in a higher being! Therefore why force them into praying if they are idolaters? If so, this would contradict 2:256 "no compulsion in the system/religion".
قَالُوا يَا شُعَيْبُ أَصَلَاتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِي أَمْوَالِنَا مَا نَشَاءُ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ الْحَلِيمُ الرَّشِيدُ
They said: 'Oh Shuaib, does your salat instruct you that we leave what our fathers served, or that we do with our money as we please?. You then are the compassionate, the sane!'. [11:87]
*Receiving instruction/laws through prayer? How does Shuaib's "prayer" affect the spending of others?*
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ
Do you not see that everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies GOD, even the birds assembled (with wings expanded)? Each knows its salat and its glorification. And GOD is fully aware of everything they do. [24:41]
*Do birds pray? Do they have a special prayer? If so, does this have any support in al quran?*
وَمِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَيَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ قُرُبَاتٍ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَصَلَوَاتِ الرَّسُولِ أَلَا إِنَّهَا قُرْبَةٌ لَّهُمْ سَيُدْخِلُهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
And from the Nomads are those who believe in God and the last day, and he looks upon what he spends to make him closer to God, and the salawat to the messenger. It indeed makes them closer. God will admit them in His mercy; God is Forgiving, Merciful. [9:99]
*How does looking upon what one spends make one closer to the prayers of the messenger?*
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Take from their money a charity to purify them and better them with it, and salla them. Your salat is a tranquility for them, and God is Hearer, Knowledgeable. [9:103]
*How can one's salat be a tranquillity/assurance for someone else?*
فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا
قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا
وَجَعَلَنِي مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا
So she pointed to him (Jesus). They said: "How can we talk to someone who is a child in a cradle?" He (Jesus) said: "I am God's servant, He has given me the scripture and made me a prophet". "And He made me blessed wherever I was, and He enjoined me with the salat and the zakat as long as I am alive" [19:29-31]
Did Jesus perform the prayer as long as he was alive? Does this mean as a baby he did the 'wudu' (the traditional sequence of washing), bowed and prostrated as is traditionally done?
*In each of these examples, are you having to force your opinion on the verse?*
Well known translators (e.g. Yusuf Ali) have used different words depending on context, see the following for one example:
وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَائِفَةٌ مِّنْهُم مَّعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا فَلْيَكُونُوا مِن وَرَائِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَائِفَةٌ أُخْرَىٰ لَمْ يُصَلُّوا فَلْيُصَلُّوا مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ وَدَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُم مَّيْلَةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِن كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوْ كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰ أَن تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا
When thou (O Messenger) art with them, and standest to lead them in prayer, Let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with thee, Taking their arms with them: When they finish their prostrations, let them Take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up which hath not yet prayed - and let them pray with thee, Taking all precaution, and bearing arms: the Unbelievers wish, if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if ye put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because ye are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the Unbelievers Allah hath prepared a humiliating punishment. (4:102)
If Yu-sal-lu means prayer in Chapter 4 Verse 102 but why not in Chapter 33 Verse 56. Same word, different translation.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (33:56)
Are you sure salat = prayer?
*Peace, Ministry Of Truth*