Dr Shabbir Sir, first of all I want thank you and scholars like you from the bottom of my heart for teaching the deen(Quran) to us on an intellectual level. I am Amimul Ehsan Emon from Bangladesh, currently studying at an engineering college.
I went through some parts of your "THE QURAN AS IT EXPLAINS ITSELF' rendition of the Quran. May Allaah reward you. My issue is regarding the daily 5 prayers. Forgive me if I am incorrect...Maybe I read it in an article of yours where you said the 5 daily rituals were invented later by the persians. But What puzzles me is that these rituals (may be not exactly the way it is now) are mentioned in the jews talmud scriptures.
And I am not so concerned with the hadiths about ritual salats. They could have been easily fabricated. But The people of madinah during imam malik's time were practicing these 5 daily rituals. And the reason I am mentioning imam malik is beacause maliki madhhab was based on the practice of the people of madinah(which seems to have passed down through generations) rather than basing it on hadiths. I understand the fact that there is no mention of these rituals in the Quran, But the jews of the prophet's time were practicing these rituals. And another interesting thing I would like to add that Allaah didn't categorically admonish their(jews) ritual practice in the Quran. What Allaah admonished was the shirk or kufr they were committing. With my little knowledge(no background on islamic studies) when I look at the bigger picture I feel that 5 rituals salats maybe were practiced back then by the prophet and the sahabas around him. And also I feel that these practice was gradually developed by men long before the prophet's time who wanted to worship GOD.(whether or not they were monotheistic). But I don't see any problem with today's muslims who are monotheistic practicing these these rituals to get closer to GOD spiritually and maybe it helps them to obey GOD's divine commandments in the Quran(It's also helped me to be steadfast in the deen when I used to practice these rituals).
Sir, I really want you to shed some light on these topics regarding ritual salah. I am also little concerned as I have abandoned these ritual salat. May be I didn't do anything wrong or maybe I did. I don't know. I am confused. I would also like you someday to write a book or article discussing these topic in detail. May Allah grant u ease and guide us all to the straight path.