Is Namaaz Salaat?

by jawaid ahmed,uk @, Thursday, July 12, 2012, 15:01 (2510 days ago) @ Zara

I agree, in 12:100 Yusuf Ali, amongst others, uses the words “and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him” for sujood. If we take this understanding then this was an act of worship to a human being. Looking at the history of Joseph as revealed in the Quran is there any act that he did that went against Allah? I cannot find one and he went to prison and stayed there for his principles rather than accept a falsehood. So how can this rightly guided Messenger of Allah allow human beings to prostrate to him? I take the meaning here that they became obedient to him; although he was their brother and son, they recognised him as a Messenger and followed his teachings.

We do not have the same problem for sujood as we have for the meaning of ‘mutashabih'. From the root we can see that all the words derived from it have something to do with bowing, etc.:-

Siin-Jiim-Dal = lowly, humble, submissive, worship, adore, prostrate, make obeisance, lower/bend oneself down towards the ground, lower the head, to salute/honour/magnify, to pay respect, to stand up, to look continuedly and tranquily.
MSJD - parts of a man that are the places of SJD, e.g. forehead/nose/hands/knees/feet etc. Any mode/place/practice in which the act of SJD is done.

I cannot say that sujood does not mean prostrate, it has been translated as such by all and sundry, but in my humble opinion the form of this prostration has been misunderstood/distorted. For example, a king gives an order; his servants bow down as an act of acknowledgement and then carry out the order. If a servant continued to bow down, disregarding the order, the king would not be too pleased as his intention was not get an act of worship but to follow his command. Those who carried out the order had ‘submitted’ to the king, they did “obeisance” to him by completing this.

So what type of servitude/submission does Allah ask of us? I do not accept that an act of obedience for everything in the universe is now meant to be an act of worship for human beings alone. This is most evident when we look at the following verses:-

94.1. Have We not expanded thee thy breast?-
94.2. And removed from thee thy burden
94.3. The which did gall thy back?-
94.4. And raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)?
94.5. So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief:
94.6. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
94.7. Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task), STILL LABOUR HARD,
94.8. And to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention.

‘Work hard to please Allah’; no mention of any ritualised acts of devotion. We please Allah, we worship Him, by doing what He has instructed us to do, namely, follow the teachings of the Quran. Our ‘prostration’ should be this and we do not need to express this in a ritualised act. Any benefits that people have come up with for the ritual namaz are not expressed by Allah in the Quran, neither are the form of this practice, so the evidence [or lack of it in the Quran] clearly shows that this is not a requirement for us to do.

We also have the following which clearly states that physical acts are not “righteous acts”:-

2:177It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.

If the Quran says that “It is NOT righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West”, then how can we go on to understand that salat/sujood is a physical act of putting our heads on the ground? How can we take the physical prostration understanding of sujood when it is always being obedient to His Commands or the commands of others everywhere else?

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