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Quranic Salat and Its Role in Establishing Islam and Iman

Quranic Salat and Its Role in Establishing Islam and Iman

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Published by QuranVs Hadith
Quranic Salat and its Role in Establishing Islam and Imaan.. Paper presented by Imraan Goondiwala at the Islamic Conference in Sout Africa.. Islam without the corruption of Hadith
Quranic Salat and its Role in Establishing Islam and Imaan.. Paper presented by Imraan Goondiwala at the Islamic Conference in Sout Africa.. Islam without the corruption of Hadith

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Published by: QuranVs Hadith on Sep 29, 2011
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Quranic Salat and its Role in Establishing Islam and Imaan
The Establishment of Salat
In context of the mu’min, the establishment of the salat is undertaking to establish formal
institutions in which we turn towards the Quran in order to maintain the purity of the message in
various aspects of our lives by humbling one’s self to, and ultimately acknowledging the Quranic
position.This is my understanding of the establishment of salat. I will return to this definition throughout mypresentation, highlighting different aspects of this understanding.I will show that there are alternate meanings that can be extracted from the lexicons, and then showwhy these alternate meanings are more suitable in the context of its Quranic usage.
Salat
Now, what is salat in light of the Quran? Salat, like many concepts in Quran, is contextualized andas such, different salawat are indicated to us determined by context. We will deal with thiscontextualization a little later.The root from which it is derived is
و ل ص
, and in its first form carries a meaning of makingcontact
1
. In its second form, it carries a meaning of effecting such contact. This core meaning of thesecond form, from which salat seems to be derived, can be seen
as “he
effected contact
or
heturned
towards”
2
. In turning towards something, there is a connection created between the subjectand the object. Applying this at all occurrences, we find it to fit universally without any problems.As-
Salat can then be seen as that which effects contact or “that which turns towards”.
 We can now return to our definition and see where this fits in.
In context of the mu’min, the establishment of the salat is undertaking to establish formal
institutions in which
we turn towards
the Quran in order to maintain the purity of the message in
various aspects of our lives by humbling one’s self to, and ultimately acknowledging the Quranic
position.
Purpose of salat
The most pivotal factor for me is purpose. Allah instructs us to use our reason and as such tells usmore than just WHAT we should do. He provides us with the purpose behind such instruction. Thisis important because it allows us to determine whether or not our salat is effective. If we achieve thepurpose of salat, it is reasonable to say that our salat is in line with the Quranic concept. If we arenot achieving the purpose of salat, re-evaluation is advisable.So what does the Quran offer us in terms of what the purpose of salat is?
1
2
An Understanding of salat from Al Quran - http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/slw.htm 
 
Seeking assistance (2:45)
 When we look at the quranic context of 2:45, we must read verses 40-46 at the very least. Once wedo, we find the following:This passage in addressed to Bani Israel in which they are told to remember the favour of God andfulfil or be faithful to the covenant, believe in the Quran confirming what is with them, not to hidethe signs, nor trade them for a small gain, nor mix truth with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal thetruth (40-42). They are told to establish the salat, bring the zakat, ruk3u with those who ruk3u (43).The question is asked as to enjoining other people to good while forgetting themselves andappealing to the use of reason (44). Assistance should be sought in /with the sabr and the salat,which is difficult except for the humble, who are certain of the meeting with their Rabb (45-46). It seems reasonable to me that the assistance that is to be sought here is with regard to ensuring thatGod's messages are not sold for a small price, keeping to the truth of the message, hence not mixingtruth with falsehood while knowing what the truth is. More specifically, we might regard theassistance being sought in order to prevent enjoining others to good while reading or following thebook, yet neglecting enjoining it on our own selves as this is contrary to reason. This would ensurethat optimum results are achieved by practicing the pure, truthful message of Quran.The reason that sabr is part of this process could be that sometimes people preach the truth, but findit difficult to act in accordance with it due to any number of reasons that could range fromcircumstances they find themselves in to just being hypocritical. Steadfastness is therefore advisedthrough thick and thin.The salat is required because in these instances people are required to "turn towards
” the
revelationeven when negative influences of the self try to dictate otherwise. As pride is usually the maindriving force in disobeying God (see the verses about Adam and iblees), humility would be anatural requirement for not having difficulty in submitting to this process.
Restraining from shameful and evil deeds (29:45)
Another purpose of the salat is restraining from shameful and evil deeds (29:45). We should look atthis in its Quranic context by studying 29:45-51 at the very least.29:45-51(45)Recite what has been revealed of the book and uphold the salat. The salat keeps away fromindecency / shameful deeds and evil / injustice. The remembrance of God is the greatest (v.45).Advice on arguing with the people of the Book and confirmation of the revelation to the messenger(v.46-50). The revelation is a mercy and a reminder for the believers (v.51).
The meaning of the root “nun
-kaf-
ra”
3
carries a meaning of changing or altering something to anunknown state so as not to be known. Hence it is associated with the practice of deceit. It alsocarries a meaning of becoming ignorant of or unacquainted with something. Hence denying ordisacknowledging something due to not being acquainted with it because it
’s
being changed into anunknown state. This is interesting because we know that the purpose of salat is also removinguncleanness, bringing about purification (33:33) and for the remembrance of God (20:14).We are also told that the salat will keep us away from "al-fahshaa". The root "fa-ha-sha"
4
seems tomean being excessive, transgressing limits, especially in a public manner.
3
4
 
I see the passage 2:45-51 as meaning that we utilise the Quran through the salat to keep us awayfrom following any adulterated perverted interpretations of the revelation as this is a remembranceof God.
The remembrance of God (20:14)
The remembrance of God is understood as one of the main reasons for salat. We find it mentionedin 20:14.20:12-16(14)Moses is informed that he has been chosen to listen to the revelation (v.13). He is instructed to serve
God and uphold the salat for God’s remembrance (v.14). Don’t let those who follow their low
desires turn you away from the revelation (v.16)Remembrance of God is a clear purpose of salat. It is interesting that in 20:12-16, serving God andupholding the salat for His remembrance is opposite following low desires and turning people awayfrom the revelation. It is therefore reasonable to see salat as a process of turning towards therevelation when used in context of the revelation.
Receiving instruction on socio-economic matters (11:87)
Here we need to consider 11: 84-87 which relates the story of Shuaib.11:84-95(87)When Shuaib tells his people to be just in their dealings (v.84-86), they ask if his salat instructs himthat they must stop serving what their forefathers served and that they should not do whatever theyplease with their wealth (v.87). His response includes the statement that his people neglect God assomething cast behind their backs (v.92), and he will continue to act upon the guidance he getsthrough his salat regardless of what his people continue to do (v.93).The salat should instruct us in socio-economic matters resulting in letting go of what we learnedbefore if it is not in line with the revelation. This may necessitate putting limits on what we can dowith our wealth. If we don't do this it is akin to neglecting God as something cast behind our backs.If there are people around us who are doing this we must continue to act upon the guidance we getthrough the salat ensuring the purity of the message is brought to the fore.
Removing uncleanness and for purification (33:33)
The purpose of salat is also discussed ii the passage 33:28-34.
 
33:28-34(33)These verses instruct the wives and women of the prophet which includes the salat in order toremove uncleanness from them, purifying them (v.33).The salat is for removing uncleanness and purification.
Maintaining the Purity of the Message
The most common purpose of salat found in quran is that of maintaining the purity of the message.It appears in 25 passages where
و ل ص
or its derivatives are directly mentioned. I will go through afew to illustrate the point.2:40-46(43, 45)This passage in addressed to Bani Israel in which they are told to believe in the Quran confirmingwhat is with them,
not to hide the signs, nor trade them for a small gain, nor mix truth withfalsehood, nor knowingly conceal the truth, uphold the salat,
bring the zakkat, ruk3u with those

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