QM Forum

The Quran => Islamic Duties => : ahmad May 30, 2013, 08:39:14 PM

: Salat past down from previous people.
: ahmad May 30, 2013, 08:39:14 PM
There is a view that states the following:

The Quran came into a working community.

Some of the things they did were right others were wrong.

The Quran came to sanction the right stuff and dismiss the wrong stuff.

The Quran also came to add new laws.

Salat and fasting were from the right stuff they did. So there is always a brief mention on how to do it and several guidelines but not detailed instructions such as in  inheritance laws because the Arabs already knew how to perform salat from the time of Abraham.

Same with Fasting, its not mentioned that fasting means not to eat or drink because it was already known.

Therefore, the right way for Salat and its timing is the way passed down from older communities.
(5 times a day, rakaa= 2-4-4-3-4)

To sum up.....
The Quran only explained in detail what the Arabs did not know but for what was known it was enough to only sanction it.

I would like to hear your comments about this...
: Re: Salat past down from previous people.
: Joseph Islam May 30, 2013, 11:09:16 PM
Dear Ahmad,

May peace be with you.

I have resonated similar sentiments as yours in my humble writings. I will like to share a couple.

The discussions above should aid us to better understand the passage where God mentions that he has ‘perfected Deen’ (Arabic: Akmaltu lakum dinakum)
"...This day have I perfected your religion / system (Arabic: deen) for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion / system (Arabic: deen)..."
Islam was a religion preached by all Prophets. The Arabs during Muhammad’s (pbuh) ministry no doubt also had a system that they already observed and practiced. It is to be expected that certain parts of any system may have overlaps with Islam. In this way, the system of the ancient Arabs would have also been no different.
However, by ‘perfecting’ the system of the Arabs and removing alien doctrines, blasphemous practices and those ways incongruent with Islam, their Lord purified their system and perfected it by bringing it back to the ‘system’ he had enjoined on all believers before them (i.e. Islam).
In this way, Islam was not perfected per se (as Islam need not be perfected), but the existing practices of the Arabs were perfected and brought back into the folds of Islam. [1]

The Quran has no intention to strip one of a culture and their traditions or to make humans into a monolithic community. It recognises variances amongst us as we have been created a diverse people.

"...and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other..." (49:13); “And of His signs is the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Indeed! herein indeed are signs for men of knowledge” (30:22)

The Quran only seeks to guide by providing a tool for discernment so that existing practices do not conflict with the basic tenets of its teachings. Hence, the primary purpose of the Quran was to remove such customs and beliefs of the Arabs which were incongruent with its teachings and not necessarily forbid those that were not. [2]

Similarly with prayer, there was a monotheistic prayer method in situ amongst the people of the Book (2:43) at the time of the Prophet’s ministry. The Pagan Arabs had their own prayer methods. The Quran provided guidance for the new believers to bring their practices in line with a method suitable for monotheistic prayer. I have discussed this in the article [3] below.

Other religious practices were also clarified by the Quran where it was deemed necessary. Some non-Abrahamic rites were allowed to continue, but in the name of the One true God. Please see the verse with regards Safa and Marwah as an example (2:158).



: Re: Salat past down from previous people.
: ahmad May 31, 2013, 08:23:17 AM
Thanks for the reply..

But does that mean that we can take what was past down from previous people as a legitimate source ? (when its sanctioned by the Quran)

The way of prayer that was passed down included that we recite the Quran. Of course prayer before the Quran came did not include the recitation of the Quran.

So what if the prophet told his followers to recite it in prayer can we regarded this as Sunna ?
Or is the source of the practice this verse ?
قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا ﴿٢﴾ نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا ﴿٣﴾ أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا
: Re: Salat past down from previous people.
: Joseph Islam May 31, 2013, 12:00:11 PM
Dear Ahmad,

May peace be with you.

The prayer of the pagan community of which the Prophet was a part was not like the prayer of the monotheists. This is why I do not accept that the Abrahamic prayer ritual was practiced by the Pagans unbroken from the time of Prophet Abraham.

In my humble view, there is absolutely no proof of this in the Quran.

The pagans were not from the Abrahamic tradition. They had their own prayer method and rituals which were not monotheistic rituals such as can be seen in the following verse.

“And their prayer (Arabic: salatuhum) before the House is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands; taste then the chastisement, for you disbelieved”

The Quran gave guidance to the new believing community from the former Pagans as to what monotheistic prayer consisted of and no doubt the Prophet would have aligned himself to a prayer tradition similar to existing monotheists such as the People of the Book who did have an Abrahamic tradition of prayer in situ (2:43).

That is why the 'Muslim' prayer of today is very similar to old Jewish and Christian prayer techniques. There must have been an influence from existing prayer methods of the People of the Book. [1], [2].

The Quran gave guidance such as Wudu details, Qibla direction etc where it deemed fit to discern.

One does not follow the Sunna as a religious authority. One only follows the Quran as a religious authority. What one is doing is assessing the current tradition that has reached one en masse to ascertain whether it fits the Quranic requirements of prayer which is detailed.

Arguably, the prophet would have done the same by assessing the traditions in light of the guidance he was given by the Quran.

If the current tradition does not conflict with the Quranic data, then there is no need to reinvent the wheel and one can follow the tradition as best practice. The cue here is to assimilate not to reinvent.

That is why with a Quranic approach one can pray behind any congregation as long as basic Quranic requirements are fulfilled. Many sectarians do not even consider it permissible to pray behind the Imam of a different sect. The Quranic approach here is arguably more inclusive.

As a crude analogy, one is informed by the Quran to wear good clothes and is expected to cover certain parts of the body. One assesses the tradition of the garments that has reached one and accepts / rejects what they deem is best practice. In this way, the Quran still remains the authoritative source from which the tradition is judged. The tradition itself doesn't become the source of guidance.

Similarly with food. One is informed by the Quran to eat of what is good. One assesses the traditional culinary practices that has reached one in light of the Quran with a view to ascertain whether the food is wholesome to eat and makes a judgement whether or not to consume it as best practice.

The baseline to compare is the Quran which remains the sole religious source.

I hope this helps, God willing.



: Re: Salat past down from previous people.
: ahmad May 31, 2013, 12:13:23 PM
Thanks for the explanation.