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Offline antediluvian

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Shortening of Prayers
« on: November 25, 2011, 04:19:18 AM »
Salamun Alaykum brother Joseph,

I read with some interest your article on Shortening of the Prayers. However, my counter-question is that does not that serve as a proof that ritual prayers are prescribed (i.e.- why would the Quran ask us to shorten the prayer in fear/danger if the form was fluid anyway)? What relevance do the verses of Shortening the Salah have for us today, does it simply mean that whatever regular form we are indulging in can be shortened when it becomes necessary to do so, or does it provide a clue to the importance of the Sunna ?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 03:39:48 PM »
Walaikum salaam Antediluvian,

In my personal opinion, 4:101 just implies a reduction - 'taqsuru' from 'QSR' (it does not say how much, half, quarter etc). It just implies a reduction to take account of the danger at hand (4:102).

Furthermore, whatever form one does adopt, it naturally becomes a practice, a Sunna. This is different from a 'prescribed' sunna by God.

I know that many erudite scholars (possibly also of the ilk of Javed Ghamidi) who may lean more appropriately on 2:238-239 to argue for a fixed form of prayer as taught to the prophet alone (...often rendered as 'pray as he has taught you' implying that the Prophet was taught a specific prayer to be followed not covered by the Quran).

However, I've expressed my opinion on this assertion in the article below.

PRAY AS WE HAVE TAUGHT YOU HOW TO PRAY - USING VERSE 2.239 AS SUPPORT FOR A FIXED FORM OF PRAYER
http://quransmessage.com/articles/pray%20as%20we%20have%20taught%20you%20how%20to%20pray%20-%20using%20a%20verse%20to%20support%20a%20fixed%20form%20of%20prayer%20FM3.htm

I argue:

(a) That the target address is not the Prophet alone
(b) The verse does not say 'pray as we have taught you how to pray' but rather, 'remember God as you have been taught to'
(c) The Arabic term 'ma lam takanu ta'lamun' (What you did not know) mentioned in 2:239 combined with 'dhikr' (remembrance of God) is most likely to cover all general aspects of monotheistic 'dhikr' including the many aspects clearly mentioned with regards prayer in the Quran and cited in the article.


This is to make a clear distinction between a monotheistic prayer as compared to a pagan ritual such as one which includes whistling and clapping.

This is not proving a 'fixed' form of prayer nor indeed sanctioning a particular sunna.

I hope this helps.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline zakaria

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 09:08:05 PM »
Salaams to All,

I would like to use an analogy if I may. Say we are at a starting point A and need to travel to our destination B. I could choose to use the highway or avoid it, since both take me to the desired destination, neither were the wrong ways. If I am informed of a better way, then I would consider it.

In my understanding, we have been given some basic forms in how to perform Salaat (Wudu, Qayaam, Sujood, Timing, Direction, moderate tone etc), . Now, whichever way we perform Salaat, as long as the intentions are correct and we follow the best we truly believe is the correct / best / humble way, then in my opinion life is much easier than we are made to believe it is. Of course, in congregation prays would have to be done in a similar way for uniformity or the congregation aspect would be lost.

The fact that we are to 'establish' pray means that we must have a set way of praying to a degree otherwise it will not be an established practice. If we keep that criteria in mind, then shortening the pray makes complete sense when required as outlined in The Quran.

I see everything in a very simple way and get put off with complications when they are not needed. I am a simple man and like to keep things simple and to the point where I can.


Your Brother,
Zakaria.

If you disagree, then please put forward a better argument derived only from the Quran. My intentions are not to knowingly disrespect anyone, if you feel any of my posts falling into that category, then please let me know and I will happily react appropriately.
Your Brother,
Zakaria.

If you disagree, then please put forward a better argument derived only from the Quran. My intentions are not to knowingly disrespect anyone, if you feel any of my posts falling into that category, then please let me know and I will happily react appropriately.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 09:56:30 PM »
Salamun Alaikum Zakaria / All,

I find your analogy very apt.

I personally feel that today's traditional prayer captures the basic requirements of the Quran. I see no reason to 'reinvent the wheel'.

Some 'additions' have been introduced such as those that are outside the scope of the 'wudu' (ablution) as instructed in verse 5:6 and other pedantics like where to put ones hands, where to put ones right foot (straight or curled), what do to if one accidentally forgets a 'sajda' (prostration) or misses a rakat (unit) (unintentional mistakes are not accountable for 33:5, 2:225, 5:89) and others. We should not turn a blind eye to these unwarranted additions and unnecessary pedantics but deal with them in light of the Quran.

Generally, I would happily pray behind any imam of any sect or madhab (unless I have personal concerns pertaining to his ability to lead a congregation) as long as he establishes a basic form, I am happy to support it. I am happy because of the reason, God does not prescribe a specific form. In a Sunni 'Barelvi' congregation, I may tie my hands on my navel, in a 'Wahabi' congregation on my chest and in Shia congregation, drop them all together. Those that think there is a prescribed form will struggle with this (a precursor to 'sectarianism').

In my heart my intention is to pray and bow with those that bow to God (see wisdom in: 2:43, 3:43). 

As I understand Arabic and what I say in my prayer, I am not in contravention of 4:43 'until you can understand all that you say', I am happy to commune with my Lord in Arabic. I may also substitute my prayers with other languages which I may be proficient with such as English or others. As long as I am within the bounds of 4:43, I see no reason to change this. However, those that don't understand Arabic, yet feel forced to pray in Arabic are in contravention of 4:43. That is Quranic proof! They need to pray in a vernacular that they understand.

Personally I stick with the basic formula of units, 2x4x4x3x4 as it is core to nearly all worshippers, not in contravention of the Quranic guidelines and supports my best efforts to join with those that 'establish prayer'. I personally add to the units whenever I feel inclined. I may also decide to fall on my knees or prostrate when I want to thank my Lord for something immediately outside the prescribed times. (Like Prophet David did in 38:24).

However, sticking to the basic formula doesn't mean that I am sanctioning a particular Sunna as a prescription from God. If I don't follow this set formula, there is not one person in my humble view that can bring me clear, unequivocal evidence from the Quran that I have committed a sin.

If there is such a verse which proves that I have committed a sin, I humbly invite any Muslim brother or sister to produce it and enlighten me, God willing.

The directive of salat in the main is only specific in one instruction; 'Establish prayer'.

Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2011, 05:56:52 PM »
Salaam,

I read this thread with interest. I feel that the shortening is a change to the 'standard' form that had been adapted at the time. I don't think that prescribed prayers are so fluid in that there is no basic form.
 
At the time of the prophet, a basic form must have been followed as people read in congregation. This form consists of standing, bowing and prostrating.

It therefore follows that in danger, a person may not be able to commit fully to the basic elements.

However please note that in 4.102 the use of the word 'sajadu' (they have prostrated).The prophet is told to lead the prayer and in turns groups of men join and once they finish their prostration, move back. Even in this danger, they are trying to keep a physical form.

Offline Sardar Miyan

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 12:57:38 AM »
Assalam,Instead going to Secondary Source why cant we follow the custom ( TAQLEED) of Prophet who has performed Haj & performed Prayers five times in Masjid il Haraam ? This is the chain of events coming  right from 1400 years. This form is given to succeeding ummah to follow. Sahabi Abul AUS had not gone to China to build Municepality,Parliament or Office but to  Pray 5 times inviting peiople to Islam. A Hindu king from Kerala India built a Mosque during the period of Prophet taking Shahda in Arabia.He did this  for prayers. Dr Shabbir has also  translateed Salaat as Prayers in many places in QXP while most of the places as following Command.
May entire creation be filled with Peace & Joy & Love & Light

Offline Saleh

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Re: Shortening of Prayers
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 06:10:43 AM »
Salamun Alaik Bro Joseph

I would like to quote a very interesting article with regards to the subject.

"In constant awareness that the Quran contains all the details of our religion (6:114) and that nothing has been left out of the book (6:38) it becomes evident that God did not require of us any set frequencies in connection to any of the worship practices.

1- The concept of "raka" for a start is not a Quranic concept nor format. This word is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran, consequently the starting point of this line of thought is based on a traditional concept (Raka) rather than a rule authorised in the Quran.

The Quran commands us to observe 3 positions during salat, these are the standing, bowing and prostrating (in that order), however, the Quran does not give us any specific length of time in which we are to spend in any of these three positions. Consequently, one may choose to spend 5 or 10 minutes in the standing position glorifying God, the same applies to the time one may spend in the other positions. Similarly, one may also choose to bow once or 10 times before prostrating, and as long as the bowing (in any frequency) is followed by prostrating (in any frequency), who is to say that this violates any Quranic law?

Needless to say, the traditional format for the Raka (standing, then one bowing followed by 2 prostrations) is not Quranic, and thus to adhere to this format and condition our thinking in terms of mulitiples of Raka's is to follow tradition rather than Quranic law.

2- Consequently, the command to shorten the salat does not pertain to shortening the number of raka's, since (as explained) God would not give us instructions to shorten something that WE invented and which He never devised.

3- With this in mind, the command to shorten the salat becomes more clear. Since the Quran does not authorise a specific format for the frequency of any of the three positions, thus the command to shorten the salat becomes clearly a command to shorten the OVERALL TIME we spend in our salat .... for example if we normally spend 10 minutes in one salat (which could be only one sequence of the 3 positions), at times of war we are advised to shorten this time for reasons of safety. Let us say spend only a couple of minutes. The concession to shorten the time of our salat would also mean that instead of uttering the phrase "sobhan rabi Al-Aala" (Praise God the Most High) 10 or 20 times, we can say it only once or twice."

Salam Bro