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Offline IjazAhmad

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To Kneel or to Bow down?
« on: October 22, 2014, 01:45:14 AM »
Salamun Alaikum dear Brother Joseph!  :)

Some Muslims differ about whether it is to 'bow down' or to 'kneel' when it comes to salaat. But, what is it?

2:43 And hold the contact prayer, and contribute towards purification, and kneel with those who kneel.

2:125 And We have made the Sanctuary to be a model for the people and a security. And you shall take, from the station of Abraham, a place for making the contact. And We entrusted to Abraham and Ishmael: "You shall purify My Sanctuary for those who visit, and those who are devoted, and the kneeling, the prostrating."

3:43 "O Mary, be dutiful to your Lord and prostrate and kneel with those who kneel."

5:55 For your supporter are God and His messenger and those who believe; they hold the contact prayer and contribute towards purification, and they kneel.

9:112 They are the repenters, the worshipers, the thankful, the devout, the kneeling, the prostrating, the advocates of good and the prohibiters of vice, and the caretakers of the boundaries of God; and give good news to the believers.

22:26 And We have appointed to Abraham the location of the House: "Do not set up anyone with Me, and purify My House for those who visit, and those who are standing, and the kneeling, the prostrating."

22:77 O you who believe, kneel and prostrate and serve your Lord and do good that you may succeed.

Some help here?  :)

Wa 'alaykum as-salaam!
Ijaz, A.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 02:30:57 AM »
Wa alaikum assalam brother Ijaz,

The common meaning of the verb 'raka'a' to 'bow down' is well attested as a primary meaning in classical literature and lexicons and the one I incline to in my interpretation of the word.

See below an example:

  • 1 رَكَعَ , (Th, S, &c.,) aor. رَكَعَ , (Th, TA,) inf. n. رُكُوعٌ (Th, S, Mgh, Msb, K) and رَكْعٌ, (Th, TA,) He bowed, or bent, himself; or became bowed or bent: (Th, S, Mgh, Msb:) so says Er-Rághib, adding that it is sometimes used to denote a particular manner of doing so in prayer, and sometimes to denote humility and self-abasement either in worship or in other cases: (TA:) he lowered his head: (Th:) and he (an old man) bowed himself, or bent himself, or became bowed or bent, by reason of age: (S, Msb, K:) this is [said to be] the primary signification: (TA:) [1]

I hope that helps, God willing,
Joseph

REFERENCE:
 
[1] LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 3, Page 1147
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Wakas

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2014, 09:46:37 PM »
salaam Ijaz,


Some Muslims differ about whether it is to 'bow down' or to 'kneel' when it comes to salaat. But, what is it?


Perhaps you should consider WHY they differ?

Perhaps it is because the view of rk3 meaning "to bow down or to kneel when it comes to salaat" involves indirect evidence, assumption, interpolation etc. For example:

1) in the verses you cite not one explicitly states rk3 is to be done during salaat
2) can one fall bowing, as in 38:24? Or could it mean kneeling, either, or something else?
3) are you aware translations and dictionaries cite more than bow and kneel as meanings? What Quranic evidence do you have for one meaning over another?


(source: Arabic-English Dictionary of Quranic usage)

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2014, 11:09:05 PM »
Dear Ijaz,

As-salam alaykum

You may also want to remember during your Quranic scrutiny the extremely important fact, that the Quran is NOT a dictionary or lexicon, which is the impression some Quranists may give during their discourses on various platforms (a general sentiment, not directed at a particular group or individual).

The Quran has never been a dictionary of words, nor does it intend to be. In fact, there are words in the Quran that are only used once in the entire Quran (hapax legomenon).  The word 'al-tara'ib' (86:7) is one example. The word 'Eid' (5:114) is another example. With such words, how can one ever begin to understand the meaning of the words without an appreciation of the general Arabic language which has reached us?

As I am sure you will appreciate, the Quran was revealed to a people in their vernacular who understood the language. Therefore, the language of the Arabs as it has reached us today and any sources which transmit an understanding of a word in that particular context, is implicit to understand the Quran.

Yes indeed, the Quran can be used as a reference or criterion, but the Quran also expects that the audience is familiar with the language for them to be able to grasp its message. Hence the Quran is prima facie dependant on an understanding of the language via all sources necessary. Otherwise, the Quranic language (and its message) will end up becoming nothing more than Egyptian Hieroglyphics without the Rosetta stone to assist.

With respect, in my many years of discussing such matters with some Quranists, with respect, I have found their approach to be extremely lacking, where they question well-attested words in a particular context suggesting alternative understandings, often with no solid understanding of the language, relying wholly on dictionaries positing meaning of words which arguably, no person familiar with the Arabic language has ever understood in that particular context.

All I can humbly share that one needs to exercise extreme caution with such new-fangled approaches wherever one encounters them.

Once again, I have shared general sentiments that you will appreciate is not directed at you, a particular group or any other individual.

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

Offline Wakas

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2014, 04:41:00 PM »
Dear Joseph,
salaam/peace.

Perhaps you can help us.

This website is titled Quran's message, thus I assume we are primarily concerned with what it actually says about XYZ. With this in mind can you provide your answer to the following:

1) what is your strongest Quranic evidence for ra-kaf-ayn meaning "to bow" (physically) ?

2) what is your strongest Quranic evidence for we are to "to bow" (physically) during 'salaat' ?

 

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 08:32:14 PM »
Dear Wakas,

Wa alaikum assalam

You say "Perhaps you can help us."

I am somewhat unsure why you have decided to make use of the plural? If you have a question, please may I kindly request that you ask this on behalf of yourself and not others, unless of course, you are making use of the 'royal plural' as a designation for yourself, which I acknowledge is your prerogative.


You ask "what is your strongest Quranic evidence for ra-kaf-ayn meaning "to bow" (physically) ?"

As I have already shared, the Quran is not a dictionary or lexicon, which your question clearly intimates. I have already shared in this thread the primary meaning of the word 'raka'a' (to bow) which is also corroborated by the excerpt that you have shared (to bow). This primary meaning of the word does not conflict with any verses where this primary meaning is utilised. May I kindly and respectfully request that you consider revisiting your approach to the Quran which appears to intimate that it is to be used as a dictionary or lexicon. With respect, as I have intimated before, I strongly agree with such a premise where one appears to seek primary meanings of a word from the Quran.

You ask "what is your strongest Quranic evidence for we are to "to bow" (physically) during 'salaat' ?"

Again, if the primary meaning of the word is admitted as understood by the transmission of the Arabic language and referenced in this thread, then it is clear that bowing is part of salaat. There are other verses which can be used, but I will make use of one with a view to cite an example below:

002.043
"And establish salaat and give zakaat; and bow down (ir'ka'u) with those who bow down (raki'in)."

Please kindly note that I will not be revisiting any topics which I feel have already been exhausted between us.

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

Offline Wakas

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2014, 06:16:20 AM »
Dear Joseph,
w/salaam.
 
Thanks for the reply.
 
Re: "us"
Ijaz asked you if rkE means bow or kneel and provided a sample of Quran occurrences.
You responded by citing a Classical Arabic dictionary.
Thus, I thought it may help us (i.e. readers of a Quran's message forum) to enquire about the Quranic evidence.
 
Which leads me to your reply...
 
Note: May I kindly and respectfully request that in future you refrain from making statements about what you think my approach appears to be. Conjecture is no substitute for the truth - if you wish to clarify what my approach is, simply ask.

 
Re: 1)
You cited no Quranic evidence.
 
However, you said (emphasis mine):
" I have already shared in this thread the primary meaning of the word 'raka'a' (to bow) which is also corroborated by the excerpt that you have shared (to bow). "
 
Are you making an assumption that since the excerpt from the source lists "to bow" first it is stating that is the primary meaning?
If you are making a claim about this source, please provide a reference/quote from it to back-up your claim.
 
 
Re: 2)
You cited a verse with the following structure:
 
And establish/uphold the X and give/show the Y and do Z with those who Z. [2:43]
 
And claimed it is "clear" that Z is part of X.
 
It is patently not clear. However, what is clear is that your deduction/extrapolation is based on an implicit statement, not explicit.
 
Note: For those unfamiliar about this important difference you can search this forum or google "joseph islam implicit explicit" and you will find multiple examples wherein brother Joseph clarifies the difference and emphasises the superiority of explicit statements.
 
e.g. here
For something to be 'taught' by a scripture as a fundamental doctrine of faith, it must be backed up by explicit statements and not implicit deductions. This is as true for the Quran as it is for the Bible. It is only when we make use of 'implicit' deductions to underscore and support mainstay beliefs that we sow the seeds to all kinds of misleading doctrines.

Your evidence also necessitates follow up questions, e.g.

How do you deduce Z is not part of Y?

Is it your position that in Quranic statements with similar structure, i.e: do the X and do the Y and Z with those who Z, The Quran is making clear Z is part of X?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 07:06:02 AM »
Dear Wakas,

As-salamu alaykum


You assert:

Re: "us"
Ijaz asked you if rkE means bow or kneel and provided a sample of Quran occurrences.
You responded by citing a Classical Arabic dictionary.
Thus, I thought it may help us (i.e. readers of a Quran's message forum) to enquire about the Quranic evidence.


I strongly disagree. You have assumed that brother Ijaz may not have been satisfied with the response I gave him. As he was still yet to reply, with respect, you unnecessary shoe-horned your unwarranted request (as the Quran is not a dictionary) seemingly attempting to bolster the credibility of your question by speaking in terms of 'plurality'. There was absolutely no evidence in this thread that other readers would have been interested in your line of thinking. In future, may I kindly request that you refrain from this kind of questioning and ask the questions you want to without seeking support in numbers or plurality.


You further assert:

"Re: 1)
You cited no Quranic evidence."


Yet, I have repeatedly stated that the Quran is NOT a dictionary or lexicon. Thus your request has absolutely no basis and remains wholly meaningless. In my humble view, it remains the achilles heel of your approach to the Quran. The true ambit of the Arabic words remain elucidated via classical sources and an understanding of the meaning of those words that have reached us. I have further provided you clear evidence as to the meaning of the word 'ruku' from classical sources which do not contravene verses of the Quran.

The classical sources themselves claim what the primary signification of the term is, yet you have consistently appeared to ignore this. Thus I highlight the sentence below again in bold which I posted in reply #1.

1 رَكَعَ , (Th, S, &c.,) aor. رَكَعَ , (Th, TA,) inf. n. رُكُوعٌ (Th, S, Mgh, Msb, K) and رَكْعٌ, (Th, TA,) He bowed, or bent, himself; or became bowed or bent: (Th, S, Mgh, Msb:) so says Er-Rághib, adding that it is sometimes used to denote a particular manner of doing so in prayer, and sometimes to denote humility and self-abasement either in worship or in other cases: (TA:) he lowered his head: (Th:) and he (an old man) bowed himself, or bent himself, or became bowed or bent, by reason of age: (S, Msb, K:) this is [said to be] the primary signification: (TA:) [1]


With regards your second contention:

"How do you deduce Z is not part of Y?"

Ruku is mentioned in other parts of the Quran along with prostration which makes it clear that it is part of an act of worship or reverence. One example is below:

003.043
"O Mary! Be obedient to your Lord  and prostrate and bow down (Arabic: wa-ir'ka'i) with those who bow down (Arabic: raki'een)"

Similarly, 'ruku' is also mentioned in other verses along with prostration (48:29), again in the ambit of worship. It is clear that prostrations are part of 'salaat’ which can also be seen in the following verse structure.

004:102 (part)
"And when you are among them and you lead them for salaat, then let a group of them stand with you and let them take their arms. Then when they have prostrated, let them go to your rear and let another group come (forward) which has not prayed (yusallu)…"

You simply cannot get away from the fact that salaat is an act of worship in which prostrations and bowing are a part. Hence, my deduction is not isolated, but I assert under the criteria of the following verses, a very obvious deduction.

039:018
"Those who listen to the Word (the Quran) and follow the best meaning in it / best of it (Arabic: fayattabi'una ahsanahu) those are the ones whom God has guided and those are the one's endowed with understanding (Arabic: Albabi)
 
039.055
"And follow the best of what is revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes to you suddenly while you do not perceive!”

Hence, it would be meaningless to suggest that 'ruku' is part of giving Zakat (or in your words "How do you deduce Z is not part of Y?") when no other verses in the Quran corroborate this. However, many verses, if studied collectively, support the view that bowing and prostrations are part of salaat.

Thus in summary:

  • I have made it clear to you that the Quran is not a dictionary or a lexicon. It was revealed in the cradle of an existing language which the primary audience spoke. The Quran did not invent a new language, thus asking evidence for a meaning of an Arabic word in the Quran implicitly or explicitly is not only futile, but wholly unwarranted theologically and linguistically.
  • I have provided you clear evidence from classical sources and the Arabic language as it has been transmitted to us today for the meaning of the verb 'raka'a' to mean to 'bow down'.
  • The primary meaning of the word finds no contention with its usage in the Quran.
  • I have cited clear evidence of how the word is paired with the word ‘sujud’ (prostrate) which is also used in conjunction with salaat.
  • There is also support in en masse practice including support from the earliest classical sources that the word 'ruku' means to bow down in salaat.


You on the other hand:

  • Provide absolutely no warrant as to why you consistently challenge point 1 above implicitly by demanding 'Quranic evidence' for the meaning of an Arabic word used in the Quran when the Quran is not a dictionary or lexicon.
  • Provide absolutely no warrant as to why you challenge point 2 above.
  • You provide absolutely no evidence as to why the meaning of 'bow down' clearly conflicts with any of its usage in the Quran if understood as 'bow down'.
  • You provide no proof as to why the well understood Arabic meaning of the word needs to be challenged.
  • You provide absolutely no unequivocal, explicit proof as to what your meaning of the term (whatever that may be) is more suitable in all the Quranic contexts as opposed to its well-understood meaning to 'bow down'.

I respectfully suggest to the readership that you have the weakest, most unwarranted position.

With respect, I have made my perspective clear as I have my opinion regarding your approach. I find your argumentation unnecessarily contentious and I respectfully remind you to kindly remain mindful of forum policies 2(c-e).

With respect, I have discussed the reasons why I find your approach lacking, without warrant and faulty in certain areas in numerous posts with evidence, which can be sourced by the readership from the many discussions on this site:

Wakas
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1272

Therefore, please kindly accept my response to you my last on this matter.

Regards,
Joseph


REFERENCE:
 
[1] LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 3, Page 1147
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2014, 10:32:22 AM »
Post restored as per brother Joseph's request.


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: To Kneel or to Bow down?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2014, 10:50:37 AM »
Dear Wakas,

As-salamu alaykum


I did respectfully request in my last post to you that if you could kindly accept my response to you as my last on this matter. However sadly, you have decided to ignore this request whilst continuing to provide what I deem are contentious summary responses of your own. For the final time, may I kindly and respectfully suggest that you curtail any further discussions with me on this topic as I feel this matter is now well and truly exhausted, certainly from my perspective. May I also request that you do not visit any areas of discussions that we have already covered.

May I kindly remind you that you will be deemed in breach of the forum policy by both myself and the moderators if you do not kindly heed to this repeated request. I believe our differences in approach to the Quran have been made clearly manifest to the readership in full public view and I deem it a waste of valuable time and resources to repeatedly visit the same core contentions.


Quote


It is clear to me from this response that you have simply dismissed what I feel were well-founded responses against your arguments. I also find it in extremely poor taste that despite my willingness to repeatedly respond to your tedious enquiries, you resort to patronising me and possibly other readers by citing 'Logical fallacies' and 'Confirmation Bias' which can easily be applied to you and your approach.

This is why I humbly requested that you accept my response as my last on this matter. I once again cordially invite readers who are interested, to study the contentions that I have levied against Wakas's approach to Quranic matters which can be sourced from the following link.

Wakas
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1272


Quote


The primary meaning of 'sujud' was clearly shared with you as an act of reverence to God (i.e. in respect to their prayer). This may or may not include prostration. However, this does not negate the element of reverence to God. However, you have now unnecessarily suggested that on that basis,  'perhaps rKE may or may not include bowing'. With respect, this is an absolutely unwarranted extrapolation on your part when the meaning of 'ruku' (as bowing) was never in dispute from my perspective and has been made absolutely clear with evidence from classical sources as 'to bow'. Yet sadly, you refuse to accept this appearing to demand 'Quranic evidence' when it has been made repeatedly clear to you that the Quran is not a dictionary or lexicon. I strongly believe that you appear to be clutching at straws to defend what appears is an unwarranted position on your part when you simply have no reason to deny the well attested meaning of 'ruku' as 'to bow'.

Therefore, I still respectfully maintain the position below:


Thus in summary:

  • I have made it clear to you that the Quran is not a dictionary or a lexicon. It was revealed in the cradle of an existing language which the primary audience spoke. The Quran did not invent a new language, thus asking evidence for a meaning of an Arabic word in the Quran implicitly or explicitly is not only futile, but wholly unwarranted theologically and linguistically.
  • I have provided you clear evidence from classical sources and the Arabic language as it has been transmitted to us today for the meaning of the verb 'raka'a' to mean to 'bow down'.
  • The primary meaning of the word finds no contention with its usage in the Quran.
  • I have cited clear evidence of how the word is paired with the word ‘sujud’ (prostrate) which is also used in conjunction with salaat.
  • There is also support in en masse practice including support from the earliest classical sources that the word 'ruku' means to bow down in salaat.


You on the other hand:

  • Provide absolutely no warrant as to why you consistently challenge point 1 above implicitly by demanding 'Quranic evidence' for the meaning of an Arabic word used in the Quran when the Quran is not a dictionary or lexicon.
  • Provide absolutely no warrant as to why you challenge point 2 above.
  • You provide absolutely no evidence as to why the meaning of 'bow down' clearly conflicts with any of its usage in the Quran if understood as 'bow down'.
  • You provide no proof as to why the well understood Arabic meaning of the word needs to be challenged.
  • You provide absolutely no unequivocal, explicit proof as to what your meaning of the term (whatever that may be) is more suitable in all the Quranic contexts as opposed to its well-understood meaning to 'bow down'.


Once again, please kindly accept my response to you my last on this matter.

Regards,
Joseph

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