Author Topic: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran  (Read 18678 times)

redsulphur1229

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Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« on: January 05, 2012, 01:48:18 PM »
Here is my review of the verses of the Quran regarding Salat (Prayer), and it appears to me that only two Prayer times are prescribed in the Quran.  Everything depends on the interpretation of 11:114.

Prayer (Salat) ? Prescribed Times
4:103 ? Prayer is enjoined in the ?prescribed form? and at ?prescribed times.?

This verse states that Prayer is in prescribed form and at prescribed times.  The prescribed form consists of standing, bowing and prostrating (see below).  First, let's review what timings are actually prescribed in the Quran.

11:114 ? (literal translation) ?And establish Prayer at the edges of the day and in proximity to the night (zulfun layl)?

Although the foregoing is a literal translation, ?edges? is often translated as ?two ends? or "two edges".  This verse refers only to 2 prescribed Prayer times, namely, the two ?edges? of the day.  Despite the fact that this verse is often cited as referring to 3 prescribed times, with many translations translating ?zulfun layl? as ?some hours of the night?, this appears incorrect.  The term ?zulfun? is derived from the root ?zalafa? which means ?to bring near, to approach? and ?zulfa? means ?nearness, proximity?.  Therefore, ?zulfun? cannot be translated as ?some hours of? but must be a reference to nearness or proximity to something.  The term ?layl? means ?night?.  Therefore, the phrase ?zulfun layl? means ?near or in proximity to the night?.  The words ?edges of the day? means that the Prayer times referred to in this verse occur during daylight hours, once at the beginning of the day and the other at the end, and not at anytime during the night.  However, these day times are close to the night, and thus presumably just after sunrise and just before sunset.  The ?approach of the night? (or ?proximity of the night?) cannot be a separate prayer time but merely further description of when these ?edges? occur, namely, in proximity or closest to the night. 

17:78-79 ? ?Observe Prayer at declining and paling of the sun on to the darkness of the night, and recite the Quran at morning (fajr).?

This verse refers to only one time prescribed for Prayer, namely, when the sun begins to decline (which is when it passes its zenith), and therefore, anytime after the zenith (afternoon or evening).  Read with 11:114, the prayer is to be closer to the sunset time, and is thus a reference to the second ?edge of the day?.  Query: No mention is made in this verse to Prayer at morning (fajr) to accompany the Quran recitation.

24:58 ? ?O ye who believe, let those whom your rights hands possess (servants), and those of you who have not reached puberty, ask leave of you 3 times before coming into your presence, before Salatil Fajr (morning Prayer), when you shed your clothes at noon in summer, and after the Salatil Isha (evening Prayer).  These are 3 times of privacy for you.? 

While there are 3 times of privacy mentioned, only two of them are referred to as Prayer times -- morning Prayer (Salatil Fajr) and evening (pre-sunset) Prayer (Salatil Isha).  This is consistent with 11:114 above provided "Isha" (evening) is taken to be the time just before sunset.  Noon is described as the time when the Prophet takes off his garments due to the heat of the noon, but is not referred to as a Prayer time and therefore cannot be a reference to the ?Middle Prayer? (see next verse).   

2:238 ? ?Watch over Prayers, particularly the ?Salatil Wusta? (the Best Prayer).?

Translators translate "wusta" to mean ?middle?, which would constitute the one and only reference to a third prayer but with absolutely no indication as to its prescribed time anywhere in the Quran.  As the Quran states that the Prayer times are prescribed, and no time is prescribed for a so-called Middle Prayer, it must thus be another name for one of the other two Prayers.  Indeed, the word ?wusta? comes from the root ?wasata? which also means ?best?, ?most excellent?, ?most important? and ?noblest?.  Therefore, as no prescribed timing has been provided for any other Prayer other than Salatil Fajr and Salatil Isha, this verse must be a reference to one of these two Prayers (mentioned in 11:114 and 24:58), with one of them being the ?best?, ?better? or ?more excellent/important? than the other.  As 17:78-79 makes a reference to only one Prayer, the evening Prayer, perhaps this special mention of the evening Prayer means it is the more important of the two Prayers.  If we are to give credence to the Prophet's Seera, we know that the Meccan pagans did not bar the Muslims from performing Salatil Fajr, but did bar them from performing the pre-sunset Prayer as it coincided with the noisy rituals of the pagans held at the same time.  Perhaps because Muslims were barred from the pre-sunset Prayer (Salatil Isha), it was deemed Satail Wusta as well.

Glorify the name of the Lord (subhai bai humdai rabbai) ? not a reference to Prayer

20:130-132 ? ?Glorify Allah and His praise before sunrise and before sunset, and in the early hours of the night and at the edges of the day ? and enjoin Prayer and be constant therein.?

While these verses prescribe 5 times for glorification, these cannot be references to Prayer times because 20:132 later states, additionally, to ?enjoin Prayer? thus treating Prayer and glorification as separate and distinct from one another.  Interpreting 20:130 as referring to 5 Prayer times not only renders the additional instruction to ?enjoin Prayer? as nonsensical, but it contradicts the specific mention of 2 prescribed Prayer times in 11:114.

50:39-40 ? ?Glorify before sunrise and before sunset and in a part of the night, and after prescribed prostrations.?

As presumably the reference to ?prescribed prostrations? are a reference to Prayer, these verses prescribe glorification ?after prescribed prostrations? further illustrating that Prayer and glorification are separate and distinct from one another.
 
As glorification occurs at more times than the Prayer, and is mentioned as something in addition to Prayer, then the times given for glorification are not references to Prayer times. 

Call upon the Lord (yud?oona rabbahum)
6:52 ? morning (ghadat) and evening (isha)
18:28 ? morning (ghadat) and evening (isha)

Is ?calling upon Lord? a reference to Prayer?  If it is, the timings appear consistent with 11:114, but morning is referred to as ?ghadat? and not ?fajr?. 

Remembrance (dhikr)
7:205 ? morning (ghuduw) and evenings (asal)
76:25 ? morning (bukra) and evening (asil)

Is ?remembrance? same as Prayer?  If it is, the timings are consistent with Prayer, but the morning is not referred to as ?fajr? and nor is the evening referred to as ?isha?.  Note - only two times are mentioned for ?remembrance?.   20:14, 62:9 and 4:103 indicate that Salat is for the purpose of remembrance.

20:15 ? Verily, I am Allah, there is no god but Me.  So serve Me, and observe the Prayer of Remembrance (Salatil Dhikr)

Is Salatil Dhikr another name for one or both of the two Prayers, Salatil Fajr and Salatil Isha?  Unclear as no reference is made to the prescribed time of this Prayer. Therefore, like Salatil Wusta, it may simply be another reference to one of the 2 Prayers, or to both of them generally.

Night Prayer and Vigils ? never referred to as ?Prayer?
73:2 ? stand up (qaleel) at night (in vigil)
This addresses the Prophet Muhammad only ? the one bearing a heavy burden, and because he has many engagements/duties during the day.

76:26 ? remembrance morning and evening, and prostrate and glorify for a long part of the night

This verse addresses the Prophet Muhammad only ? the one to whom the Quran was revealed piecemeal.

25:64 ? those who spend the night before their Lord prostrate and standing (not referred to as Prayer)
15:17-18 ? sleeping only a little at night and seeking forgiveness at dawn (no reference to this as Prayer)
39:9 ? meditating in the early hours of the night, prostrating and standing, fears the Hereafter and hopes for mercy (no reference to this as Prayer)

Performing night vigils is referred to as commendable and blessed, but not as Prayer.

Friday Prayer
62:9 ? ?O ye who believe!  When the call is made for Salat on yaum al jumuah, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave all selling.  That is better for you if you only knew.?

In this verse, no mention is made of which of the 2 Salats the call is being made for.  Further, this verse refers to ?yaum ul jumuah?, which literally means ?day of gathering/assembly/congregation?.  While this term has been traditionally translated as ?Friday?, that is not what it means.  For the Arabs of the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the word for day of the week known as Friday was ?Aruba?, and not ?Juma? (as it is today).  Further, ?yaum ul jumuah? is very different from and cannot connote ?Juma?.  Therefore, this verse cannot be interpreted as referring to a particular day of the week, and thus could be any day designated as a ?day of gathering/assembly/congregation,? or simply a reference to one day only.  As this verse makes no reference to the time for the particular Salat mentioned, but makes reference to ceasing all selling, it must be referring to Salatil Isha (the late afternoon or evening prayer prior to sunset), and not Salatil Fafr (the morning prayer, as markets would not have opened until after the Salatil Fajr.  Such a prayer time would be consistent with the practice of Jews who ceased all selling prior to sunset (and not in the early afternoon) on Fridays in preparation for the Sabbath.  In other words, that the Quran is inviting all Muslims to close their markets at the same time as the Jews but to also gather for the Salat is a reasonable interpretation of this verse.  That said, that this verse refers to a particular day of the week, or for that matter, the Zuhr prayer time, is not supported by the verse itself.


Prayer (Salat) ? Prescribed Form
2:238, 3:39, 4:101 - qiyaam (standing) 
2:43 ? ruku (bowing)
4:102 ? sujud (prostrating)
   ruku and sujud in tandem ? 2:125, 3:43, 9:112, 22:26-27, 48:29
   ruku and sujud interchangeable ? 38:24 (reference to David)
   sujud and weeping ? 19:58 (reference to Adam, Noah, Abraham and Israel)
   sujud when hear Quran recited ? 17:107
   sujud and repentance ? 2:58, 7:161
   sujud leaving a mark on the face ? 48:29

What is the prescribed number of raka?ats in the Quran?  No mention is made in the Quran of the number of raka?ats or the form of Prayer.  4:101 states that the number of raka?ats can be shortened when on a journey or when under threat from enemies.  Therefore, the number of raka?ats must be at least 2, so that they can be shortened to 1.  However, one Hadith appears to indicate that the minimum number of raka?ats, while initially 2, was changed to 4.

Sahih Bokhari: Volume 1, Book 8, Number 346: Narrated 'Aisha: Allah enjoined the Prayer and when He enjoined it, it was two Rakat only (in every prayer) both when in residence or on journey. Then the prayers offered on journey remained the same, but (the Rakat of) the prayers for non-travellers were increased. 

While this Hadith acknowledges, that the prescribed number of raka'ats was initially 2.  The notion that 2 raka'ats existed whether in residence or on journey appears to indicate that that this practice existed prior to the revelation of 4:101 (which allows for the halving of the raka'ats when on a journey).  However, instead of halving the raka'ats to 1, it appears that the response to 4:102 appears to have been to to double the number of residence raka'ats to 4 so that the journey raka'ats remained as 2.  Doing so appears to blatantly contradict the spirit and intent of 4:101, which further suggests unreliability of this Hadith and an effort on the part of later Muslims to add to religious requirement, not minimize it.  That said, there is no indication from the Quran as to the correct number of raka'ats for Prayer, other than whatever number it is, it must be capable of being halved in accordance with 4:101.

The only other Hadith which makes mention of the timings prescribed for Prayer is Bokhari 1:8:345 where the Prophet ascends to Heaven and is depicted as negotiating with Allah at the behest of Moses until the number is set at 5.  Many cite the dubious reliability of this Hadith, especially since, according to it, Moses is shown as more sensible that the Prophet and even Allah.

Just my thoughts.
Allah knows best.
 

Kaiokenred

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 03:17:26 PM »
Salat doesn't mean prayer. But Allah knows better
?Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.? - Buddha

GODsubmitter

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 06:20:52 PM »
Thank you redsulphur1229 for this excellent post with references and explanations!
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youssef4342

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 09:13:43 AM »
Peace   :peace:
This has been debated from before:
http://free-minds.org/forum/index.php?topic=9603015.0
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Bender

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 01:59:11 PM »
Salaam redsulphur1229,

Welcome to the forum  :handshake:
Thank you for your post. Just a question, how long are you a Quran-alone muslim?

I agree with some parts of your post and some not, but most of time after a couple of days I don't even agree with my own understandings anymore  ;) But we are all here to learn and we learn everyday more and more. And everyday we are correcting ourselves, sometimes little corrections sometimes total new understandings. And I believe (when I see how much effort you put in this post) that inshaAllah Allah will give you a lot of knowledge.

Salaam and may Allah increase us in our knowledge,
Bender
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi al-alameen

GODsubmitter

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 09:56:08 PM »
Salat doesn't mean prayer. But Allah knows better

Well Kaiokenred, instead of posting the same in many threads that Salat doesn't mean prayer, when are you going to reveal to all of us what does it mean??? ha? :hmm
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redsulphur1229

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 10:01:08 AM »
Bender,
Thank you for your comments - despite my efforts, I know I have weaknesses and just want to discover Allah's will as expressed in the Quran.  I confess I have not been a Quran-alone Muslim for long coming from a background which holds fast to the Hadith, usually in precedence to the Quran - a disease which plagues much of the Muslim world unfortunately.  An eminent scholar (Fazlur Rehman?) remarked that the Islam of today bears little or no resemblance to the Islam of the Prophet and its first 150 years - that comment sparked my inquiries and led me to this site.
At the end of the day, if the Quran asserts that it is perfect and complete, are we not to take it at its word?

Abdul-Hadi

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 10:42:19 AM »
Greetings and Peace, all  :group:

...At the end of the day, if the Quran asserts that it is perfect and complete, are we not to take it at its word?

@redsulphur1229:  :welcome: A winner is you! There is no need for "confessions" between us. You are a seeker, and I call myself a seeker; there are many seekers on this site.

May ALLAH see fit to Guide all seekers.

 :peace:

~Abdul-Hadi

dawngorgeous

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 12:29:20 AM »
Peace,
Both ends of the day means morning and night and nearly night basically means sunset.  I don't think this is an issue anymore.  What is a more pressing issue is what is salat.  Is it a prayer or an assembly?
Dawn.

Layth

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Re: Salat - only two times mentioned in the Quran
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 01:20:43 AM »
Salam,

The easiest pitfall of 11:114 is to "assume" that the day only has 2 parts (thus we end up looking at dusk & dawn - and since "near night" is dusk, we assume the verse is simply being repeptitive).

The day has at least 3 parts (see 20:130) - which means that 11:114 is refering to the "first 2 parts" (dawn & noon) while the last part os refering to the 3rd Salat "dusk" which is near the night.
`And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice!` (The Quran 39:45)