Author Topic: Salat & the Kaaba  (Read 5350 times)

Meteora

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Salat & the Kaaba
« on: January 03, 2013, 07:32:11 PM »
Sorry in advance if this has been asked. My question isn't that general though so that's the main reason I made the topic (search didn't help enough).

This isn't really about hajj, but about salat. I can't shake off the feeling aiming a ritual prayer towards (and prostrating towards) the famous Kaaba in Mecca is just made-up. Even supposing this is the actual Kaaba in the Quran, I don't think there's any command to physically pray towards it, let alone prostrate in its direction.

Can someone show me the verse closest to implying we should pray and prostrate towards the Kaaba (the one in Mecca)?

Thanks in advance.
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Wakas

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 01:52:11 AM »
The verses commonly cited are 2:142-150.

Analysis here:
http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/meaning-masjid-al-haram-Quran.html

###


The following is a list of the problems regarding this traditional explanation:

Quote
1) It is entirely an interpretation based on external sources (i.e. traditions). The terms "kaabah", "mecca", "AMAH", "turn your wajh/face/consideration", "masjid" etc are NEVER discussed elsewhere in AQ involving a specific physical direction, nor is an example given of anyone performing salat in a particular direction. Some cite 4:102 but please see part 1 of this series for its analysis.
2) The word "qiblah", and its root (QBL), cannot be shown to clearly mean "prayer direction" in any AQ occurrence.
3) All traditional commentators translate the only other occurrence of the specifc noun "qiblah" (apart from these verses) in 10:87 as "oratories / places of worship" not "prayer direction". The likely reason is that to do so would make little sense as 10:87 says "...and make your houses a qiblah...". Further, they turn it into a plural here, whilst elsewhere it is singular.
4) In addition to 2:142, the following verses also clearly imply turning to a specific direction is irrelevant, e.g. 2:115 says "for God is the east and the west so wherever you turn so there is God's wajh/presence/consideration...", 2:177 "...it is not righteousness that you turn your wujuh/faces/considerations towards/qibala the east and the west...". Note the similar words used "turn/walla", "wherever/ayna", "wajh/face/consideration", and these messages (the only ones of their kind) are only found in chapter 2, and the only times verb form 2 of "turn" is used in chapter 2 are 2:115, 2:142-150, 2:177. Some commentators explain this away by saying there was no prayer direction initially, and later this was abrogated, and so on. However, note that in terms of sequence, this same message is given prior to AND after the "change of qiblah" verses. Interestingly, some traditional commentators accept that any direction is not special, and the only thing that makes it special is God having imposed it, no other reason.
5) The verses do not say turn in the direction of the "Kaabah", but AMAH. One may ask then, what does one do once inside AMAH or next to it.
6) The verses do not say turn your wajh DURING salat, this is an inserted interpretation. In fact, it explicitly says "wherever you are" / "wherever thou start or come forth", implying no limitation, and if so, this would make it impossible to face one direction all the time.
7) Technically, it is impossible to face an object on a spheroid (i.e. earth) if you are a long distance away from it. One actually faces a random point in space, and even if one were to draw a line on the earth's surface in a direction towards the intended object being even one degree off can result in being many miles away from the object. Thus, it is actually near impossible to do, unless in close proximity to the object, so if one wishes to take this interpretation, one must accept facing one direction is symbolic only.
8 ) Note how 2:141 clearly implies the past is the past, but according to the traditional understanding the verses which follow are about resuming the qiblah of Abraham et al. Seems a mixed message.
9) The reason given for the apparent change in qiblah is "not will be for the people against you debate", and "that I may complete My favour upon you and so that you may be guided". The traditional commentators try to explain these away using traditions, see Al Jalalayn (altafsir.com), ibn Kathir (qtafsir.com), Asad (quranix.net). Interestingly, traditional Islamic history shows that their relations with the Jewish tribes of Medina only worsened after this point - potentially contradicting the reasoning offered in AQ.
10) 2:145 says "...nor will they follow each other's qiblah..." - a much missed point is the fact that the traditional understanding of "qiblah" as "prayer direction" requires the people of the book to have a minimum of TWO different "qiblah" or "prayer directions" in order to make sense logically, i.e. Jews pray one direction, Christians pray another. I did not find a commentator who explained this away. It is possible they did not realise this. However, there is apparently some evidence to suggest early Christians prayed facing east, and Jews faced Jerusalem, thus satisfying the two-minimum criteria. To me the context of this suggests people can have many qiblah, even their own individual qiblah, i.e. more than two.
11) If these verses were revealed in Medina, as alleged, then the direction of Jerusalem from there is clearly north-west, not west. Further, there may be some evidence Christians prayed to the east, but Jews do not pray to the west, thus the use of "east" and "west" in 2:142 are unlikely meant to be taken as discussing prayer directions, as some claim. Most traditional commentators do not claim this however.
12) If facing the cuboid called "Kaabah" pleased the messenger, as implied in 2:144, then it should be noted it was full of idols at the time, as even accepted in traditional sources. They allege that since it was the first house dedicated to worship, built by Abraham, this was more important than the fact it was filled with idols and a pagan symbol, hence "pleased".
13) IF the cuboid called "Kaabah" was also the qiblah of Abraham, as agreed upon by traditionalists, then it should be noted prophets Moses and Jesus (who came after Abraham) were NEVER recorded, in any source, as visiting it nor facing it during prayer. This would be extremely unusual. Thus, the explanation sometimes given is that Jerusalem was the legitimate qiblah for Moses/Jesus, and then the original qiblah (i.e. cuboid called Kaabah) was restored with the final revelation, i.e. Quran. This requires us to believe for some reason God changed it, then restored it, and now seemingly assigns blame to the people of the book for not accepting this change. Can we really blame them for not changing, as this explanation is tantamount to God being the source of confusion, which is unacceptable in my view. Further, it is implied in 2:146 that some of the people of the kitab/book know that this change is the truth, implying somewhere in their own scriptures this qiblah is mentioned or that their qiblah will be superseded by a future messenger etc - if so, where is this information? Perhaps further research needs to be done in this area.
14) AMAH as a building likely did not exist at the time, as admitted by traditional sources, and refers to the area/site (see Encyclopaedia of Quran, volume 3, p77). How this was delineated is anyone's guess. Please note some commentators regard AMAH as Mecca in some verses, e.g. 9:28.
15) As is clear from the last part of 2:144, the only requirement for knowing the true "qiblah" is to be given the decree/scripture from our Lord. There is no requirement to have a compass or to consult a geographical map to know the true "qiblah" from our Lord.
16) IF the Jerusalem qiblah was appointed by God, then this indirectly implies the messenger was dissatisfied with such a qiblah when 2:144 says "...We see thy face/consideration shifting in the sky..." and "...that will please thee...", i.e. was the messenger dissatisfied with a command from God?
17) The use of masculine suffix pronoun "hu/it" in these verses is somewhat problematic (see bold blue in the above translation), as IF "it" refers to AMAH as a physical building then it seems odd (e.g. they recognise it/AMAH as they recognise their sons). Tafsir Al Jalalayn states the "it" in 2:146 refers to Muhammad, Ibn Kathir says it could be Muhammad or Kaabah but unfortunately for him the latter is a feminine noun so it cannot be that. Perhaps Ibn Kathir meant AMAH. Some translators imply the "it" refers to the qiblah but again, this is a feminine noun (see the use of feminine "ha/it" in 2:143 for confirmation of this). For me, the variance is telling. It should be strongly noted that in AQ Abraham is never said to have built AMAH, nor is it explicitly mentioned in his presence, thus for the people of the writ/decree to link this to Abraham and recognise AMAH as the truth is somewhat difficult.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to state with certainty what the masculine pronoun "hu" refers to, but in my humble opinion, the flow and logic of the verses suggest it=AMAH, especially considering the usage of "it is the truth from your Lord" in 2:144, 2:147 and 2:149.
18) 2:145 would imply that if the messenger were to follow their qiblah after these revelations then he would be a wrongdoer and following their desires, yet he was apparently following it previously. Is there a precedent for this in AQ, i.e. doing X is allowed then a future revelation clearly changes doing X to desires/wrongdoing? Not to my knowledge.
19) The expression "turn + wajh", is used in 6:79 and rendered as "I shall turn my face to the One who created the heavens and the earth..." but explained as "making his religion and works sincere" (e.g. Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas), likely because this was prior to the alleged building of the cuboid called "Kaaba", thus to render it as a physical direction when such a place did not exist would be problematic for Traditionalists, yet they take this same phrase to mean physical directional command here. Also see "wajh" in 'Verbal Idioms of Quran' by Mustansir Mir. This shows that this phrase does have a link to mindset/sincerity/intention/approach/etc even in traditional sources. The phrase is also used in 28:22 (albeit "turn" is verb form 5 not 2) and likely denotes an actual physical turning of one's face, but uses the Arabic word "tilq'aa" for "towards" not "shatra (in the direction)" like these verses. Perhaps "til'qaa" is more appropriate for a physical turning towards, also see 7:47.  It is somewhat peculiar "shatra" is used in 2:144-150, rather than the more common "ila/to" for example, IF it did mean a physical face turning towards/to something.
As a side note, also recall how in part 2 it was shown the phrase "aqim wajh" had no link to a physical face or directional command.
20) IF it was a reference to turning towards another direction in prayer, then to me, it seems odd that in 2:142 it states the foolish (al sufahau) will ask "what has turned them from..." when this seems like a reasonable question to ask. Think about it, if you were there as an observer, and a group prayed towards X then Y for about 18 months (as the traditional story goes) then back to X again, wouldn't you also ask "why"? If so, you are of the foolish ones according to the traditional understanding.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

www.studyQuran.org

Man of Faith

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 02:48:50 AM »
Peace,

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

While reading this I get the feeling some Quranists are starting to abrogate verses in the Quran purely through wishful thinking.

Some of the Quranists start losing the prayers, even if it is quite clear that we are commanded to pray by standing, bowing and prostrating. The circumstantial evidence is prominent, yet some of our brothers and sisters interpret the verses in strange ways.
Maybe the wish to differentiate with traditional Muslims is so big we fall victim to wishful thinking, interpreting the verses the way our mind wants.

Saying no to Hadith does not mean we should stop obeying God's hadith, in that case we would not even need the Quran. The Quran is a guide, easy to learn (thus also easy to interpret with a clear honest mind) and having access to it is not exclusively a must, but it certainly makes our salvation easier. Believing that Quran is the word of God is required though.

Most important, you can verify it yourselves by reading the Quran, is to believe in God alone, the Hereafter and to be righteous. Righteousness is self-explanatory, every human knows the foundation of being a good person (charity, being helpful, lawful, obedient, patient, kind etc), i.e.
a role-model.

The Qiblah is explained too and is the sacred mosque in Mecca (or Becca). It  was changed during some period to expose hypocrites, but eventually changed back.

May God guide us in the right direction.

ps. I wrote the Basmala because everything I do I try to do in the name of God ds.
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Solomon

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 03:18:18 AM »
Sorry in advance if this has been asked. My question isn't that general though so that's the main reason I made the topic (search didn't help enough).

This isn't really about hajj, but about salat. I can't shake off the feeling aiming a ritual prayer towards (and prostrating towards) the famous Kaaba in Mecca is just made-up. Even supposing this is the actual Kaaba in the Quran, I don't think there's any command to physically pray towards it, let alone prostrate in its direction.

Can someone show me the verse closest to implying we should pray and prostrate towards the Kaaba (the one in Mecca)?

Thanks in advance.

There is a high probability that Muhammad never saw the Kaaba in his life. The earliest mosques do NOT point to Mecca.

http://free-minds.org/forum/index.php?topic=9604866.msg317964#msg317964

GODsubmitter

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 05:06:42 PM »
Peace,

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

While reading this I get the feeling some Quranists are starting to abrogate verses in the Quran purely through wishful thinking.

Some of the Quranists start losing the prayers, even if it is quite clear that we are commanded to pray by standing, bowing and prostrating. The circumstantial evidence is prominent, yet some of our brothers and sisters interpret the verses in strange ways.
Maybe the wish to differentiate with traditional Muslims is so big we fall victim to wishful thinking, interpreting the verses the way our mind wants.

Saying no to Hadith does not mean we should stop obeying God's hadith, in that case we would not even need the Quran. The Quran is a guide, easy to learn (thus also easy to interpret with a clear honest mind) and having access to it is not exclusively a must, but it certainly makes our salvation easier. Believing that Quran is the word of God is required though.

Most important, you can verify it yourselves by reading the Quran, is to believe in God alone, the Hereafter and to be righteous. Righteousness is self-explanatory, every human knows the foundation of being a good person (charity, being helpful, lawful, obedient, patient, kind etc), i.e.
a role-model.

The Qiblah is explained too and is the sacred mosque in Mecca (or Becca). It  was changed during some period to expose hypocrites, but eventually changed back.

May God guide us in the right direction.

ps. I wrote the Basmala because everything I do I try to do in the name of God ds.

I agree with you @Man of Faith!
 :handshake:

It is interesting that the first thing some "revisionists" want to do is to get rid of the contact-prayers... :)

 :peace:
God has no Religion!

God is running everything.

Peace begins with me.

GODsubmitter

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 05:09:25 PM »
There is a high probability that Muhammad never saw the Kaaba in his life. The earliest mosques do NOT point to Mecca.

http://free-minds.org/forum/index.php?topic=9604866.msg317964#msg317964

high probability? ...  ;)

?History would be a wonderful thing ? if it were only true.?

Very well said by L. Tolstoy...

God has no Religion!

God is running everything.

Peace begins with me.

Wakas

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 12:27:07 PM »
peace MofF,


While reading this I get the feeling some Quranists are starting to abrogate verses in the Quran purely through wishful thinking.

Some of the Quranists start losing the prayers, even if it is quite clear that we are commanded to pray by standing, bowing and prostrating. The circumstantial evidence is prominent, yet some of our brothers and sisters interpret the verses in strange ways.
Maybe the wish to differentiate with traditional Muslims is so big we fall victim to wishful thinking, interpreting the verses the way our mind wants.

The Qiblah is explained too and is the sacred mosque in Mecca (or Becca). It  was changed during some period to expose hypocrites, but eventually changed back.


I can understand why you'd say that, but I'm only interested in evidence. You posted zero Quranic evidence.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

www.studyQuran.org

good logic

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 01:33:03 PM »
Peace Wakas.

 Obeying God is part of submission. There are those who see rituals and there are those who do not. It is what you make of these verses ? And how you see redemption?

[Quran 98:5] All that was asked of them was to serve/worship God, devoting the deen/religion absolutely to Him alone, observe Salat and give the Zakat
وَما أُمِروا إِلّا لِيَعبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخلِصينَ لَهُ الدّينَ حُنَفاءَ وَيُقيمُوا الصَّلوٰةَ وَيُؤتُوا الزَّكوٰةَ وَذٰلِكَ دينُ القَيِّمَةِ

[Quran 29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, and observe Salat for the Salat prohibits evil and vice. But the remembrance of God (through Salat) is the most important objective. God knows everything you do.
اتلُ ما أوحِىَ إِلَيكَ مِنَ الكِتٰبِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلوٰةَ إِنَّ الصَّلوٰةَ تَنهىٰ عَنِ الفَحشاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكرُ اللَّهِ أَكبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعلَمُ ما تَصنَعونَ

[Quran 2:183] O you who believe, Sawm is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.
يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذينَ ءامَنوا كُتِبَ عَلَيكُمُ الصِّيامُ كَما كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذينَ مِن قَبلِكُم لَعَلَّكُم تَتَّقونَ

[Quran 3:96] The most important beyt established for the people is the one in Becca; a blessed beacon for all the people.
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنّاسِ لَلَّذى بِبَكَّةَ مُبارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلعٰلَمينَ

[Quran 3:97] In it are clear signs: the Maquam of Abraham. Anyone who enters it shall be granted safe passage. The people owe it to God that they shall observe Hajj to the beyt, when they can do/afford/have the means to... it. As for those who disbelieve, God does not need anyone.
فيهِ ءايٰتٌ بَيِّنٰتٌ مَقامُ إِبرٰهيمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كانَ ءامِنًا وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النّاسِ حِجُّ البَيتِ مَنِ استَطاعَ إِلَيهِ سَبيلًا وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ العٰلَمينَ

[Quran 91:7-10] The soul and Him who created it. Then showed it what is evil and what is good. Successful is one who redeems it. Failing is one who neglects it.
وَنَفسٍ وَما سَوّىٰها   
فَأَلهَمَها فُجورَها وَتَقوىٰها
قَد أَفلَحَ مَن زَكّىٰها
وَقَد خابَ مَن دَسّىٰها
[Quran 22:32] Indeed, those who reverence the rites decreed by God demonstrate the righteousness of their hearts.
ذٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّم شَعٰئِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّها مِن تَقوَى القُلوبِ

[Quran 15:99] And serve/ worship your Lord, in order to attain certainty.
وَاعبُد رَبَّكَ حَتّىٰ يَأتِيَكَ اليَقينُ

May the lord guide our hearts and minds to serve Him by understanding His words and commands.

Peace.


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Wakas

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 03:37:13 AM »
peace gl,

It is what you make of these verses ? And how you see redemption?

I agree it is all about one's interpretation, but I would hope one bases their interpretation on evidence and which option has the most evidence for it etc.

Quran is simple to understand, if one simply goes with the evidence. This is my view. I dont mind if someone has different views to me but I do have a problem if someone claims Quran says XYZ but presents little/no evidence for it.

For example, for someone to say " "salat" means "prayer" in Quran" " but be unable to cite one verse which conclusively proves it is not ideal. Likewise, for someone to say " "sujud" means physical prostration in Quran" " but are unable to cite a verse which conclusively proves it is not ideal.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

www.studyQuran.org

Man of Faith

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Re: Salat & the Kaaba
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 06:09:06 AM »
Peace,

So you mean millions and again millions of people are idiots because they do physical prostration? Is that not proof enough? Besides the Quran enjoins the same ritual, but I will not bother trying to prove something so many have already proven. Believe what you believe and I will believe what I believe.

May God bless you with understanding
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