8th Aralık 2008

Faith, Prayer, Alms, Fasting And Pilgrimage

posted in ENGLISH ISLAM |


There have been no controversial points between sectarians on the questions of God’s unity, compassion, omnipotence, the hereafter and fundamental creeds, exceptions being made of certain heretics in the minority who exalted Ali, son-in-law of Muhammad, or of the incarnation of God in sheikhs. Yet there has been a wide divergence of opinions between the religion propounded in the Quran and the religion preached by sectarians on the issue of God as the unique lawgiver. According to the Quran, the only lawgiver is God, and the Quran embraces the totality of God’s commandments to the believers. The sectarians, however, first dared to represent Muhammad as God’s assistant in the establishment of Islam, later adding the Prophet’s companions, then the sectarian imams and certain sheikhs who were to assume the garb of reference sources. They contributed to the creation of a religious code outside the scope of the Quran. This sounded a discordant note in terms of religious practices. Whether a given act was lawful or not depended on the approval or disapproval of an imam whose opinion was equated with the word of the Quran. For example, God forbade the drinking of blood, the eating of dead animals, adultery and homicide. The sectarian imams added to this list of prohibitions, the consumption of mussels, the chiseling of statues, men’s wearing gold trinkets. The majority of these were supposedly based on hadiths. Thus God’s authority to impose prohibitions was shared by mortals.






ü DAWN PRAYER (Salat Al-Fadjr)

ü EVENING PRAYER (Salat Al-Isha)

















One of the great scandals that took place had to do with faith. Two groups of opponents emerged. According to one, the Quran was a product of creation, while for the other it was eternal. This clash of opinions gave rise to no inconsiderable antagonism between the parties. The Sunnis arrived at a conclusion, according to which the Quran had existed from eternity. The Sunni view that transformed the Quran, the only source of Islam, into one of the numerous reference sources of religion, that dared cancel Quranic verses claiming that on which they had been written were eaten by a goat, displayed its illogicality by attributing the Quran to eternal existence.

Irrelevant additions were made to Islam, those making the additions convinced that they were authorized to perfect it. Among such absurd contentions was, for instance, the question as to whether God’s compassion and grace had existed per se from eternity in God and with God or were created afterward.

Comments made in hadiths that gave the impression that God was not omnipotent caused problems for the various sects but the controversies were eventually ended.. The general public, followers of these sects, has certainly no idea of such hadiths, among which ‘God’s feeling the cold of His finger on the back of the Prophet’ and ‘God’s lighting up paradise by uncovering His calf’ are not only funny but also exceedingly preposterous. Such ‘religious’ considerations have provided the unbelievers with stuff for ridiculing the religion.

The interpolation in the religion of such concepts as ‘agony in the grave,’ and descriptions of hell and paradise outside the context of the Quran and the taking them for a part of the religion should be considered heretical approaches with respect to the hereafter. We must dispose of such unfounded creeds remaining outside the Quran.



Correct interpretation of the prayer commanded to the faithful is of great importance for the Islam of the Quran. The traditionalist mentality conceives that what is preached in the Quran is not sufficient to understand its due performance. This concern of traditionalists demonstrates that they are ignorant of what religion is. One should take care to accept certain principles for oneself and try to conceive it in that framework. Once the source of religion is made clear in the mind, we should try to understand the way to pray, how to keep the fast etc. with reference to it. In other words the way prayer must be performed will be conceived in the light of the knowledge one will draw from that source. One should not attempt to formulate the source in the image of one’s own mind. If one sees any discrepancy between what is practiced and what is actually preached in the Quran, one should do well to understand what is stated in the Quran and not try to change its contents.

Prayer has been described to its minutest detail in the Quran. Yet, this failed to satisfy the commentators who felt themselves compelled to add further details. However, we do not claim that certain things are unlawful. For instance, reciting the Sura Fatiha, the first Sura, the opening chapter of the Quran, in every prayer is not a binding duty, yet doing so is commendable. The error lies in the fact that this obligation was introduced later on and that the Quran did not contain it.

To say that a particular act has not been explicitly stated for the performance of the prayer does not mean that that act is against the Quran. The only thing is that one should know that it is not ordained by God. For instance, the error is not in reciting the verse Fatiha as such, but in saying that its recital whenever one gets up during the prayer is ordained by God. We advise you to pay attention to our comments on this issue as we proceed. Now, the following are the steps one should follow in the performance of the ritual prayer:



Ablution is mentioned in the Quran only as a prerequisite to precede the performance of prayer. Otherwise, there is no requirement for being in ritual purity when one steps in a mosque, for reciting the Quran and for any worship other than salat, the ritual ordained in the Quran. The following two verses mention the ablution one performs before the prayer and the total ritual ablution necessitated after sexual contact. Whatever we are expected to know are then contained in the following two verses.

5/6 – O you who believe, when you rise up for prayer, wash your face and your hands up to the elbows, and rub your head, and your feet till the heels. And if you are in a state of ceremonial impurity (junub) due to sexual contact, then purify yourself. And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have had contact with women and you cannot find water, you shall observe tayammum (dry ablution), by touching the soil, then rubbing your face and hands. God desires not to place a burden on you but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may give thanks.
5 The Feast, 6

4/43 – O you who believe! Go not near prayer when you are intoxicated till you know what you say. Nor after sexual contact without bathing. If you are ill, or on a journey, or come from the privy, or contacted women, and you cannot find water, you shall observe tayammum (dry ablution), by touching soil, then rubbing your face and hands. God is Pardoner, Forgiver. 4 The Women, 43


1) Reason for performing ablution before the prayer and for the total ritual ablution.

We can deduce from the contents of the above verses that both kinds of ablutions are required before performing the salat (ritual prayer), 5 Sura The Feast, 6 states that ablution must be performed before prayers and in 4 The Women, 43 it is made clear that a person who had sexual contact should not perform the prayer unless he/she washed his/her entire body.


2) When to perform the ablution

At the end of each of the above verses it is indicated how to proceed when water necessary for performing the ablution is not available. The state that annuls the canonical purity is made clear: when one has just relieved nature and returning from the gait (Arabic word meaning pit) used for a water-closet or privy; we have avoided using the word ‘bathroom’ where one can perform things other than merely relieving nature. No other act or state can necessitate the renewal of ablution such as bleeding or eating of camel flesh.


3) When to perform the ghusl (total ritual ablution)

Contacting women (coition), the state of junup (denoting in Arabic the state of one who has had a sexual relation) necessitates the entire washing of the body before one can perform the prayer. In no other state is one commanded to take a bath. The word “junub” whose root is “janp” means “togetherness, proximity,” that is sexual contact.


4) How to perform the ablution

In the beginning of Sura 5 The Feast, 6 the manner of performing ablution is described. In the text, the imperative “wash” is followed by direct objects “face and hands up to the elbows,” and the imperative “rub” is followed by direct objects “the head and feet down until the heels.” Were someone to say to you “Wash the bathroom and the kitchen and wipe the hall and the entrance,” you would surely understand that the entrance must be wiped and not washed. Yet, for some reason or other all the Sunnis interpreted the ‘rubbing’ act that preceded the direct object ‘feet’ as ‘washing ’ rather than ‘wiping.’ Nor can we deduce from the order in which the direct objects are quoted the rubbing act as an interim act and that it is reserved solely for the head. For, in the sequence, we have first the face and hands, which is followed by the head before going down to the feet. Therefore the imperative ‘wash’ cannot possible apply to feet. The conventional practice is due to the interpretation of fabricated hadiths. Among the Shiites, for instance, the feet are rubbed by hand according to their hadiths. It is not our aim to refute the hadiths by reference to other hadiths, but to show the contradiction between the sects. Süleyman Ateþ, who draws attention to the fact that many a companion used to rub their feet during the performance of ablution, gives an account of the Arabic version of the act as follows: “God Almighty has commanded us to wash two principal body parts: the face and the arms. The imperative ‘wash’ is followed by direct objects ‘the face and the arms.’ He ordered that the two body parts be rubbed; namely, the head and the feet down to the heels. It follows that the face and the arms are to be washed. Likewise, the two direct objects of the imperative ‘rub’ are the head and the feet. These are then the two body parts to be rubbed. There is a fine point that supports this. The first of the two direct objects following the imperative ‘wash’ refers to a single body part while the second one indicates a pair (i.e. two hands). Likewise, the first of the two direct objects that follow the imperative ‘rub’ refers to a pair (i.e. two feet)” (Süleyman Ateþ, Encyclopedia of the Quran, Vol. 1, Ablution).

While performing the ablution, the face and the arms up until the elbows are washed; the head and the feet up to the heels are wiped. That is all. However, anyone who chooses so may rinse his mouth, wipe the nape of his neck, wash his feet including the heels, while reciting verses or special devotional lines. One thing is certain, all these are not binding. God has made clear the manner the ablution is to be performed.


5) The total ablution (for ceremonial impurity)

We already made it clear that this total ablution is required after sexual contact. Two Arabic words explain what we are supposed to do. In Sura 5 The Feast the word ‘tahara’ means to be cleansed and in Sura 4 The Women the word ‘ghusl’ means to wash. There are no detailed accounts of what one is to do, no such imperatives as ‘wash this part and that part of your body up to this and that level.’ ‘Rinse your mouth three times and clean your nose by inhaling water into your nostrils and blowing it out three times,’ ‘Do not leave a speck of your body unwashed, pour water first over your right shoulder then over your left one.’ Given the fact there are no such indications, one should understand from the verb gasala, merely to wash. The word tahara is cleansing. Anyone who takes a bath is considered to have performed the total ablution. Even a child would understand what the command ‘Wash!’ means. And yet grown people are at a loss to interpret the command, without realizing the fact that their lack of understanding results from their own incapacity to comprehend the bare reality. To compensate for their shortcomings, they blame the Quran and accuse it of insufficiency while referring to books wherein such details are supplied to supplement it.


6) What to do when water is not available

Under normal conditions, the scarcity of water is not a daily occurrence. When exceptionally no water is available, man is told to perform the ablution by tayammum, i.e. rubbing one’s hands with earth and applying them on one’s face and hands.



In Sura 2 The Cow, 144, 149, 150, Muslims are commanded to turn toward Mescidi Haram (Mecca) while performing the prayer. If a performer of prayer cannot properly determine which way to turn, he may still perform his prayer knowing of the omnipresence of God (2 The Cow, 115).



There is no particular prescription for the clothes to wear during the performance of the prayer (salat). A person performing the prayer individually may wear anything. When daily prayers are performed in congregation, a person must wear his/her beautiful apparel (see 7 Purgatory, 31) From 2 The Cow, 125 and 22 The Pilgrimage, 26 it is understood that the place where prayer is performed must be kept clean.



In 4 The Women, 103 it is said: “Prayers are commanded for believers at stated times.” Salat (prayer) is a worship during which the individual is in the presence of God. There is no doubt about the fact that the Quran has indicated the exact times when one is to perform one’s prayer. We are referring to those binding prayers as ordained by God. Salat (ritual prayer) is a praiseworthy prayer. It is a way of turning oneself toward God and remembering Him. In this sense it is a prayer that can be performed any time; however, not every prayer that one can perform is binding. For instance, if he/she so feels, a man/woman may perform salat even at midnight although this is not required of him/her. There is no doubt that the Prophet and his companions did perform prayers at times other than the appointed times. Nevertheless, the traditionalist mentality, ignoring the fact that the only source of religion was the Quran, conceived and declared that some of these prayers were binding, others being sunna. Instead of reverting to the Quran, they preferred to emulate the companions of the Prophet and of those near him. According to the Sunnis the number of times that a man shall perform the salat is 5; namely, before the break of dawn, at noon, in the afternoon, in the evening and at night. On the other hand, for the Shiites this number is three. In former times this number had been two or three among the Kharidjis.

The prayers that have not been explicitly indicated in the Quran may well have been performed by the Prophet himself, the Caliphs or the Shiis. It is certainly commendable that one prays outside the appointed hours, but they should not be considered as binding. The error is partly due to the misinterpretation of hadiths. Now we are going to discuss the names and the hours of performance of salats as declared “binding” in the Quran.



DAWN PRAYER (Salat Al-Fadjr)

The Arabic word salat means ‘to establish a link (with one’s Creator).’ Used together with the word ‘ikama’ for performing the ritual prayer. The dawn prayer is mentioned in Sura 24 The Light, 58 with the name al-fadjr. The word al-fadjr means the time from daybreak until the rise of the sun. The time is referred to in the following Sura:

11/114 – And keep up prayer at the two extremities of the day at the approach of the night. Surely good deeds take away evil deeds.
11 Hud, 114

The Arabic word nahari means day and layl night; tarafayn nahari means the two extremities of the day. On the other hand taraf means side, end, extremity, contiguity. What is meant then is the dawn and the sunset which comprise the early morning and the evening prayers. To make it clearer the expression ‘zulafan minal-layl’ (at the approach of the night) is used to signify the time portion in which night is bordering on the day.

The dawn prayer is mentioned in Sura 24 The Light, 58 in which also the time of prayer is indicated. The time is also referred to in Sura Hud, 114. In other words the time for the morning prayer is the time that extends from the first rays of the day until the rise of the sun.




It is mentioned in Sura 24 The Light, 58 that the word isha means the time extending from sunset until the darkness sets in. The same word is also mentioned in the 12th sura, verse 16, and the 79th sura verse 46.

24/58 – O you who believe! Permission must be requested by your dependants and those who have not yet reached the age of puberty. On three occasions: before dawn prayer, at noon when you change your clothes and after the evening prayer. These are your three times of undress. 24 The Light, 58

Some translators interpreted the evening prayer as late-night prayer. The reason may have been the disrobing of persons when they are back home from the last prayer of the day they have performed. However, the word “isha” means clearly the evening time. Therefore the expressions “night prayer” or “late-night prayer” are not correct.

The times for the dawn prayer and the evening prayer are foreseen in Sura 11 Hud, 114. When one of the prayers is performed at dawn the other will be the prayer performed symmetrically in the evening. The time of the evening prayer is the approach of the night, too. Moreover, there is another verse that refers to the time of the evening prayer:

17/78 – You shall observe prayer at the decline of the sun till the darkness of the night and the recital of the Quran at dawn. Surely the recital of the Quran at dawn is witnessed. 17 The Children of Israel, 78

The expression the “declining of the sun” (duluk ul-shams) means, of course, the sunset. So the time extending from sunset until the darkness sets in is the time during which one can perform one’s prayer. It is interesting to note that the time of dawn is also stressed along with the evening prayer in the continuation of the verse. The reciting of the Quran at dawn also seems to be considered important.

The times indicated for prayers are inherent in the names of the prayers, i.e. the dawn prayer and the evening prayer. Moreover, the times for prayers are foreseen in 11 Hud, 114. In 24 The Light, 58 the fact that the dawn prayer is the first prayer and the evening prayer is the last prayer is implied.




It is stated in the Quran:

2/238 – Guard the prayers and the middle (the most excellent) prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah. 2 The Cow, 238

There are no other verses indicating the times for prayers other than the verses in which the times for the dawn prayer and the evening prayer are indicated, and the above verse. With the one being at one side, the other at the other side of the day, the salat al wusta must take place between these prayers. Given the fact that in all cultures the day is the time that man wakes up and the night is for the night rest, this salat is to be performed during the day. (In 17 The Children of Israel, 79, the midnight prayer was commanded only to the Prophet.)

According to another view, the word wusta also means “the most excellent” and does not refer to a salat particularly, but to keeping the prayers and performing them in the most excellent manner. The word wusta is also mentioned in the following suras: 2 The Cow, 143; 5 The Feast, 89; 68 The Pen, 28 and 100 The Gallopers, 5. An examination of it in these contexts will reveal the true meaning of the expression.

As one can see, there is no mention of salat performed five times a day. Nor is it made clear what is to be recited during the performance of prayer, while bowing or prostrating. Even we do not encounter any indication in the hadiths whether a prayer should be long or short. Many particulars came to be formed by the private opinions of the sectarians. There are a great number of hadiths about the Prophet’s performing prayers of long and short duration. The sectarians have limited the act that had been left to the discretion of the individual and compelled their imitators to act likewise. It is clear in the Quran that there are no particular verses dictated by the Quran to be recited during certain phases of the prayer, whether standing, bowing or seated. As a matter of fact, had the hadiths been correctly interpreted, the conclusion would not have differed. The sects have overcrowded the requirements of prayers with their own inventions.

On the other hand, one cannot derive from the hadiths the traditional five times of the prayer. There are some hadiths proving the Prophet keeping the number of times to three. The Shiites for instance, who perform the salat three times a day, relate the fact to their own body of hadiths. The Shiite attempt at combining the five times into three may have originated from the idea of a compromise of the two schools. Nowhere in the Quran do we come across an expression for combining the prayers. It is clear that the binding prayers are those ordered in the Quran. What makes a prayer performed on time is its being executed at the apportioned time and not the number of bowings or prayers recited in the course of it. Like the Shiites, the Sunni sects Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali have tolerated the combining of the prayer times. Some thought that this should be left to the discretion of the individual, and for some, to certain special circumstances.

However; for, anybody who feels like performing it more than a certain number of prayers, may well go ahead. The determination of the number of prayer times at five is the suggestion of the Sunni sects. Had the number been really 5, the fact should have explicitly been stated in the Quran. Considering that in Sura 17 The Children of Israel, 79 a special midnight prayer had been commanded for the Prophet only, if God so desired He would certainly have laid down the times of prayers to five. The conventional performance of prayers at other times, like in the afternoon and late at night, the exact time of which is uncertain, has ended by imposing them as binding with a view to putting into an order the acts of remembering God and repeating His name. To make the times of these prayers a binding duty is unacceptable.

30/17 – So glory be to Allah when you enter the evening and when you enter the morning.

30/18 – And to Him be praise in the heavens and the earth, and at the time of noon. 30 The Romans, 17-18



The minimum number or prayers has been indicated; however, but the number of prayers that can be performed is not limited. It may be five or more. Those who witnessed the performances of the Prophet’s companions at other times as well (for instance, in the afternoon and at night) ended by declaring them also binding. Were we to deduce from the habits of certain people the number of times one should pray, there would be many more salats supposedly commanded like the evvabin, kushluk and kusuf prayers. In conclusion, the number of times is stated in the Quran and it must be considered a principle. God has left no missing part in His Book.

As a matter of fact, the pilgrims perform the salat three times a day. Considering that minute particulars are stated in the Quran about the requirements for the performance of the ritual (including what a person who had to have his hair trimmed should do), why is there no mention of anything anywhere in the Quran about the shortening of the number of prayers during the pilgrimage? Had the number commanded been five, why is it not stated so?



The fact that the number of times of the salat foreseen to be performed was not five and the traditional performance of the supplemental prayers in the afternoon and at night were not binding had already been advocated by the Kharidjies and the members of the religious school, Mutezila. Those who tried to prove that the number of times that salat was to be performed in the course of a day was five had also concocted a fabricated hadith according to which, as we have already said, the Prophet, during his ascension to the presence of the Almighty, receives the message that the number of prayers is fifty. Whereupon, the Prophet, on his way back, runs across Moses who finds the number too high and advises him to refer to God so that He may make a reduction in the said number. Upon request, God reduces the number. But Moses, still not satisfied with the result, asks him to go and renew his plea, which he does. After many such comings and goings the number is reduced to five, at which the Prophet is reluctant to go any further despite the fact that Moses insists on it. According to this hadith, it appears that God is incapable of assessing the potential of man and the Prophet is an ignoramus, while Moses proves to be his advisor and the regulator of God’s schemes and the savior of the Muslim community. The conclusive evidence of the number 5 is based therefore on this fabricated hadith. The fact that there are hadiths dating prior to the ascent to heaven of the Prophet that say that the number of prayer times was but two, one in the dawn and one at evening (see Bukhari) is evidence that the number had been augmented following the ascent. If that had been the case and the number was two, why then does the Quran not mention that the number had been brought up to five afterward? One might assert only that the ‘middle prayer’ had been added afterward as stated in Sura The Cow, 238. Why are the afternoon and night prayers not clearly indicated in the Quran?



Salat is performed with a view to remembering God (20 Taha, 14). However, it is performed in stated times and on a clean state, i.e. having performed ablution. It is a prayer performed even when there is a war going on.

4/102 – When you are with them, and stand to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up with you, taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up which has not yet prayed and let them pray with you… 4 The Women, 102

It appears that salat existed even from the time of Abraham (14 Abraham, 40). Even the heathen people who had captured the Kaaba, where Abraham used to pray, performed the ritual prayer, though in a strayed fashion (8 The Spoils of War, 35). The habit to pray had been abandoned afterward because of the lust of past generations.19/59 – But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts; soon, then, will they face destruction.
19 Mary, 59

The salat involves three main acts: namely, kýyam (standing up), ruku (bowing) and suju (prostration). Although there is no mention in the Quran about the obligation to recite it while performing the salat, we are told that the Quran is described as a remembrance (zikr) of God. This is an indication that in performing the salat the Quran is our guide. His compassion, beneficence, grace, creation of hell and paradise, among other things, and omniscience are all mentioned in the Quran. In performing the salat we are not obliged to recite the Quran in the Arabic language. While there is not even the mention of the obligation to recite the verses of the Quran, how are we to deduce that what is to be recited should be in Arabic, since a person who keeps on repeating words he has learned by memory is unable to concentrate on the words his lips pronounce? In this way, the automatic repetition of verses in a language other than one’s own risk having their meaning lost. You may have witnessed many performers of the salat confess to have been thinking about other things while their lips kept repeating the words learned by heart.4/43 – O you who believe! Approach not prayers while intoxicated until you can understand all that you say… 4 The Women, 43

The above verse indicates the importance of a clear mind during the salat in which God’s name is to be pronounced and the individual is obliged to understand what he is saying. If understanding is important, how can a man, who speaks no Arabic, understand what he is reciting? What difference can there be between a person whose mind is clear reciting verses the meaning of which he does not understand and the intoxicated whose mind is clouded?

The Quran commands man to ask for help from God with patience (2 The Cow, 45). How can a man who performs his salat not, in his vernacular, ask for help from God? Do those who are against the performance of salat in one’s own tongue not prevent the fulfilment of this command? All the minor formal details in the performance of the salat may be duly obeyed, but real communication of the individual between him and his God is thus hampered due to Arabophilia. To summarize:

1) During the salat one praises God, therefore one’s consciousness must be clear (20 Taha, 14).
2) Salat requires pious reverence and awe (23 The Believers, 2).
3) Salat restrains a person from evil deeds (29 The Spider, 45).

Praying in one’s vernacular is essential for the establishment of communication between the individual and his Creator. If you accept the fact that not everybody can learn the Arabic language, praying in one’s tongue becomes indispensable.

72/18 – The places of worship are for God, so invoke not any one along with God. 72 Jinn, 18

It is worth remembering that help is asked only from God and not from prophets, from so-called awliya (saints) and from the departed.



There is no concept of rakat in the Quran. Had God so wanted He would have indicated the number of rakats during the salat. Rakat is the unit of prayer consisting of kýyam (standing), ruku (bowing) and suju (prostrating). Now the number of times expected to be repeated during a salat are in general practice as follows: at the Morning Prayer, two rakats, at the noon prayer, four rakats and at the evening prayer, three rakats. These numbers may also be interpreted to mean ‘any number of times a person wishes to perform.’ It is clear that these numbers have again been set down by sectarians as a binding duty. The companions and the Prophet himself may have performed a definite number of rakats, especially during congregational prayers just to render the ritual uniform so as to avoid confusion. Likewise, certain acts during prayer like raising one’s hands to one’s ears before starting the prayer, saluting by turning one’s head to the right and to the left, and in certain sectarian practices, to slap one’s knees to indicate the end of the salat are in this category. These acts may be performed, as there is nothing against them in the Quran. But to transform them into binding requirements is wrong. A person may perform a salat consisting of ten rakats in three minutes while another may perform a salat consisting of just one rakat for hours on end. There is no reason indicated for the importance of the number of rakats. God has not compelled us to count the number of rakats during the prayer.

Some have deduced from the indication that there is nothing wrong with shortening the duration of salat during wartime as mentioned in Verses 101, 102, 103 of Sura The Women that the salat should be performed at least in two rakats. “Given the fact that a shortened prayer consists of one rakat, the entire prayer should be of two rakats.” They bring as evidence to this the following facts: as the Prophet led two congregations, two rakats were performed in all. We are of the opinion that shortening of prayer does not entail the reduction of the number of rakats but of the duration of the prayer. A salat of one rakat may last hours while a salat of two rakats may take less than a minute. The shortening does not refer to the reduction in the number of rakats but in the duration of the prayer. In war the damage that the enemy may inflict is related not to the number of rakats but to the duration of the prayer. As we have already noted there is no mention of rakats in the Quran. The reason why we reckon a prayer in terms of rakats must be due to our conventional habits. The expression ‘la junahoun’ in the Quran in Sura 4 The Women, 103 translated as ‘There is no blame’ is also used elsewhere to dispel the anxiety of Muslims. For instance, in Sura 2 The Cow, 198 the same expression is used to indicate that the pilgrims may freely circle Safa and Marva. Even in the absence of this verse there would have been no obstacle for the circling by the Muslims of these areas. Likewise, with reference to the shortening of the salat, the question is to indicate that there is no inconvenience in doing so. Otherwise, there is no verse indicating the duration. It may be that Muslims have felt uneasy to have performed the salat shorter in wartime and that they were comforted by this expression. In Sura 2 The Cow, 198 also the expression ‘la junahun’ is used meaning that it is no sin to seek the bounty of the Lord.

Logically speaking the number of rakats cannot possibly contribute to the essence of salat. The name of God is not recited more when the number of rakats is more. A person may spend longer time during a rakat and repeat the name of God as many times as he thinks fit. Those, who limited the number of rakats, thought that the same salat must not be repeated more than once they thus limited the times that God’s name was to be recited. So, God has left to the discretion of the individual to choose the number of rakats he will perform.



The prayers recited during the salat must be not too loud nor said to oneself.

17/110 – Do not utter your salat (prayers) too loudly, nor secretly; you shall use a moderate tone. 17 The Children of Israel, 110



The verses that refer to this salat are as follows:

62/9 – O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the day of Congregation) hasten earnestly to the remembrance of God and leave off business that is best for you if you but knew!

62/10 – And when the prayer is finished then you may spread through the land and seek of the bounty of God. And continue to remember God frequently that you may succeed.

62/11 – When some of them come across a business deal, or some entertainment, they rush to it and leave you standing! Say “What God possesses is far better than entertainment or the business. God is the best provider. “ 62 The Congregation, 9-11

From the above we understand that:

1 – Friday, (the day of congregation) is the day of assembly and when the call to prayer is heard man must abandon his work and proceed to perform the congregational prayer;

2 – It is clear that the time set for it is during the working hours, between the morning (fajr) and the evening (isha) prayers.

3 – Upon the conclusion of the prayer everybody goes back to his work; so it is not a holiday.

4 – It must be performed in congregation, unlike the other salats that can be performed individually.

5 – No distinction is made for man or woman. (Not even in the hadiths can one come across such a prohibition.) The Ommayads and Abbasids invented the rumor that the Friday prayer is for men only.



Verses 101, 102 and 103 of the Sura The Women describe the prayer to be performed during a war.

In such an eventuality, while one group performs the prayer, another group will be on the watch. The praying individuals shall not abandon their weapons (weapons may be set aside during torrential rains, sickness, wounding); at the end of the prayer the name of God is pronounced.



2/239 – If you fear to pray while walking or riding, but when you are in security, remember God in the manner He has taught you, which you knew not before. 2 The Cow, 239

This shows clearly that the prayer must be made at the appointed times regardless of the circumstance.



Although there is no particular prescription for the performance of salat before the coffin of a dead person, in Verse 84 of Sura The Repentance it is indicated that no salat must be performed for traitors who betrayed Muhammad. Therefore we must deduce that salat may be performed at the funerals for persons who did not betray Muhammad.



There is no prescribed call to prayer in the Quran. Whenever a congregational service is to be held, as in the case of Friday prayer, it is only too natural that a call be proclaimed (62 The Congregation, 9). As the manner the call is to be made has not been described, the call may be made either in one’s own tongue or in Arabic, whether by human (man or woman) voice or through loudspeakers.

There is no mention of call to prayer dictated by the Prophet following a revelation. According to the hadiths, those who came to pray too early complained of having been obliged to abandon work and the latecomers of having missed the congregational performance. Various suggestions were made to find a middle course. Following a dream (see Abu Davud as Sunan), the human voice gained precedence. According to another hadith, Bilal has added on his own initiative, the words ‘As-salatu hayrun Minan Nawm’ (prayer is more favorable than sleep) to the call to prayer for the dawn prayer. It follows from this that the call to prayer could be executed according to circumstances, as it was not a binding duty commanded by the Quran. We have been saying that whatever is not dictated by the Quran is left to the discretion of the individual. The reason why we have thought it advisable to remind our readers of this fact since traditionalist Islamists have maintained that the call to prayer cannot be in the vernacular but must be in the Arabic language. Actually this is the expression of their own idea (true or not) without any foundation in religion. Something is certain; the call to prayer has not been revealed and is left to the discretion of the individual.



103 – Once you complete your salat (prayer), you shall remember God while standing, sitting or lying down on your side. 4 The Women, 103

God should also be remembered after the performance of salat. As foreseen in the Sura The Women, 103, individuals have developed the habit of remaining seated after the conclusion of the prayer to remember God. This is all very well. But we must remember this is not a binding duty and we are free to remember God also in other postures.



The Quran describes the contribution for God’s approval using various expressions, such as alms, charity or “feeding of the poor” (74 The Hidden, 44); “who strive with their goods” (4 The Women, 95).

Although we have been told to use part of our assets for the benefit of the poor, nowhere in the Quran do we come across the prescription of a definite amount like 1/40. It was the sects that had determined this rate. However, this corresponded to cash in gold or silver. According to the assets involving camels, sheep etc. the rates differed. For instance the rate of the crop was 1/10. If the water you use to irrigate your field was brought from somewhere else the rate fell to 1/20. All these rates are not mentioned in the Quran. It is worth while to make a note of the fact that the said rates are irrational. Why should a person who is a possessor of gold and silver give 1/40 of his assets while a farmer gives 1/10 of his assets? Are farmers richer than the possessor of accumulated wealth? Or is farming a more lucrative source of income than commerce? How are the rates for possessors of camels and sheep evaluated, and in what do these differ?

The word infak is mentioned in the Quran, which means both to spend for God’s sake and for spendings destined for other purposes:

8/36 – The unbelievers spend (infak) their wealth to hinder from the path of God and so will they continue to spend. 8 The Spoils of War, 36

On the other hand, the word sadaqa (alms, charity) is used only for spendings made for God’s sake.

9/103 – Of their goods take alms (sadaqa) that you may cleanse and purify (zaka) them 9 Repentance, 103

Here the Arabic words sadaqa and zaka seem to be synonyms, spendings made in the path of God signifying purification. While we can equate the sadaka (charity) with zekat (alms), we can also interpret the zekat in broader terms. In this sense, zekat would mean a purification to which all our potentialities would contribute. An individual can make donations of all his assets and perform thereby the duty commanded to him while he can at the same time perform this duty by enabling others to benefit from his store of knowledge. The Quran makes the following statement about the persons to whom one may donate one’s assets.

2/177 – For your relatives, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask and for the ransom of slaves. 2 The Cow, 177

2/115 – They ask you what they should spend (infak). Say: “Whatever you spend that is good, is for parents and relatives and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers, and whatever you do that is good. God knows it well.” 2 The Cow, 115

2/173 – For those in need, who are engaged in the service of God, who are not able to move about in the land. The unaware may think that they are rich due to their dignified appearance. You can know them from their faces, they beg not importunately. God is surely cognisant of good things that you spend (infak). 2 The Cow, 173

9/60 – Alms (sadaqa) shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, those hearts that have been recently reconciled, those in bondage, those in debt, in the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. Such is God’s commandment. God is all-knowing and most wise.
9 Repentance, 60

The persons to receive alms are indicated. The amount or the rate is not mentioned with a mathematical proportion in the Quran, but it is said:

2/219 – And they ask you what they should spend (infak). Say “What you denote.” God thus clarifies His signs, in order that you may consider.
2 The Cow, 219

In the Quran the portion to be spent as alms (zekat) is not expressed in ratios, like 1/40, 1/10, etc. In some translated versions the expression used is “excess,” and “beyond your needs.” In the Arabic version the word used is afw, of which the literal meaning is “pardon, forgiving.” What is actually meant however is donation. Those who are interested in further possible significations of this word are referred to the following verses: 2 The Cow, 187; 3 The Family of Imran, 152-155; 5 The Feast, 95-10;, 9 Repentance, 43; 42 Consultation, 40; 64 Mutual Blaming, 14.

The Quran condemns stinginess and commands that we give to our kind what He has made a gift of to us for His sake. The Quran makes private property lawful but commands man to use his intelligence to bring about social balance by freely giving away what He has provided us with. The Quran teaches us that the poor have rights to our assets (Sura 70 The Heights, 24-25) and that by giving to them a portion of our assets we purify (zekat) ourselves.

16/7 – God has favored some of you over others in the means of subsistence. But those who have been favored with more do not give of their means to their dependents so that they may become equal with them. Do they deny God’s beneficence? 16 The Honey Bees, 7

9/34 – O you who believe! There are indeed many among the rabbis and priests who in falsehood devour the substance of people and hinder them from the way of God. 9 Repentance, 34

The person who will dispose of his assets for God’s sake shall not forget that the real owner of his assets is God. He will bear in mind all the verses to this effect in the Quran and perform this devotional act. As one can deduce from the above quoted verses, this donation will continue until everybody becomes socially equal to each other.

Is it worthwhile to note that we should take care that our charities are not intercepted by swindler religionists. In this devotional scheme everybody will make his contribution suiting his relative standing.

65/7 – Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted let him spend according to what God has given him. God puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. 65 Divorce, 7

God ordains that our spending in the way of contributions may be both open and concealed, although He prefers the latter alternative.

13/22 – And spend of what We have given them, secretly or openly.
13 The Thunder, 22

2/271 – If you give alms openly, it is well. But if you do it secretly and give to the poor, that is better. 2 The Cow, 271

However a man giving alms must not show off.

2/262 – Those who spend their substance in the cause of God and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

263 – Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity that hurts. God is Rich, Kind.

264 – O you who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their substance only to show off, but believe neither in God nor in the Last Day.
2 The Cow, 262-263-264

Fabricators of principles have laid down a rule according to which in order that alms are given, an asset must have remained for at least a year in the possession of a person. Most of the rich people, owners of holdings, never let their riches lie idle but keep them running. Considerations like ‘debtors are not supposed to give alms,’ or ‘no alms should be given from raw material used in the production process’ are not valid, for holding owners and factory owners who produce on a credit basis will not be obliged to give any alms while the housewife who has on her arms golden bracelets will have to give away 1/40 of them and the farmer 1/10 of his harvest. According to another interpretation of traditionalists, no alms are supposed to be given for transportation means. That means a person owning a luxury car will be exempted from alms while the farmer who gathers 10 kg of tomatoes will have to give away one kg. All this remains outside the context of the Quran.

3/92 – By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give of that which you love and whatever you give God is fully aware thereof.
3 The Family of Imran, 92


The following verses contain everything about the prescribed fast:

2/183 – O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you. That you may learn self-restraint.

2/184 –For a fixed number of days, Iif one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who have difficulty to do it should compensate by feeding a poor person. But it is better for person who gives more of his own free will,. And it is better for you that you fast, if you only knew.

2/185 – Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, as guidance to man, also as clear proof and a standard. Those of you who witness this month shall fast. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes convenience, not hardship for you, so that you may complete prescribed period, and to glorify God for guiding you, and be grateful.

2/187 – Permitted to you on the night of the fasts is the approach to your wives, they are your garments and you are their garments. God knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves; but he turned to you and forgave you. So now approach to them, and seek what God has ordained for you. Eat and drink until you can discern a white thread from a black thread by the dawn. Then complete your fast till the night appears. 2 The Cow, 183, 184, 185, 187


To summarize:

1. Fasting is a binding duty (2 The Cow, 183).

2. Fasting is kept in the month of Ramadan (2 The Cow, 185); Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed. Ramadan is a calendar month. The whole thing may be calculated by observation of the movements of the moon. However, today we do not have to observe the phases of the moon since they are observed with modern instruments.

3. Those who cannot keep the fast for reasons of health or travel may break their fast and compensate for it later (2 The Cow, 184). It is worth mentioning here that there is no evidence in the Quran about a man’s obligation to fast for 61 days should he break his fast without justification. This is an fabricated story concocted by hadiths and sects. There are certain cases, however, in which a fast must be kept as a retribution;.namely, with reference to certain shortcomings in the performance of the Hajj (2 The Cow, 196), like the two months fasting for having caused, by mistake, the death of a believer, and for having failed to emancipate a believing slave (4 The Women, 92). In Sura 5 The Feast, 89 it is foreseen for those who have broken their oath to keep the fast as an expiation; the same thing is mentioned in Sura 5 The Feast, 95 with reference to those who kill game while on pilgrimage. In Sura 58 The Female Disputant, 4, two months of successive fasting has been foreseen for those who put down their wives by calling them their mothers or sisters. One can see that for the expiation of certain offenses fasting is ordained. Had there been a punishment for breaking one’s fast on purpose, the Quran would have mentioned it. Moreover, among the offenses mentioned above, the probability of the occurrence of some is infinitesimal.

4. The individuals who would have difficulty in keeping the fast are commanded to effect redemption by feeding a poor man. Certain sectarians tried to restrict the state of ‘difficulty in keeping the fast’ to such excuses as old age or incurable diseases. Such interpretations are again interpolations in God’s commands. Had God so desired He would have made such a restriction Himself. Muslims are expected to assess their situations keeping in mind God’s proximity to them and will remember that fasting is better as laid down in Sura 2 The Cow, 185.

5. The time to begin fasting is daybreak. The indication is the discernment by the eye of a white thread from a black one; the simile is said to have its origin in the semblance of the horizon as a thread. The end of the fasting is the end of the day as stated in Sura The Cow, 187.

6. Husbands may approach their wives at night time during the month of Ramadan (2 The Cow, 187). Fasting without eating or drinking anything and being abstinent in sexual intercourse are commanded upon us during the time in the course of which the fasting is a binding duty. Bleeding, vomiting, swearing, quarreling reported to invalidate a fast have no justifiable grounds, they are fabrications.



The Hajj is described in the following verses: 2 The Cow, 158, 189, 196, 198, 199, 200 and 203; 3 The Family of Imran, 97; 5 The Feast, 1, 2, 95, 96, 97; 9 Repentance, 3; 22 The Pilgrimage, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29.To summarize:

1 – Hajj is the pilgrimage to the Kaaba. According to the Quran men and women have to perform the Hajj at least once in the course of their lifetime provided they are able to do so. (3 Ali Imran, 97). Those who can afford it are commanded to go on pilgrimage. Sectarians tried to restrict the meaning of ‘affording’. This is unacceptable; for, had He wanted to do so God would have made that restriction. The verb ‘to afford’ may have more than one meaning, such as ‘not to be a slave’, ‘to be rich enough to bear the cost involved’ and last but not least ‘to be in good health.’ Yet all these meanings are rather subjective. Individuals are to decide whether they are in a position to perform the pilgrimage by appealing to their conscience.

2 – The Hajj is a ritual dating back to the time of Abraham (22 The Pilgrimage, 26, 27).

3 – In Sura 2 The Cow 197 it is said that the months of pilgrimage are well known. Attention must be drawn to the fact that the word ‘months’ is in plural. Yet, in our day, the pilgrims restrict the time during which they will perform the pilgrimage and create stampedes with serious consequences. The pilgrimage is a custom known since Abraham. When one speaks of spring, the months of March, April and May come to mind, for instance. The said months of pilgrimage were also the months during which fighting was banned. Tribes around the Kaaba observed this ban. Even the heathens that succeeded Abraham kept observing this custom with a few exceptions and considered themselves as the protector of the Kaaba. They viewed those months as months when their trade would thrive. We can deduce from the contents of Sura 8 The Spoils of War, 34-35 that they considered themselves guardians as well. The fact that the sacred months mentioned in Sura 2 The Cow, 194 (after two verses, the Hajj is mentioned), the fact that fighting in the sacred months is a great offense mentioned in Sura 2 The Cow 217 in which it also is made clear that hindering from God’s way and denying Him and the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out are still graver with God, the fact that in the Sura 5 The Feast, 2 pilgrimage is mentioned, together with the Sacred Month, and the fact that in Verse 97 of the same sura, the Sacred Month and the Kaaba are mentioned together make it clear that the Sacred Months are the months during which the Hajj is performed.

In Sura 9 Repentance, 2-36 we read that the months in question are four successive months and in Sura 2 The Cow, 189 that the said months are lunar months. All this points to the fact that the pilgrimage can be performed in the course of four successive months during which fighting is banned. The first of these months is called in Arabic ‘Dhu-l-Hijjah’ which means the ‘month of pilgrimage.’ The names of the following months, respectively, are ‘Muharram, Safar and Rabiulawal.’ The word Rabiulawal is a compound word made up of the word rabiul (four) and awal (first) which is followed by the month called Rabiulahir which means the succeeding four. Rabiulawal owes its name to its being the fourth and last of the Sacred Months. Considering that the first month of the lunar calendar is Muharram, the month called Rabiulahir is the fourth month of the lunar calendar. This explains why the name of this month is the ‘succeeding fourth one.’ If one fails to see that the month Rabiulawal is the fourth of the Sacred Months, one cannot see clearly why the month Rabiulahir is the ‘succeeding’ fourth. This proves once more that the beginning of the Sacred Months is Dhu-li Hijjah and the last is the month of Rabiulawal. Thus, the pilgrimage is a devotional act performed in the space of time of four months.

4 – Quarreling, the perpetration of evil deeds and sexual relations are forbidden during the Hajj (2 The Cow, 197),

5 – During the Hajj the individual is forbidden certain things that are lawful (like sexual intercourse). . Ihram means, in fact, that the individual abstains from certain things (like sexual contact) during the pilgrimage. However, the word refers today to the garment that the pilgrim wears during the Hajj. The Quran has no such connotation. One other thing that is prohibited during the Ihram is hunting; Sura 5 The Feast, 95 mentions that the pilgrims shall not kill game. However, this is restricted to hunting on land. Pilgrims may go fishing. To whomever kills game intentionally, the compensation is the like of what he kills from the cattle, as two just persons will judge, as an offering to be brought to the Kaaba, or the compensation is the feeding of the poor or the equivalent in fasting (5 The Feast, 95).

6 – In case an individual infringes on the law that prohibits the land hunt, he has to offer a sacrifice the kind of which is to be determined by two persons. He may also compensate for his offence by keeping the fast or feeding the poor (5 The Feast, 95).

7- Umra means ‘visit.’ The hajj is performed at a prescribed date while umra may take place at any time. In Sura 2 The Cow, 196 we read ‘Accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for God.’ In other words, the event must not be an occasion of political propaganda, exploitation of personal interests, etc. Following the conclusion of the ritual of pilgrimage the pilgrim makes sacrifices and is commanded not to shave his heads until the offering reaches its destination. The individuals who are sick or have an ailment of the head may effect compensation by fasting or giving alms or sacrificing. And when he is secure, whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage should take whatever offering is easy to obtain. If he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return. This is for those whose household is not in the Sacred Mosque (2 The Cow, 196).

8 – The sacrifice requires the pronunciation of the name of God. A portion of the meat of the slaughtered animal is eaten by the person making the sacrifice, and the rest is distributed among the poor (22 The Pilgrimage, 28). During the ritual one must purify oneself from all pollution, and vows made must have been performed (22 Hajj, 29). Sura 22 The Pilgrimage, 29 says that the individual should accomplish his needful acts of cleansing. The Hajj being the place of encounter of huge crowds, the hygienic rules must be observed. Sura 48 The Victory, 27 may be evaluated in this light wherein it is said that the faithful will enter the Sacred Mosque, if God pleases, in security, head shaved and hair cut short. The circling of the Kaaba will be accomplished in a cleansed state (22 The Pilgrimage, 29). On the other hand, the place where the pilgrimage ritual is to take place must be kept clean and in a pure state (22 The Pilgrimage, 26).

9 – When one comes down from Mount Arafat to Mesai Haram, God will be praised (2 The Cow, 198).

10 – Then pardon will be asked for from God (2 The Cow, 199).

11 – Following the completion of the ritual, God will be praised with heart and soul (2 The Cow, 200).

12 – God will be praised during the appointed days. But if anyone hastens to leave in two days, there is no blame on him. And whoever wants can stay longer (2 The Cow, 203).

13 – Sura 2 The Cow, 159 says that the Safa and Marwah are truly among the signs of God; so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit to it, there is no blame on him if he goes round them. Yet, the sectarians have fabricated the running between the two hills and made it appear as a binding duty. The elderly and the disabled are compelled to do this despite the fact that this is not mentioned in the Quran. The transportation of the elderly on stretchers serves to benefit the stretcher-bearers. However, although this is not commanded, there is no blame for those who would prefer to do it as the Quran suggests.

14 – There is no such thing as the stoning of Satan. The execution of the duty of pilgrimage in the space of time that is spread over four months, the recognition of the fact that shuttling between Safa and Marwah is not compulsory will make the ritual of pilgrimage a safe and secure act during which thousands of people will not lose their lives. This has been a cause of the death of multitudes. Strange rituals performed around the Black Stone also are not indicated in the Quran. On the other hand, contrary to what has been said by commentators, a woman may well go on the Hajj by herself, a person may use perfume and wear any appearal with or without seams. The zamzam water, caps and prayer rugs that the pilgrims on their return are said to be obliged to bring home have no foundation. http://www.quranic.org/quran_article/36/faith_prayer_alms_fasting_and_pilgrimage.htm

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