Glorifying God is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Supreme Power, the Sacred, the Almighty, and the Judge. (62:1)

In addition, everything that exists in the universe and the earth is observing its Sol-laa. It knows how to uphold its Sol-laa without the aid of prophets or messengers.

Do you not see that God is glorified by everything in the heavens and the earth as well as the birds in their flight? Surely every one of them knows its own commitments (Sol-laa-ta-hu) and glorification. God knows what they do. (24:41)

Glorifying Him are the seven heavens and the earth and everything in them. There is nothing that does not praise His Glory, but you do not understand their glorification. He is Clement, Forgiver. (17:44)

The verse clearly says that there is nothing that does not praise His glory. This means all the celestial planets in the sky; the wind, the electro-magnetic forces, and everything in existence beyond human’s comprehension are praising the glory of God all the time. For various reasons people were led to believe that they are required to bow and prostrate physically to God.

Here, the religionists have overstretched themselves. They would have us believe that the word sujud in the Reading means prostrate. However, a logical investigation into uses of this word and the cross reference of similar words with the same root in associated verses show that the word sujud does not – and can not – refer to physical prostration. Sujud simply means being in a state of subservience.

God says everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him and they are doing their Sol-laa including the birds in their flights. These creatures exist as nations like us- but we don’t see them glorifying and doing their Sol-laa through organised religion. This is how God teaches people about His Book making His message clear.

The Sol-laa shuffle

In this post I will demonstrate how one simple but crucial word from the Reading has been manipulated. As we have seen, Arabic words derive their vocabulary from roots. These can be a bilateral, trilateral or quadrilateral cluster of consonants from which words are formed. The derivatives are, in most cases, constructed in accordance with established vocalic moulds or patterns to which certain prefixes, infixes or suffixes are added. This is the basic foundation of the Arabic grammar.

Theoretically, the roots may be formed from any set of consonants in the language with an addition of a short vowel ‘a’, ‘i’ or ‘u’ after each consonant to generate the ground form (imperfective, active, third person, masculine and singular, e.g. he did). The meaning of this verb is determined by the consonants. Other verbal nouns may be developed from the same root word.

A verb has three states: the perfect and the imperfect (which are tenses) and the imperative, which is a mood. The perfect usually signifies an action that is done and completed at the time of speaking (e.g. he has done). The imperfect signifies an action in the process of being done or completed, or that will be done (e.g. he is doing), and the imperative an order or a command (e.g. do!).

Several grammatical forms derive from the root words to signify the perfect active, imperfect active, imperative, perfect passive, imperfect passive, verbal noun, active participle and passive participles.

Besides the three numbers of singular, dual and plural Arabic recognises three persons: first person (the speaker), second person (the one addressed), and third person (one spoken about).

There are only two genders in Arabic, masculine or feminine. There is no ‘it’. Hence, God is referred in the third person as ‘Him’, ‘His’ or ‘He’. When we say ‘There is no god except Him’, it does not mean that God is personified as a male.

While one root can have more than one meaning, there does need to be some consistency in the essence of the fundamental of the way the meanings are approached. Arabic is a clear language. Its very make-up tends to expose abuse of its core rules and structure. It is just such abuse, which has been worked on the word Sol-laa by the religionists.

Frequently asked questions

Proponents of ritual prayer are fond of saying that certain verses where this root verb appears prove the existence of ritual prayer. Their arguments tend to be like the following:

1. What about 5:6 where you are supposed to do the ritual ablution (which they call wudu) before Sol- laa? Surely, that proves that ritual prayer is needed.

Surah 5 is to be read from 1 through to 7. Verse 6 is about being hygienic. The first two verses talk about food. People should observe the harmony sanctioned by God in the system. Verse 3 has more details on food, and then it says, ‘Today the way of life (or the deen) is perfected’ after detailing unhygienic food. The fourth and the fifth verses also talk about food with additional decrees that Muslims can marry the people of the previous Scripture. That in itself should be an eye-opener.

The subsequent verse says that we are upholding our commitments when we make ourselves clean. In verse 7 we are told to be appreciative of God’s blessing upon us and we should uphold the covenants He made with us from the time we say,

‘We hear and we obey’.

Hygiene is part of our commitments. And if there is no water to wash ourselves, God has prescribed an alternative i.e. to use clean dry soil to clean our hands. The point is, we are obliged to be as clean as we can – and here the limits are described with provision for extreme circumstances.

There is no such thing as the word ritual cleansing or wudu (this common term used by the majority of the Muslims is not to be found anywhere in the Reading). There is no ritual ablution. In 5:6 we are told it is good to wash ourselves up to the elbows, wash the face, and wipe our heads and feet. We must keep ourselves clean. This verse does not say that Sol-laa is a ritual prayer. The verse does not say after we ‘ritually’ clean up ourselves we must start praying ritually.

2. What about 11:114 where we are told to uphold the Sol-laa at the ends of the day and parts of the night?

It is a mistake to quote verses out of context. Here, 11:114 should be read from surah 11 verse 112 through to 115. The verse does not say the Sol-laa should be done at two ends of the day and parts of the night. The verse actually says through both ends of the day and parts of the night. The verse is rendered here in its full context:

You shall uphold what was prescribed, and also those who repented with you, and not transgress. Indeed, He knows whatever your deeds are, watching. Do not be inclined to those who are wicked. That will make you suffer the Fire, and there is none for you except God as a protector, then you will not be helped. And uphold your commitments (aqimi-Sol-laa-ta) through the ends of the day and the parts of the night. Indeed the good deeds nullify the bad. That is the remembrance for those who want to remember. You shall be steadfast. God never fails to reward the righteous. (11:112-115)

The verse clearly says the commitments are ongoing throughout the day and parts of the night. Verses 11:112-115 emphasise the importance of doing good deeds throughout the day and parts of the night by focusing oneself in routines according to what is taught from God’s prescribed decrees. It is a simple instruction.

3. What about 24:58 where the Solatil fajri and Solatil ‘isha are mentioned?

This verse refers to the periods of undress when children must seek permission before entering their parents’ room – from the time the parents retreat to their rooms (Solatil ‘isha) until the next morning (Solatil-fajri). We continue to observe our commitments during our private time. The same verse requires the seeking of permission to enter the room when parents are resting.

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