Sunday, May 26, 2013

Some weak argument Salat (obligatory prayers) is not ritual


Some claimed that there is no need to ask God’s help with ritual

There are some minorities among the Muslims who follow the Quran only, they claimed there is no such thing as worshipping God but man should be serving God instead. They claimed that rituals, customs and traditions functions like pacifiers, this will lead to worship and a desire to hold on to something tangible, and that is why the idolaters put their trust in things like a piece of wood, a cross, a stone house, a mosque or other that is tangible or can be seen with the naked eyes. They prefer to have a one-on-one, heart-to-heart, talk to God. When human beings have a need to call upon God they can call upon Him at any time, day or night from absolutely anywhere.

From the above perspective these people missed the point of doing rituals to worship God that involves timing and physical actions which act as discipline and a yardstick to guide those who follow or fail to obey the command of God. Without these kinds of discipline none will actually fulfilled the detailed command of God simply because they are not disciplined to do it. And to call on God is not when we needed Him but we are to call upon Him when in adversity as well as in prosperity and that is why rituals of doing physical actions and at the time ordained serves to increase the spiritual strength of a person when he is happy as well as when he is in sadness. Apart from the daily obligation he has to fulfill, there are also the other voluntary rituals one can do for extra credit to worship God. 

The ritual of worshipping God also teaches us the sense of putting our priorities. When there is to do rituals which involves the physical and specific time ordained by God then we have to make priorities. There is a choice we have to make whether to make the time to worship God to be our first priority above anything else or to do other things for the worldly life. Here God command us to put priority to His call to worship Him even at the time when man are engrossed with his business as stated in Surah 62:9  O believers, when proclamation is made for prayer (salat) on the Day of Congregation, hasten to God's remembrance and leave trafficking aside; that is best for you, if you but knew.
This clearly shows us we have to spend time for God when there is command to do so and give that time for our worship of Him in order of hoping for His grace, mercy and forgiveness in doing so. When there are no specific times to be with God as claimed by the non-ritual man, they will be in the dark how to put their priorities and ultimately they will put all their priorities to be at the mercy of their self-interest first than anything else.

The claim there is no ritual cleansing or ablution at Surah 5:6

The non-ritual proponent claimed that 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 Quran). There is no ritual ablution. The Surah 5:6 according to them we are only being told it is good to wash ourselves up to the elbows, wash the face, and wipe our heads and feet to keep ourselves clean. This verse does not say Salat is a ritual prayer. The verse does not say after we ‘ritually’ clean ourselves we must start praying ritually. And they say that hygiene is part of their commitments and if there is no water to wash themselves, God has prescribed an alternative i.e. to use clean dry soil to clean our hands.

First it is true that there is no such Arabic word “wudu” in the Quran but it does not mean that there is no such thing as the ritual cleansing before one is to establish the Salat as a ritual to worship God. The sequence of the actions at Surah 5:6 is not being named but it does not mean we cannot call it by our understanding such as “wudu” in Arabic or “ablution” in English as it will refer to a specific action that is stated in the Quran which is the ritual of cleansing commanded by God before we establish the Salat to worship Him.  This is the preconditions before the actual Salat or prayer is to be established at specific times ordained by God in the Quran. The following is the verse on ablution:

O ye who believe! When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favor to you, that ye may be grateful. (Surah 5:6)

In the above verse it is clear that whether the word Salat is “prayer” or their understand that it is “commitment to serve God” the non-ritual guys cannot escape to also commit themselves before they do their action of “serving God” they are also obliged to do the ritual cleansing by following the same sequences. And if they are to do the acts of ablution every time they serve God it automatically turn it into a ritual as it is a discipline they have to undergo with doing such action. The ritual become more inherent when they have been in contact with their wives it is compulsory they have to take a whole body bathe before they can establish the “prayer” or their claim as their commitment to serve God. And worst still if there is no water they have to take clean sand to rub only the specific parts of their bodies which is on their faces and the hands only. So this proves that it has nothing to do with normal cleansing of being dirty to wash after the call of nature but more of a ritual cleansing to obey the command of God as a preparation to establish the Salat to praise and make remembrance of Him. So the Salat is in actual fact a ritual prayer as also to its preparation to worship God in order to remember Him and to acknowledge His presence.  

Another proof that the Surah 5:6 is a ritual and not normal cleaning of our body for hygienic purposes is when one comes from office of nature if there is no water one still has to do the action of rubbing the faces and the hands with clean sands as a preparation to establish the Salat and it sound ridiculous when there is no water the other alternative is to clean the private parts with clean sands to keep the body clean for hygienic purposes. Similarly when one is in the state of ceremonial impurities (after in bed with the wife) one has to take the bathe before one can establish the Salat but if there is no water then again one has  to rub the faces and the hands with clean sands. Why not then the washing of the whole body with sand to keep clean? Thus whether it is the ritual of washing parts of the bodies as mentioned in the Surah 5:6 or taking the bathe it is obligatory to do the action if one is to establish the Salat. When one is not doing the Salat one is free to wash the hands before eating with the fingers or take a bathe whenever one feels uncomfortable from sweating during any part of the day. But when it is the action to establish the Salat the rituals must be maintained by those who believe and willing to obey the command of God.

These actions purely show that the pre Salat cleansing and the Salat itself are both rituals and it is a test whether we obey the command of God to worship Him with the structures and the times being detailed by Him as He has ordained in the Quran. Without these specifications from God it is habitually human flaws they will totally neglect to keep themselves from ritual cleansing during the day and especially during the cold seasons the tendency is to keep away from the cold water and thus disobey God command when establishing the ritual salat or prayer.

There is also the evidence from the Quran that water is associated as a ritual to clean the body and soul from the stain of Satan the devil and the distinction between normal cleaning and ritual cleansing is when the specific ritual is done, God is removing the defile part of the “wicked” heart and the stain of Satan polluting it. The following verse shows the removal of the stain of the Devil:

Remember He covered you with a sort of drowsiness, to give you calm as from Himself and he caused rain to descend on you from heaven, to clean you therewith, to remove from you the stain of Satan, to strengthen your hearts, and to plant your feet firmly therewith. (Surah 8:11)

The denial on Surah 11:114 and the Surah 4:103 are specific times

The non-ritual propagator claimed that the verses below clearly say that the commitments or Salat are ongoing throughout the day and parts of the night and not specific as being taught. Surah 11:112-115 emphasize 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. To them it is a simple instruction.

And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: For those things, that are good remove those that are evil: Be that the word of remembrance to those who remember their Lord. (Surah 11:114)

When ye pass (Congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah's praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger, set up regular prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times. (Surah 4:103)

Nevertheless one have to consider that the commitment to do good deeds by interaction with others is applicable most of it during the day and it is seldom done during the night time. This is where the Salat is proven to be contact with God rather than as they claimed as an interaction to do good deeds with other people. The time is therefore being fixed at specific times by God irrespective whether it is during the time when we are busy at work or during our rest time. The rationale is we are still to remember Him at all time whether it is our busy time working or when we are resting during the afternoon or the night time. He does not want to make thing difficulty for us so as to make the whole day only for His purpose but fixed it at specific times.

God does not make imposition on human for His dedication the whole day, He knows man needs sometimes for his self and this is the reason why he cited the case of the Jews who make the Sabbath a whole day just for the dedication of God. They refrain from doing any work for themselves during the day while only dedicating the time solely for the worship of God yet God detested them by testing them with the fish on their Sabbath Day and on the day they have no Sabbath the fishes did not come. The rationale here is God wants us to do both for ourselves and at the same time for Him at specific times or in another word we should know how to put our priorities right, the following verse refers:

Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea. Behold! They transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not: thus did We make a trial of them, for they were given to transgression. (Surah 7:163)

The correct “Sabbath” should be a day as described in the Quran at Surah 62:9-10 do your duty to God by not prohibiting the life of this world. The Jew did the opposite in their Sabbath by prohibiting anything else except worshiping God.

On the other extreme God would not want us to do commitment all day long and all night long to serve Him by helping mankind, it would be an impossible task to achieve so there is a need to have a good balance giving time for God and time for our own selves. Therefore there is no strong reason or argument to qualify that part of the night time is for serving God in doing good deeds like helping the poor or any other social works to help others. The night is for resting and sacrificing our sleeping at some part of the night is encourage for the dedication to worship by praising God. Apart from the obligation to establish the Salat at the approaches of the night it is encouraged to wake up part of the night for extra credit and this is shown by the Prophet who spend part of the night in doing voluntary Salat and reading the Quran as a ritual to worship God by making remembrance of Him rather than doing social works at the odd hours of the night. God made the night for us to rest and for the day to seek His bounty and while doing so we are not to forget Him during those times. These are the things that one is encouraged to do during the night from the following verses:

He it is Who made for you the night that you might rest in it, and the day giving light; most surely there are signs in it for a people who would hear.  (Surah 10:67)

And during a part of the night, pray “tahajjud” beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. (Surah 17:79)
Those who pass the night prostrate to their Lord and standing. Those who say: "Our Lord! Avert from us the Wrath of Hell, for its Wrath is indeed an affliction grievous. (Surah 25:64-65)

Your Lord doth know that thou stand forth (to prayer) nigh two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so doth a party of those with thee. But Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He know that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you (in mercy): read ye, therefore, of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you. He know that there may be (some) among you in ill-health; others travelling through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty; yet others fighting in Allah's Cause, read ye, therefore, as much of the Qur'an as may be easy (for you); and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls ye shall find it in Allah's Presence, yea, better and greater, in reward and seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.  (Surah 73:20)

The falsity that the pagans repent and do the salat ritual at Surah 9:4-6.

According to their claim Salat cannot be the ritual we do today as the above evidence is showing as if both the Salat of the pagan and the Salat of the Muslims were identical which is contradicting and therefore the Salat must mean something else like commitment to do good deeds which is common and done by both parties.   
However the following verses look at the probable areas whether the pagan is allowed to repent by establishing regular prayers as the Muslims practice it or Salat is not the Salat that is establish as it is today which is why it appears as if both the Muslims and the pagans have common feature. The other aspect is the paying of the alms whether they have been doing the practice as the Muslims have been paying or look into whether the pagans were forced into believing the Muslim tenet which then will contradict with the no compulsion as stated in Surah 2:256. The full narration of the account on the pagan and salat is shown in the following verses of the Quran:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish Salat and pay the alms, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. If one amongst the Pagans asks thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge. (Surah 9:5-6)

The proponents of non-ritual Salat claimed that in the above verse it does not make sense that the idol worshippers repent and do the Salat and pay the regular alms when they were not Muslims and the Salat of the Muslims cannot be as that of the pagan to be enforced on them. So to the non-ritual propagandists this is evident that the Salat is not the ritual Salat that is done by the Muslims today.

However their claim can be contested as according to the Quran there were many different kinds of person who became Muslims and not all remained as Muslims until they die. There were Muslims who believed and then they disbelieve and then believe again and some became what they were before pagan again or there were disbelievers and then they believe again. The conversion from one faith to another was then prevalent as there was freedom of religion during the Prophet’s time. The verse below is the command for no compulsion in religion which is the fundamental of the Muslim faith then:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. (Surah 2:256).

Those who believe and then disbelieve and then believe and then disbelieve, and then increase in unbelief - God is not likely to forgive them, neither to guide them on any way. (Surah 4:137)

So these kind of disbelievers who were former believers stated in the Quran knew how to perform the Salat the Muslims way and these were the culprits who were described in the above verse at Surah 9:5-6 and they were told to establish the Salat and pay the Zakat (alms) if they repent and become Muslims again. There was no death penalty at that time but the limit is to God because if they keep changing their belief God will not forgive them nor guide them to the right paths. But there was no stopping them to believe and disbelieve and believe again because at that time there was no capital punishment for the apostate the law is a later invention which is falsely attributed to the Prophet.

The other category of pagan described in the Quran was those who did not pay the zakat or alms to the authority during the Prophet’s time. They were categorize as pagan whether they were real pagan or Muslims whose conduct replicate the pagan as long as they did not pay the alms they were classified as pagan. Paying the alms is mandatory and the failure to fulfill this duty is a great crime and is punishable. This is stated in the following verses which indicated those who were liable must pay their dues unless they repent:

Say thou: "I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by Inspiration, that your God is one God: so stand true to Him, and ask for His Forgiveness." And woe to those who join gods with Allah: those who practice not giving of alms and who even deny the Hereafter. (Surah 41:6-7)

Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Surah 9:29)

The above verse clearly showed that any person who does not pay the alms to the Muslim authority is considered as a pagan and they are to be cursed and they will remain a pagan unless they repent by paying what is due to the community. Thus the Surah 9:5-7 described the pagans were those who were former Muslims who turned disbelievers and one being a Muslim but being considered a pagan as they refused to pay the alms then they can repent by believing again and paying the alms. These were the people described in the Surah 9:5-6 and they were given the opportunity to come back to the true path and be forgiven.

In such a situation the disbeliever and the pagans were familiar with the practice of the Muslims as they were doing it before until they betrayed the faith. But the Salat and the zakat with the structure and the postures as described in the Quran have not change and it is the way and the rituals to worship God. This argument therefore does not support the distortion as claimed by the group that Salat is not a ritual to worship God.

The Arabic “yusollu” in Surah 4:102 and Surah 33:56

The people who do not believe Salat is ritual claimed that the interpretation and translation on the Arabic word “yusollu” in the above verses is being distorted by the Muslims scholar to mean ritual prayer in Surah 4:102 but in Surah 33:56 the same word “yusollu” means bless and salute.

In actual fact in the above verses there is no contradiction in the meaning on the same Arabic word if the structure or the arrangement of the message is analyzed. The Surah 4:102 is a ritual towards God but the Surah 33:56 is a ritual towards man. The ritual done to establish the Salat to God is with the cleansing and all the requirements that have been explained earlier must be incorporated to be performed at the time ordained. The following verse is the Salat that is to be established at the time ordained done in congregation:

When thou O Messenger art with them, and stand to lead them in prayer (As Salat), Let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with thee, 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 hath not yet Salat (yusollu) - and let them Salat (yusollu) in prayer with thee, taking all precaution, and bearing arms: the Unbelievers wish, if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if ye put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because ye are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the Unbelievers Allah hath prepared a humiliating punishment. (Surah 4:102)

However the ritual to be done to a man who is also a Prophet is treated differently from a God. When the Prophet was alive the believers were to send blessing which is to confer his well-being and prosperity as a respect of his ranking but he was not to be prostrated or anything like pre ritual cleansing that is due to God. The verse on the ritual is stated below:

Allah and His angels send blessings (yusollu) on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Surah 33:56)

When the command was issued all those who believe in the Prophet did their part by conferring their well-wishing and visiting him and did their prayer for his well-being. But since the Prophet had passed away there is no way we can support or confer his well-being as other believers have supported him when he was alive but we can still salute him by saying “Peace be upon him” as he (the Prophet) did for the other prophets who were dead during his time and he salute them too by saying “Peace” to them when their names were being mentioned as shown from the following verse of the Quran:

Say (O Prophet): “Praise be to Allah and peace on His servants whom He has chosen: is Allah better, or what they associate with Him?” (Surah 27:59)

From the above evidence it can be seen that the servants whom God has chosen were the messengers and the prophets and whether they are alive or dead when their names are being mentioned it is God’s command to say Praise be to Allah and to say peace on His servants whom He has chosen and this include Muhammad, Abraham, Moses and the others and the command to do this ritual still applies until today.

The Arabic word “yusollu” therefore will not render the argument that the Salat is not a ritual it is in fact in support of the ritual to be established in order to acknowledge the presence of God and to acknowledge the ranks of His chosen servants who were the messengers and the prophets of God mentioned in the Quran.

The claim in meaning at Surah 11:87 “your prayer or “solaa tuka to them” is a ritual is deceptive.

By looking only at the single verse below the people who are against ritual concluded that Salat cannot be a ritual since it cannot physically apply to check and stop what those people were doing during Shu’aib’s time. They claimed the following verse is proof that Salat is not ritual of worshipping God:
They said: O Shu'aib! Does your prayer (solaa tuka) enjoin you that we should forsake what our fathers worshipped or that we should not do what we please with regard to our property? Forsooth you are the forbearing, the right-directing one. (Surah 11:87)

The non-ritual gullibles failed to see that the Salat is not a tool to physically stop wrong doing but it is a step to repentance to God and by doing the Salat, they will be conscious and thus will avoid doing the wrongs that they have done which was worshipping other gods than the One true God and also to stop exploiting people with their properties.  The purpose of Salat that Shu’uib was propagating was for his people to repent to God as shown in the following supporting verses:

Patiently, then, persevere: for the Promise of Allah is true: and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and celebrate the Praises of thy Lord in the evening and in the morning. (Surah 40:55)

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"  (Surah 40:60)

Shu’uib was calling his people to do the Salat so they could repent and seek God’s Forgiveness from worshipping other gods and refrain from using their property for extortion purposes on innocent people as this is described in the following verse:

To the Madyan people We sent Shu'aib, one of their own brethren: he said: "O my people! Worship Allah; Ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear Sign from your Lord! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due; and do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you, if ye have faith. "And squat not on every road, breathing threats, hindering from the path of Allah those who believe in Him, and seeking in it something crooked; But remember how ye were little, and He gave you increase. And hold in your mind's eye what was the end of those who did mischief. (Surah 7:85-86)

"But ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn unto Him (in repentance): For my Lord is indeed full of mercy and loving-kindness."  (Surah 11:90)

And that was what Shu’aib said to his people to refrain from doing what their forefathers have been doing and establish the Salat and when doing the Salat make repentance to God and seek His forgiveness and also at the same time promise not to repeat past wrong doings. This is the ritual that Shu’aib were propagating to his people to be the devotees to God by establishing the Salat.

The Surah 62:9 and Surah 2:238 confirm Salat is worshipping God

The two verses of the Quran above will expose the fallacy that there is no ritual in Islam in fact it is a strong indication of the ritual to worship God  and Salat is not a commitment to do social works as claimed by those people that God does not need to be worshipped. The two verses above is inter related to give the common time to perform two different Salat which is the daily and the weekly congregation prayer or Salat, the verse states that:

O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on a Day of congregation, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off trading; that is better for you, if you know. But when the prayer is finished then disperses abroad in the land and seek of Allah's grace, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful. And when they see merchandise or sport they break up for it, and leave you standing. Say: What is with Allah is better than sport and (better) than merchandise, and Allah is the best of Sustainers. (Surah 62:9-11)
The call in the above verse cannot be a call to do social work or helping other people to solve their monetary problem or whatever as claimed by the non-worshipper of God but it is a call to remembrance and the praise of God in a congregation. When the Salat is done then only we were to go and seek bounty and continue whatever one was doing before the call to worship God. The time is specific as it cannot be at noon or near sunset as the Arab by that time were in their houses with their families which is at their privacy time (please refer to Surah 24:58 for privacy times). The time of the call to remember God will occur when business was active and this is at middle time between the sun’s decline at noon and at sunset. The time can be traced to be at late afternoon according to the Surah 62:9.

The time at the middle or late afternoon above is supported by the Surah below where there is mentioned of the Middle Salat which meaning of the word wusta or middle can only fit in term of time which is located in the middle of all the other Salat time ordained by God in the Quran.  The verse on the word middle is stated in the following verse:

Attend constantly to prayers (salawaat) and the middle prayer (salatil Wusta) and stand up truly obedient to Allah. But if you are in danger, then say your prayers on foot or on horseback; and when you are secure, then remember Allah, as He has taught you what you did not know. (Surah 2:238-239)

The two verses above at Surah 62:9 and Surah 2:238 are conclusive enough to expose the non-worshipper of God who claimed that the Quran did not enjoin believers to worship God because however and whatever translation other than
“time” as a focus as stated above it will not fit the message of the Quran and it will lead to distortion. The two verses stress on the important of time and make priority to the remembrance of God than to do anything else whether it is business or amusement or trying to help other people but instead to respond immediately to the call to do the Salat by making remembrance of God is to be the priority over anything else. While the middle Salat indicates the exact time to establish the daily afternoon Salat it is also the same time for the weekly Salat done in congregation. Thus it is impractical to claim the Salat at the Surah 62:9 is the call to make commitment to do good deeds on a day of congregation or that which is stated in Surah 2:238 the middle Salat is actually an action to commit to do deeds in moderation or middle deeds as claimed by the non-worshippers of God. There is no such thing as a moderate deed, in the real world either one do the deed or none at all.

There is less to give than to receive in this World

The non-worshippers of God failed to see that in this world there are many people in need of help than those who can give help through doing charity and their theory that there is no ritual Salat and everything is made to set up a good community and everybody is expected to serves God by providing their services to mankind. They failed to see that the congregation of doing Salat together in a community with the poor and the wealthy in worshipping God could spearhead a common community work where the rich can contribute the funds while the poor can contribute their labor. However not all can contribute their services or fund as some people are really poor and some are really disabled. God shall not penalize them and that is the reason why Salat is a ritual that everybody is to establish irrespective whether they are poor or rich, healthy or disabled there is an equal platform to worship God as a yardstick to measure righteousness. Not everybody will be the same in term of wealth as shown in the following verse but there is no distinction when it is time to worship God as everybody is even, it is effort that counts:

And in no wise covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things. (Surah 4:32)

So there are two initiatives that is needed for the man who is hopeful for the mercy of his Lord whether he be a rich or wealthy man or he is a poor or a disabled man he must toe the line to worship God to find peace and accepting that God is presence and is near. But those who are non-worshipper of God whether they are rich or poor they are no better than the atheists who do good deeds but do not acknowledge the presence of God by doing the ritual of Salat, they are the arrogance. This is where the ritual of establishing the Salat stated in the Quran with certain washing procedure and performing certain physical actions adds up to obeying of God commands for the purposes of remembering Him with a discipline. This will strengthen the spirit and the mind to avoid other sinful actions whether it comes from one own selfish interest or it is from the cursed devil. Certainly both the poor and the wealthy have got an equal opportunity in their test to worship God by obeying His commands in this realm but not an equal term when come to do deeds to be initiated with the wealth that they have. It is clearly stated in the Quran those gifted have to assist the less fortunate but all have to worship God:

Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favored are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favors of Allah? (Surah 16:71)

It can be seen that all men are equal in establishing the ritual of worshipping God and it breaks all the barrier of wealth, power, health situation or strength that everybody whether they are rich or poor, they will have an even platform on the Judgment Day whether they do their part in worshipping God with or without the benefits or gifts they received from God in this lives. They will be judged whether at the time ordained they had established their duty to perform Salat in remembrance of God faithfully in the hope of receiving the mercy and the grace of God in this world and the hereafter or they have failed to put this initiative by establishing the ritual of Salat to worship God. There is not much of an excuse to plea to God in this matter on the Day of Judgment it will be too late to do the ritual prostration which they denied while in this world as shown in the following verses.

The Day that the shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration, but they shall not be able, Their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; seeing that they had been summoned aforetime to bow in adoration, while they were whole, (and had refused). (Surah 68:42-43)

The difference between salat and good deeds Surah 22:77

In the Quran there is a clear demarcation between serve God and establish Salat for his remembrance. When it is serving then it is not Him directly that we serve but we serve mankind in His name. But when it is worship we are doing it on our own behalf or to be at His presence directly and thus Salat is directly worshipping to remember Him, to praise Him, and with all the other requirements that He has outline for mankind in His Book the Quran. The following verses give the difference between Salat and good deeds, He says:

Surely I am Allah, there is no god but I, therefore worship Me and keep up Salat for My remembrance: (Surah 20:14)

O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good that you may succeed. (Surah 22:77)

And according to the Quran there is the difference between remembering God by doing Salat and remembering God by Zikr. There are some differences between the two deeds in remembrance of God. Salat is remembering God which is compulsory and is obligatory as a duty to do it daily at definite times while Zikr is voluntary and it is done for extra credit. The verse below show the difference between Zikr and Salat: 

Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance (zikr) of Allah and from Salat. So will you not desist? (Surah 5:91)

The word “Salat” is remembrance of God with all the rituals that goes with it such as taking the ablution, done at specific time, specific physical postures, specific recitation, facing the Qiblah at the direction of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and any other requirements that is clearly spelt out in details in the Quran. However “zikr” is freewill to remember God without any requirement that is listed as the Salat. The main difference between the two is Salat is obligatory while “zikr” is voluntary and it can be done at any time and at any postures and anywhere whenever a man thinks of God and make remembrance of Him

There is evidence to show the difference in the Quran that the Salat is a ritual to remember God and is different from doing good deeds like the giving of charity and paying of the alms. The reason of the difference is glaring that Salat can be done by anybody while giving charity and paying the alms is restricted to the wealthy and the following verse show it is a separate concept that charity (sadaqa), ritual prayer (Salat) and paying alms (zakat) as oppose to the belief of the non-worshipper of God who claimed all of it is the same:

Is it that ye are afraid of spending sums in charity (sadaqa) before your private consultation with him? If, then, ye do not so, and Allah forgives you, then at least establish regular prayer (Salat); practice regular alms (zakat); and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Surah 58:13)

Thus when the non-worshipper of God preach that there is no Salat as being practiced as it is commonly known today, they are actually trying to make their lives convenience to themselves. The purpose of their intention is obvious that they want to be as free as the atheists and having no obligation of their duty to acknowledge the presence of the unseen God Who make command to establish Salat as a contact to be in touch direct with Him and to pay the alms (zakat) in His name as to be in contact to reach the poor. They refused to acknowledge that people are not equal in term of wealth or in term of physical fitness only some have the ability to pay the alms or to give their energy to provide development for the society. They miscalculate that among the three injunctions giving charity, paying the alms and obligatory Salat, it is only in Salat that everybody have the equal opportunity to establish the Salat as commanded by God in the Quran. And the following verse gives the different categories of deeds for the people to emulate and Salat being a separate deed:

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards east or West; but it is righteousness - to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in Salat, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (Surah 2:177)

From the above verse it shows the differences as the Salat is mentioned in isolation or separately from doing good deeds and therefore it is a ritual to worship God. As far as Salat is concerned it is a command that everybody can fulfill and can obey whether one is rich or poor, the healthy or the sick, young or old, learned or the ordinary people but when it comes to paying the alms or giving away of wealth, there is a difference categories among men as shown by the following verse:

It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah 6:165)

Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: and We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass. (Surah 43:32)

It is glaring from the above verses not all have the equal opportunity to serve God as propagated by the non-worshippers of God, it is clear in term of wealth mankind are not equal some may serve others but many may not have the same opportunity as it depend on the wealth or the health of the individuals. However when comes to establish the ritual Salat to worship God with all requirement stated in the Quran there is no excuse whatsoever to neglect doing it and that it is made obligatory under any circumstances.