Will prophet Muhammad intercede on our behalf?

Peace be upon you brothers and sisters,

This is Said Mirza from willyounotreason.com and in today’s article I wanted to look at the topic of intercession. As you are aware, both Muslims and Christians claim that their respective prophets will intercede on their behalf on the Day of Judgment. In the case of the Muslims, support for the idea that Muhammad will intercede on their behalf is found in the hadith literature. In the case of Christians support for the idea that Jesus will intercede on their behalf is found in the Bible. 

Since we consider the Qur’an to be clear, complete and fully detailed and take it as the sole authority for our doctrine, we are forced to reject any claims which do not find purchase in the Qur’an. God is clear that He alone is the Judge and intercession of any person, no matter what their standing, will not be accepted.

All translations (unless noted otherwise) used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

And be in prudent fear of a day no soul will avail a soul anything, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it; nor will they be helped.

(2:48)

And be in prudent fear of a day no soul will avail a soul anything, nor will compensation be accepted from it, nor will intercession benefit it. And they will not be helped.

(2:123)

O you who heed warning: spend of what We have provided you before there comes a day wherein is neither commerce, nor friendship, nor intercession; and the false claimers of guidance: they are the wrongdoers.

(2:254)

Muslims, however, justify the claim that Muhammad will intercede on their behalf by pointing out verses in the Qur’an which allow for ‘limited’ intercession. However, there is no place in the Qur’an that states that the messenger or messengers of God will intercede on behalf of their ummah i.e. community. The closest thing to an intercession is Jesus’ response to God which we shall look into later. There are some verses in the Qur’an that allude to an idea of a ‘limited’ intercession but it is made clear that this will only happen by permission of God; His will is supreme i.e. no one can intercede on someone’s behalf unless they are given leave by God – and they will only testify to the truth.

They will have no power of intercession save he who has taken a covenant with the Almighty.

(19:87)

That day no intercession will avail save one whom the Almighty has given leave and with whose word He is pleased.

(20:109)

And intercession avails not with Him save him whom He gives leave. When terror has been lifted from their hearts, they will say: “What said your Lord?” They will say: “The truth”; and He is the Exalted, the Great.

(34:23)

And how many an angel is there in the heavens! Their intercession avails nothing save after that God gives leave to whom He wills and is pleased.

(53:26)

This is a plain reading of the verses in question. To claim that Muhammad or Jesus will intercede on our behalf based on these limited verses is to deny clear and explicit verses that no intercession will be accepted by God.  The Qur’an brings us back, again and again, to the same conclusion that no one can save us from God’s punishment – only God is our ally and protector. There is no refuge from His punishment.

“Shall I take gods besides Him? If the Almighty intends me harm, their intercession will avail me nothing, nor can they rescue me;

(36:23)

Say thou: “Unto God belongs intercession altogether — His is the dominion of the heavens and the earth; then to Him will you be returned.”

(39:44)

And those to whom they call, besides Him, possess no intercession save whoso bore witness to the truth, and they know.

(43:86)

 “What brought you into Saqar?”

They will say: “We were not among the performers of duty,

 “And we fed not the needy.

 “And we discoursed vainly with those who discourse vainly,

 “And denied the Day of Judgment

 “Until the Certainty came to us.”

Then no benefit to them is the intercession of intercessors.

(74:42-48)

The Qur’an already anticipates the claim of Muslims that Muhammad will intercede on their behalf on the Day of Judgment. It also tells us what Jesus will say about those who claim to follow him and claim that he will intercede on their behalf. 

And when God will say: “O Jesus, son of Mary: didst thou say to men: ‘Take me and my mother as two gods, besides God?’” he will say: “Glory be to Thee! It was not for me to say that to which I had no right! If I had said it, then Thou wouldst have known it. Thou knowest what is in my soul, and I know not what is in Thy soul; Thou art the Knower of the Unseen Realms.

 “I said not to them but what Thou commandedst me: ‘Serve God, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness to them while I was among them; but when Thou tookest me, Thou wast the watcher over them; and Thou art witness to all things.

 “If Thou punish them, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them, Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”)

God will say: “This is the day in which their truthfulness benefits the truthful.” They have gardens beneath which rivers flow, they abiding eternally therein forever; God is pleased with them, and they pleased with Him; that is the Great Achievement.

To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what is in them; and He is over all things powerful.

(5:116-120)

This will be the ‘intercession’ of Jesus for the Christians. He will deny having claimed to be anything but God’s servant who commanded his followers “to serve God alone”. In the case of Muhammad, he will lament that his people abandoned the Qur’an.

 And the day the sky is rent asunder with the clouds, and the angels are sent down in successive descent,

True dominion, that day, belongs to the Almighty; and it will be a difficult day for the false claimers of guidance.

And the day the wrongdoer will bite his hands, he will say: “Would that I had taken with the Messenger a path!

 “Woe is me! Would that I had not taken such-and-such for a friend!

 “He led me astray from the remembrance after it reached me.” And the satan is to man a traitor.

And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord: my people took this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.”

(25:25-30)

In summary, the Qur’an’s own sufficient testimony makes it clear that these two messengers of God will be unable to intercede on behalf of their supposed followers. Jesus will distance himself from the idolaters (those among the Christians who claim that Jesus is the son of God) saying that he never said that he and his mother be taken as gods besides God whereas Muhammad will protest that his people deserted the Qur’an; which is true in the case of the vast majority of Muslims who only pay lip service to following the Qur’an when in reality they are simply blindly following the footsteps of their ancestors. 

O mankind: eat of what is in the earth lawful and good, and follow not the footsteps of the satan; he is to you an open enemy.

He but enjoins upon you evil and sexual immorality, and that you ascribe to God what you know not.

And when it is said to them: “Follow what God has sent down,” they say: “Nay, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers,” — even though their fathers did not reason, nor were they guided?

(2:168-170)

God willing, until the next time. Peace and blessings be upon you.

Update and thoughts on the Qur’an alone movement

Peace brothers and sisters, 

This is Said Mirza from willyounotreason.com and in today’s talk I wanted to give you my take on the Qur’an alone movement and a brief summary of some of the projects I am working on. 

I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations (except noted otherwise) used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Current projects

As you are aware, the second edition of my book “Will You Not Reason? God’s arguments in the Qur’an” is now published. You can download a free PDF from my website or you can purchase a paperback version from Amazon. This book is a good introduction to the core teachings of the Qur’an which have, unfortunately been ignored by the religion of Islam i.e. God in the Qur’an is calling men to believe in Him, the Last Day and to do good works. The Qur’an guides towards moral righteousness and purification of the heart of a sincere man and to instill in him fear of God. This book also clarifies the meanings of key terms such as salaat, zakat, sujud which have been corrupted by the religion of Islam. Finally, the book serves as a primer to Brother Gerrans’ exhaustive work “The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation”.

Currently, I am working on creating a website for those of you who are interested in learning the Qur’anic Arabic and the meanings of words according to the Qur’an and not according to the hadith, Sunni or Shia perspective. As you know, a primary component of the Qur’an alone movement is that the Qur’an alone is sufficient for guidance. We reject the hadith or sunnah (as these terms are used interchangeably) and accept the Qur’an’s stance that is a clear, complete and fully detailed book which is open for all sincere men who wish to serve God alone. So, God willing, once the website is completed, I will share it with you. Due to the scope of this work, I am expecting it will take anywhere between 2-3 years to be completed. The next thing which I am working on is doing a Qur’anic recitation in parallel with the English translation (Brother Gerrans’ translation) and releasing that on Youtube piecemeal. The goal again here is to get people comfortable with the Qur’an’s Arabic as for too long we have been conditioned by the ulemas, muftis and our parents to think that the Qur’anic Arabic is difficult and inaccessible to the layperson (which is simply not the case). Apart from that, I will continue to write short articles on topics related to the Qur’an in hopes to make plain to mankind the scripture of God.

Thoughts on the Qur’an alone movement

So moving on to the topic of the Qur’an alone movement or as we are called: the Quranists; I am reminded of a heated discussion I had with my uncle who accused me of being in a cult i.e. he thought that the Quranists were a sectarian movement like the Sunni and Shia sects. However, the fact of the matter is that we are not a sectarian movement; we are simply calling men back to God. We are following the fine tradition of the messengers, prophets and men of God who have gone before us who also said the same thing to their people: Serve God alone. Neither am I advocating cutting ourselves off from the religious community that we are a part of. I identify myself as a Muslim and not as a Quranist. It is true that I do not participate in the rituals of Muslims but that is only because I do not agree with their facing the direction of a stone idol (the Kaaba) during their ritual prayers. Neither do I find the mosques particularly appealing as here in the U.S. they are mostly a social club; a place where men come to primarily socialize. The fact of the matter is that the Qur’an allows us to eat of the food of the people of the Book and to marry their women which makes it clear that those who follow God’s guidance are not to make a breach with their respective communities but to remain a part of them and continue to call them back to God. The prophets and messengers stayed within their respective communities and functioned as warners and reformers, not as cult leaders.

With this background, I wanted to look at Chapter 98 (in the latter part of the Qur’an) which, unfortunately, has been misinterpreted by the Muslims. The following is a traditional translation by A.J. Arberry:

The unbelievers of the People of the Book and the idolaters would never leave off; till the Clear Sign came to them,

a Messenger from God, reciting pages purified,

therein true Books.

And they scattered not, those that were given the Book, excepting after the Clear Sign came to them.

They were commanded only to serve God, making the religion His sincerely, men of pure faith, and to perform the prayer, and pay the alms — that is the religion of the True.

The unbelievers of the People of the Book and the idolaters shall be in the Fire of Gehenna, therein dwelling forever; those are the worst of creatures.

But those who believe, and do righteous deeds, those are the best of creatures;

their recompense is with their Lord-Gardens of Eden, underneath which rivers flow, therein dwelling for ever and ever. God is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord.

(98:1-8)

Now since the religion of Islam renders the key terms such as salaat and zakat as prayer and alms respectively, they think that the Qur’an is condemning the people of the Book because they do not pray (as the Muslims do) and they do not give charity. However, once we understand that salaat means a duty to uphold a specific commandment of God (in this case to uphold the Writ) and zakat means purity of intention, we understand that this chapter is condemning those who hold to the scriptures of God (the Christians, Jews and the Muslims) of breaking up into various religions and sects when they were all commanded to serve God alone being sincere to Him in the faith and to uphold the Writ sincerely. That is all. 

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters were not to desist until the clear evidence came to them:

A messenger from God, reciting purified pages

In which are upright writs.

And those given the Writ were divided only after the clear evidence had come to them.

And they were commanded only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters will be in the fire of Gehenna, they abiding eternally therein — it is they who are the worst of creatures.

Those who heed warning and do righteous deeds — it is they who are the best of creatures,

Their reward is with their Lord: gardens of perpetual abode beneath which rivers flow, they abiding eternally therein forever; God is pleased with them, and they pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord.

(98:1-8)

We find support for the idea of upholding the Writ sincerely in the beginning of the Qur’an in Chapter 2 where the Jews and Christians (the people of the Book) are accused of not being sincere to God in faith and of breaking the agreement with God. It is also interesting to note that the same phrase “uphold the duty and render the purity” is found in both 98:5 and 2:43.

O children of Israel: remember My favour wherewith I favoured you; and fulfil the covenant with Me, and I will fulfil the covenant with you; and Me — be you in fear of Me.

And believe in what I have sent down confirming what is with you, and be not the first to deny it; and sell not My proofs at a cheap price; and Me — be you in prudent fear of Me. 

And clothe not truth with vanity, nor conceal the truth when you know.

And uphold the duty, and render the purity, and be lowly with the lowly.

Enjoin you virtue upon mankind, and forget yourselves when you recite the Writ? Will you then not use reason!

(2:40-44)

As can be seen clearly from the context, the children of Israel (the Jews) are warned to not sell the proofs of God for a cheap price i.e. they are not to compromise what God has commanded them through His scripture for worldly gain; in other words, to uphold the Writ of God.

And when We took your agreement and raised the mount above you: “Hold fast what We have given you, and remember what is therein, that you might be in prudent fear.”

Then you turned away after that; and were it not for the bounty of God upon you and His mercy, you would have been among the losers.

 (2:63-64)

The same theme of upholding the Writ of God is repeated in the above section.

And among them are those unschooled: they know not the Writ save vain desires; and they are only assuming.

So woe to those who write the Writ with their hands, then say: “This is from God,” that they might sell it at a cheap price; so woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they earn.

And they say: “The Fire will not touch us save days numbered.” Say thou: “Have you taken a covenant with God — for God will not fail in His covenant — or do you ascribe to God what you know not?”

Verily, whoso earns evil, and his offences have encompassed him: those are the companions of the Fire; therein they abide eternally.

And those who heed warning and do righteous deeds: those are the companions of the Garden; therein they abide eternally.

And when We took an agreement of the children of Israel: “Serve not save God; and towards parents good conduct, and towards kin, and the fatherless, and the poor; and speak kindly to men; and uphold the duty, and render the purity,” then you turned away save a few among you; and you are averse.

And when We took your agreement: “Shed not your blood, and turn not your own out of your homes,” then you affirmed and bore witness;

Then are you those who kill your own, and turn a faction among you out of their homes, assisting one another against them in sin and enmity; and if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, but unlawful for you was their expulsion. Do you believe in part of the Writ and deny part? Then what is the reward of him among you who does that save disgrace in the life of this world? And on the Day of Resurrection they are sent back to the harshest punishment; and God is not unmindful of what you do.

Those are they who bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be helped.

(2:78-86)

Muslims — for all intents and purposes — uphold the hadith literature instead of the Qur’an. The hadith — which they claim to be Prophet Muhammad’s sayings — is used to explain the Qur’an. However, the Qur’an alone is divinely inspired and it has no need for a secondary literature for its explanation or clarification. This is nothing new as the Jews did the very same thing with the Torah. They created a secondary literature called the Talmud to explain the Torah; effectively bypassing the commandments of God. However, the agreement with God is simple and by upholding this agreement we are upholding the Writ. 

And when We took your agreement and raised the mount above you: “Hold fast what We give you, and listen,” they said: “We hear and we oppose”; and they were filled with drinking the calf in their hearts for their denial. Say thou: “Evil is what your faith enjoins upon you, if you be believers.”

Say thou: “If the abode of the Hereafter with God be for you to the exclusion of other men, then wish for death, if you be truthful.”

But never will they wish for it because of what their hands have sent ahead; and God knows the wrongdoers.

And thou wilt find them the greediest of men for life. And of those who ascribe a partnership: one of them wishes to be granted life of a thousand years, but it will not remove him from the punishment were he to be granted life; and God sees what they do. (2:93-96)

Many among the doctors of the Law wish to turn you back as atheists after your faith out of envy from their souls after the truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forbear until God brings His command; God is over all things powerful.

And uphold the duty, and render the purity; and what good you send ahead for your souls, you will find it with God; God sees what you do.

And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”

Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

(2:109-112)

And they say: “Be such as hold to Judaism, or Christians — you will be guided.” Say thou: “Nay, the creed of Abraham, inclining to truth; and he was not of the idolaters.”

Say: “We believe in God, and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the Grandsons, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; We make no division between any of them, and to Him are we submitting.”

Then if they believe in the like of that in which you believe, they have been guided; but if they turn away, they are only in schism. And God will suffice thee against them; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

(2:135-137)

Whoso follows the creed of Abraham — a staunch monotheist — is guided irrespective of whether he belongs to Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Abraham was neither a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim; he was a man who submitted to God alone. 

So, in summary, our job if we are to follow in the path of the messengers and prophets of God before us is not to get sucked into a sectarian thinking but to call all men to the path of God. Our job — which has been abandoned by all the religionists — is to make plain to mankind the scripture of God and not to conceal it.

And when God took an agreement of those given the Writ: “You are to make it plain to mankind, and not to conceal it,” then they cast it behind their backs, and sold it at a cheap price; and evil is what they bought.

(3:187)

Until the next time, God willing, peace and blessings be upon you.

Our purpose according to the Qur’an

The life of this world

What is the life of this world? A fleeting pleasure punctuated with a lot of pain. We are born, we live, and we die. People distract themselves endlessly to forget this reality, but sooner or later death catches up to them. There is no escape; all things are born, mature, and die. 

This article is an excerpt from my book “Will You Not Reason?” which can be downloaded for free here. I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

It is a strange thing, then, that the same man who strives day and night to acquire wealth, prestige, and honor remains blind to the fact that he will lose all come death. There is no permanence. This is the state of those who deny the Hereafter. The verses below are true for the generality of mankind — most people do not really believe in a life after death.

Say thou: “If the abode of the Hereafter with God be for you to the exclusion of other men, then wish for death, if you be truthful.”

But never will they wish for it because of what their hands have sent ahead; and God knows the wrongdoers.

And thou wilt find them the greediest of men for life. And of those who ascribe a partnership: one of them wishes to be granted life of a thousand years, but it will not remove him from the punishment were he to be granted life; and God sees what they do. (2:94-96)

It is therefore unreasonable to put all our efforts towards this temporal life. A far better strategy would be to work towards the betterment of our afterlife, which is eternal. God gives us the truth regarding this temporal life.

Every soul will taste death; and you will but be paid in full your rewards on the Day of Resurrection. And whoso is removed from the Fire and made to enter the Garden: he has attained; and the life of this world is only the enjoyment of delusion.

(3:185)

Wherever you be, death will overtake you, though you be in castles built high. And if good befalls them, they say: “This is from God”; and if evil befalls them, they say: “This is from thee.” Say thou: “All is from God.” Then what ails these people that they scarcely understand a statement?

(4:78)

Have they not reflected? Their companion is not possessed; he is only a clear warner.

Have they not considered the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and what things God has created, and that it may be that their term has drawn nigh? And in what narration after this will they believe?

(7:184-185)

The likeness of the life of this world is but like water We send down from the sky, and the plants of the earth mingle with it, whereof men and cattle eat: when the earth has taken her decoration, and is made fair, and its people think they have power over it, Our command comes by night or by day, and We make it reaped as if it had not flourished the day before — thus do We set out and detail the proofs for people who reflect.

(10:24)

And strike thou for them the similitude of the life of this world: — as water which We send down from the sky, then the vegetation of the earth mingles with it; then it becomes dry stalks which the winds scatter. And God is omnipotent over everything.

(18:45)

We will inherit the earth and whoso is thereon, and to Us will they be returned.

(19:40)

They know an outward part of the life of this world, but of the Hereafter they are heedless.

(30:7)

Know that the life of this world is only play and diversion, and adornment, and mutual boasting among you, and competition for increase in wealth and children. As the likeness of a rain, it impresses the atheists with its growth; then it withers and thou seest it turn yellow; then it becomes debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment, and forgiveness from God, and approval. And the life of this world is only the enjoyment of delusion.

(57:20)

Glorify thou the name of thy Lord, the Most High,

Who created and fashioned,

And who determined and guided,

And who brought forth the pasture

Then made it blackening decaying herbage

(87:1-5)

The truth is, you prefer the life of this world

When the Hereafter is better and more enduring.

(87:16-17)

What is our purpose?

Having established that it is God who created us, the natural question is, “To what purpose?” Most men assume that their purpose in life is to accumulate wealth and to enjoy themselves. But no matter how much they hoard, buy or experience, the contentment and peace they so ardently desire eludes them. That is because we are created not to serve our vain desires but to serve God.

And I created the domini and the servi only that they should serve Me.

(51:56)

Serving God means not only to worship Him but to also do good works. In the religion of Islam, all emphasis is placed on the performance of ritual prayers while the doing of good works is, for the most part, ignored. This is a dangerous idea considering God’s many exhortations to the believers to do good works. 

Say thou: “Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in deeds?

“Those whose effort is astray in the life of this world when they think that they are doing good work;

“Those are they who deny the proofs of their Lord and the meeting with Him; so their works are in vain, and We will assign to them on the Day of Resurrection no weight.

“That is their reward — Gehenna — because they denied and took Our proofs and Our messengers in mockery.

“Those who heed warning and do righteous deeds, they have the Gardens of Paradise as a welcome,

“They abiding eternally therein. They will not desire any change therefrom.”

(18:103-108)

It is not virtue that you turn your faces towards the East and the West. But virtue is: one who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Writ, and the prophets, and gives wealth in spite of love of it to relatives, and the fatherless, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and to manumit slaves; and who upholds the duty, and renders the purity; and those who keep their covenant when they make a covenant; and the patient in affliction and adversity, and during conflict: those are they who are sincere; and it is they who are those of prudent fear.

(2:177)

They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin what is fitting, and forbid perversity, and compete in good deeds; and those are among the righteous.

(3:114)

And He it is that created the heavens and the earth in six days, — and His Throne was upon the water — that He might try you, which of you is best in deed. And if thou sayest: “You will be raised up after death,” those who ignore warning will say: “This is only obvious sorcery.”

(11:7)

We made what is upon the earth an adornment for it, that We might try them, which of them is best in deed.

And We will make what is thereon barren ground.

(18:7-8)

In that are proofs; and We are testing.

(23:30)

And We created not the heaven and the earth and what is between them to no purpose. That is the assumption of those who ignore warning. And woe to those who ignore warning from the Fire!

If We make those who heed warning and do righteous deeds like the workers of corruption in the land:[…]. — Or if We make those of prudent fear like the licentious:[…].

(38:27-28)

Zakat means to be sincere

Muslims claim that zakat, a word often used together with salaat in the Qur’an, is a religious charitable donation to help the needy. Not surprisingly, the Qur’an’s usage of this term is at odds with how Muslims understand zakat.

This article is an excerpt from my book “Will You Not Reason?” which can be downloaded for free here. I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Those who fulfil God’s covenant

Is then he who knows that what is sent down to thee from thy Lord is the truth like him who is blind? There take heed but those of insight:

Those who fulfil the covenant of God, and break not the agreement,

And who join what God commanded to be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread the evil of the reckoning,

And who are patient seeking the face of their Lord, and uphold the duty, and spend of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, and they avert evil with good: those have the good final abode:

(13:19-22)

The above verse describes those who fulfil God’s covenant as those “who join what God commanded to be joined.” We find an inverse statement regarding those who break God’s covenant as those who “sever what God has commanded to be joined”.

 But those who break the covenant of God after its agreement, and sever what God has commanded to be joined, and work corruption in the land: those have the curse, and they have the evil abode.

(13:25)

The Qur’an uses the phrase “uphold the salaat and give the zakat” a total of 24 times in which the two terms salaat and zakat are joined together. It is my view that those who fulfil God’s covenant maintain the connection between salaat and zakat whereas those who break God’s covenant sever their connection. Since we have already established that salaat means the duty to implement a specific contextual command, we will now study the surrounding contexts where the phrase “uphold the salaat and give the zakat” occurs to see if we can derive a contextual value of zakat. Brother Gerrans translates this phraseas uphold the duty and to render the purity. As we go through each occurrence of this phrase, we shall see that it means to implement a specific commandment and to be sincere in its application i.e. those who wish to fulfil God’s covenant must be pure in intention when upholding the duty.

Recite the Writ

The first occurrence of the phrase  “uphold the salaat and give the zakat” is in reference to the original recipients of the Writ; the  children of Israel. 

O children of Israel: remember My favour wherewith I favoured you; and fulfil the covenant with Me, and I will fulfil the covenant with you; and Me — be you in fear of Me.

And believe in what I have sent down confirming what is with you, and be not the first to deny it; and sell not My proofs at a cheap price; and Me — be you in prudent fear of Me.

And clothe not truth with vanity, nor conceal the truth when you know.

And uphold the duty, and render the purity, and be lowly with the lowly.

Enjoin you virtue upon mankind, and forget yourselves when you recite the Writ? Will you then not use reason!

And seek help in patience and duty; and it is hard save for the humble:

Those who consider that they will meet their Lord, and that to Him they are returning.

(2:40-46)

The duty in this context is to recite the Writ. God is reproving the children of Israel for hypocrisy by “enjoining virtue upon mankind but forgetting themselves” i.e. preaching what they are themselves not practicing. God commands them to fear Him alone and not to abandon His guidance in favor of worldly gain. Thus the children of Israel are not only to uphold the duty to recite the Writ but to also give the zakat by being pure in intention. The final occurrence of the phrase “uphold the salaat and give the zakat”confirms our understanding by referencing those given the Writ before, the children of Israel and the Christians, and exhorting them to uphold the recitation of the Writ and to be pure in intention.

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters were not to desist until the clear evidence came to them:

A messenger from God, reciting purified pages

In which are upright writs.

And those given the Writ were divided only after the clear evidence had come to them.

And they were commanded only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters will be in the fire of Gehenna, they abiding eternally therein — it is they who are the worst of creatures.

Those who heed warning and do righteous deeds — it is they who are the best of creatures,

Their reward is with their Lord: gardens of perpetual abode beneath which rivers flow, they abiding eternally therein forever; God is pleased with them, and they pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord.

(98:1-8)

In the next verse, the believers are being exhorted to uphold the duty of reciting the Writ and to be pure in their intention.

Thy Lord knows that thou standest nearly two-thirds of the night, or a half of it, or a third of it, as does a number of those with thee. And God determines the night and the day. He knew that you would not calculate it, and has turned towards you: — so recite what is made easy of the Qur’an. He knows that there will be some sick among you, and others travelling in the earth in search of the bounty of God, and others fighting in the cause of God: — so recite what is made easy thereof, and uphold the duty, and render the purity, and lend to God a goodly loan. And what good you send ahead for your souls — you will find it with God, better and greater in reward. And ask forgiveness of God; God is forgiving and merciful.

(73:20) 

Uphold God’s agreement

And when We took an agreement of the children of Israel: “Serve not save God; and towards parents good conduct, and towards kin, and the fatherless, and the poor; and speak kindly to men; and uphold the duty, and render the purity,” then you turned away save a few among you; and you are averse.

And when We took your agreement: “Shed not your blood, and turn not your own out of your homes,” then you affirmed and bore witness;

Then are you those who kill your own, and turn a faction among you out of their homes, assisting one another against them in sin and enmity; and if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, but unlawful for you was their expulsion. Do you believe in part of the Writ and deny part? Then what is the reward of him among you who does that save disgrace in the life of this world? And on the Day of Resurrection they are sent back to the harshest punishment; and God is not unmindful of what you do.

Those are they who bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be helped.

(2:83-86)

Here the duty is to uphold the agreement made with God. God accuses the children of Israel of cherry picking the commandments of God; “Do you believe in part of the Writ and deny part”i.e. they were not being pure in their intention of upholding the agreement made with God. 

In the next occurrence of this phrase, we see a repeat of the same theme of breaking the agreement of God and of changing the meanings of words by twisting them from their places — an example of being insincere in applying God’s commands — as further evidence that zakat means to be pure in intention when upholding the duty.

And God took an agreement of the children of Israel; and We raised up among them twelve leaders. And God said: “I am with you if you uphold the duty, and render the purity, and believe in My messengers, and support them, and lend to God a goodly loan. I will remove from you your evil deeds, and make you enter gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoso among you denies after that has strayed from the right path.”

So for their violation of their agreement We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They twist words from their places, and have forgotten a portion of that they were reminded of. And thou wilt not cease to find treachery among them save a few among them; but pardon thou them, and forbear thou; God loves the doers of good.

(5:12-13)

Obey the messenger

O you who heed warning: say not: “Attend thou to us,” but say: “Look thou upon us,” and listen; and for the false claimers of guidance is a painful punishment.

Neither those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law nor the idolaters wish that there be sent down upon you any good from your Lord, but God chooses for His mercy whom He wills; and God is possessor of tremendous bounty.

What proof We abolish or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or the like thereof; knowest thou not that God is over all things powerful?

Knowest thou not that God, to Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And you have, besides God, neither ally nor helper.

If you desire to ask your messenger as Moses was asked before: — and whoso exchanges faith for denial has strayed from the right path —

Many among the doctors of the Law wish to turn you back as atheists after your faith out of envy from their souls after the truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forbear until God brings His command; God is over all things powerful.

And uphold the duty, and render the purity; and what good you send ahead for your souls, you will find it with God; God sees what you do.

(2:104-110)

The doctors of the law — the priests of religions — wished to divert the believers from the path of God out of envy. They were aware that the Qur’an was from God but out of spite — and to preserve their status — they denied it. They approached Muhammad with arrogance and questioned him not with a view to learn, but to intimidate. In other words, they were insincere in obeying God. The believers are  being commanded to not follow their example but to uphold the duty of obeying the messenger and to be pure in intention i.e. to come to the messenger of God with a sincere attitude to learn.

Desist from usury

Those who consume usury will not stand save as stands he whom the satan buffets with his touch; for it is that they say: “Commerce is but the same as usury,” when God has made commerce lawful and forbidden usury! And he to whom came the admonition from his Lord, and desisted: he has what is past, and his case is with God. But whoso returns: those are the companions of the Fire; therein they abide eternally.

God eliminates usury, and increases charity; and God loves not every ingrate and sinner.

Those who heed warning and do righteous deeds, and uphold the duty, and render the purity: they have their reward with their Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

O you who heed warning: be in prudent fear of God; and give up what remains of usury, if you be believers.

(2:275-278)

So, for injustice among those who hold to Judaism, We made unlawful to them good things which had been lawful to them, and for their turning away from the path of God much,

And for their taking of usury when they had been forbidden it, and their consuming the wealth of men in vanity; and We have prepared for the false claimers of guidance among them a painful punishment.

But those firm in knowledge and the believers among them believe in what is sent down to thee, and what was sent down before thee, as do the upholders of the duty, and the renderers of the purity, and the believers in God and the Last Day — those will We give a great reward.

(4:160-162)

The duty here is to desist from usury. Those dealing in usury hide behind technicalities by arguing that “commerce is but the same as usury”. The fact of the matter is that they are not being sincere in their duty to desist from usury. 

Uphold the Doctrine

It is not virtue that you turn your faces towards the East and the West. But virtue is: one who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Writ, and the prophets, and gives wealth in spite of love of it to relatives, and the fatherless, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and to manumit slaves; and who upholds the duty, and renders the purity; and those who keep their covenant when they make a covenant; and the patient in affliction and adversity, and during conflict: those are they who are sincere; and it is they who are those of prudent fear.

(2:177)

In the above verse, God is making clear that virtue is not to turn one’s face towards the East and the West but virtue is to believe in the  doctrine of God and to do good works. The mark of an insincere man is that he puts emphasis on outward actions — to impress his peers — instead of actually upholding the commandments of God. Thus, in this instance the duty is to is to uphold the doctrine of God and to be pure in one’s intention to please God alone.

O you who heed warning: whoso among you renounces his doctrine: God will bring a people whom He will love, and who will love Him: humble towards the believers; stern towards the false claimers of guidance; striving in the cause of God, and fearing not the reproach of a critic. That is the bounty of God He gives to whom He wills; and God is encompassing and knowing.

Your ally is but God and His messenger, and those who heed warning — those who uphold the duty, and render the purity; and they are lowly —

And whoso takes God and His messenger and those who heed warning as ally: the party of God, they will be the victors.

O you who heed warning: take not those who take your doctrine in mockery and fun among those given the Writ before you and the atheists as allies; and be in prudent fear of God if you be believers.

And when you call to the duty they take it in mockery and fun, for it is that they are people who do not reason!

(5:54-58)

The duty in this scenario is to uphold the doctrine of God and not to renounce it. The believers must give the purity to the intention of following God’s doctrine alone and not be like those who take His doctrine in mockery and fun.

Uphold the treaty

And when the inviolable months have passed, then kill the idolaters wheresoever you find them, and seize them, and restrain them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and uphold the duty, and render the purity, then let them go their way; God is forgiving and merciful.

And if one of the idolaters seeks thy protection, then grant thou him protection until he hears the words of God; then convey thou him to his place of security — is it not that they are people who know not!

How can there be for the idolaters a covenant with God and with His messenger save those with whom you made a covenant at the inviolable place of worship? — so long as they take a straight path with you, then take a straight path with them; God loves those of prudent fear —

How, when if they get the better of you, they observe neither pact of kinship nor obligation to protect? They please you with their mouths, but their hearts refuse; and most of them are perfidious.

They have sold the proofs of God at a cheap price and turned away from His path; evil is what they did.

And they regard towards a believer neither pact of kinship, nor obligation to protect; and it is they who are the transgressors.

But if they repent, and uphold the duty, and render the purity, then are they your brethren in doctrine; and We set out and detail the proofs for people who know.

And if they renege on their oaths after their covenant and revile your doctrine, then fight the leaders of denial: they have no oaths that they might desist.

Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths, and purposed to turn the Messenger out, and began against you the first time? Do you fear them? Then God is worthier that you should fear Him, if you be believers.

Fight them! God will punish them at your hands and disgrace them, and help you against them, and heal the breasts of people who believe

And remove the wrath of their hearts; and God relents towards whom He wills; and God is knowing and wise.

If you think that you will be left when God knows not those among you who have striven, and have taken — besides God, and His messenger, and the believers — no confidant[…]. And God is aware of what you do.

It is not for the idolaters to inhabit the places of worship of God, bearing witness against themselves to denial; those: their works are vain, and in the Fire do they abide eternally.

He only inhabits the places of worship of God who believes in God and the Last Day, and upholds the duty, and renders the purity, and fears not save God; and it may be that those are of the guided.

(9:5-18)

The duty in this scenario was to sincerely uphold the treaty and protect the other party, something which the idolaters failed to do. However, if they repented and took up their oaths once again and were sincere in upholding them, the believers were to leave them alone.

Obey the messenger

And among them are those who hinder the Prophet, saying: “He is an ear.” Say thou: “An ear of good for you,” — he believes in God, and he believes the believers — “and a mercy for those among you who heed warning.” And those who hinder the messenger of God, for them is a painful punishment.

They swear by God to you to please you; but God and His messenger — worthier is it that they should please Him, if they be believers!

Know they not that whoso works against God and His messenger, for him is the fire of Gehenna, wherein he abides eternally? That is the Tremendous Disgrace.

The waverers fear lest a sūrah be sent down against them, proclaiming what is in their hearts; say thou: “You may mock; God will bring forth what you fear.”

And if thou askest them, they will say: “We were but discoursing vainly and playing.” Say thou: “Was it at God and His proofs and His messenger that you were mocking?”

Make no excuses; you have denied after your faith; if We pardon a number of you, a number of you will We punish because they were lawbreakers.

The wavering men and the wavering women are alike: they enjoin perversity, and they forbid what is fitting, and they close their hands; they have forgotten God, so He has forgotten them. The waverers: they are the perfidious.

And God has promised the wavering men, and the wavering women, and the atheists, the fire of Gehenna, they abiding eternally therein; it is sufficient for them. And God has cursed them; and they have a lasting punishment.

Like those before you, stronger than you in might and greater in wealth and children: they enjoyed their lot. And you have enjoyed your lot as they enjoyed their lot who were before you; and you have discoursed vainly like those discoursed vainly; those: their works are vain in the World and the Hereafter; and it is they who are the losers.

Has not the report of those before them come to them: the people of Noah, and ʿĀd, and Thamūd, and the people of Abraham, and the people of Madyan, and the cities thrown down? Their messengers brought them clear signs; and God wronged them not, but they wronged their souls.

And the believing men and the believing women are allies of one another: they enjoin what is fitting, and forbid perversity, and uphold the duty, and render the purity, and obey God and His messenger; those: God will have mercy on them; God is exalted in might and wise.

And God has promised the believing men and the believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow — they abiding eternally therein — and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and approval from God is greater; that is the Great Achievement.

(9:67-72)

In this scenario, the waverers were hindering the messenger; they were mocking and secretly working against him. Thus the duty here is to obey and help the messenger of God. Again the value of zakat as purity of intention fits perfectly. The believers are being exhorted to be pure in their intention to obey the messenger and to be not like the waverers “who swear by God to please you” while mocking the messenger.

Serve God alone

And We sent not before thee any messenger save We revealed to him that: “There is no god save I; so serve Me.”

(21:25)

And We gave him Isaac, and Jacob in addition; and each We made righteous,

And We made them leaders, guiding by Our command, and revealed to them the doing of good deeds, and the upholding of duty, and the rendering of the purity; and Us they served.

(21:72-73)

This, your community, is one community, and I am your Lord; so serve Me.

But they divided their affair between them; all are returning to Us.

(21:92-93)

The entire theme of Chapter 21 is around serving God alone. Those who divided their affair between them did not have purity of intention; they did not wish to serve God alone.

Fight the aggressors

Hast thou not considered those to whom it was said: “Restrain your hands; and uphold the duty, and render the purity,” but when fighting is prescribed for them, then a faction among them fears men like the fear of God, or a stronger fear? And they said: “Our Lord: why hast Thou prescribed fighting for us? Oh, that Thou wouldst but delay us a little while!” Say thou: “Little is the enjoyment of the World”; and the Hereafter is better for him who is in prudent fear; and you will not be wronged a hair upon a date-stone.

(4:77)

God defends those who heed warning; God loves not every treacherous ingrate.

Leave is given those who are fought because they were wronged: — and God is able to help them —

Those who have been turned out of their homes without cause save that they said: “Our Lord is God.” And were God not to repel some people by means of others, pious communities would be destroyed, and trade, and duties, and places of worship wherein the name of God is remembered much[…]. But God will help him who helps Him: — God is strong and exalted in might —

Those who, if We establish them in the land, uphold the duty and render the purity, and enjoin what is fitting, and forbid perversity; and to God belongs the final outcome of matters.

(22:38-41)

In the above two scenarios, the duty is to fight the aggressors, fearing God alone. To be sincere in upholding this duty means to not fight the enemy half-heartedly but to stand firm and place our trust in God alone. The same theme is repeated in the last verse of this chapter.

And strive for God with the striving due Him. He has chosen you, and has not placed upon you in doctrine any distress — the creed of your father Abraham. He named you those submitting before, and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness to you, and that you might be witnesses to men. So uphold the duty, and render the purity, and hold fast to God; He is your protector. Then excellent is the Protector! And excellent is the Helper!

(22:78)

Glorify and remember God

In houses God has given leave to be raised, and His name to be remembered therein, there give Him glory therein in the mornings and the evenings

Men whom neither trade nor commerce divert from the remembrance of God and upholding the duty and rendering the purity. They fear a day wherein the hearts and the eyes will turn about,

That God might reward them for the best of what they did, and increase them out of His bounty; and God gives provision to whom He wills without reckoning.

(24:36-38)

And uphold the duty and render the purity, and obey the Messenger, that you might obtain mercy.

(24:56)

O you who heed warning: let ask leave of you those whom your right hands possess and those who have not reached puberty among you at three times: before the duty of the dawn, and when you lay aside your garments at noon, and after the duty of the night: three times of nakedness for you; you and they do no wrong beyond them, some of you moving about among others of you. Thus God makes plain to you the proofs; and God is knowing and wise.

(24:58)

The whole of chapter 24 is cut of the same cloth: remembering God and upholding this duty at specific times of the day. Therefore, to give the zakat is to be pure in our intention to remember God being sincere to Him and to let neither “trade nor commerce divert from the remembrance of God”.

Do good works

ṭā sīn Those are the proofs of the Qur’an, and of a Clear Writ

As guidance and glad tidings for the believers,

Those who uphold the duty, and render the purity, and of the Hereafter they are certain.

Those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds fair to them, so they wander blindly.

(27:1-4)

alif lām mīm

Those are the proofs of the Wise Writ

As guidance and mercy for the doers of good:

Those who uphold the duty, and render the purity, and of the Hereafter are certain:

Those are upon guidance from their Lord; and it is they who are the successful.

(31:2-5) 

The duty here is to do good works and to be pure in one’s intention. The elites — the vast majority of whom are idolaters because they serve the idols of power and wealth and deny the Hereafter — commit evil deeds under the guise of good works i.e. they are not pure in their intentions.

Say thou: “I am only a mortal like you. It is revealed to me that your God is One God. So take a straight path to Him, and ask forgiveness of Him!” And woe to the idolaters:

Those who render not the purity, and of the Hereafter they are deniers!

Those who heed warning and do righteous deeds: they have a reward unending.

(41:6-8)

Converse confidentially to promote virtue

Hast thou not considered those who were forbidden private conversation then return to what they were forbidden and converse confidentially in sin and enmity and disobedience to the Messenger? And when they come to thee, they greet thee with a greeting wherewith God never greeted thee; and they say within themselves: “Oh, that God but punished us for what we say!” Sufficient for them is Gehenna: they will burn therein; and evil is the journey’s end!

O you who heed warning: when you converse confidentially, converse not confidentially in sin and enmity, and disobedience to the Messenger, but converse confidentially in virtue and prudent fear. And be in prudent fear of God to whom you will be gathered.

Private conversation is but of the satan, that he might grieve those who heed warning; but he will not harm them at all save by the leave of God. And in God let the believers place their trust.

O you who heed warning: when it is said to you: “Make room in the assemblies,” then make room; God will make room for you. And when it is said: “Arise,” then arise. God will raise those who heed warning and those given knowledge among you in degree. And God is aware of what you do.

O you who heed warning: when you converse confidentially with the Messenger, send ahead charity before your private conversation. That is better for you, and purer. But if you find not the means — God is forgiving and merciful.

Fear you to send ahead charity before your private conversation? Then when you do not — and God has turned towards you — then uphold the duty and render the purity, and obey God and His messenger. And God is aware of what you do.

Hast thou not considered those who take as allies a people with whom God is wroth? They are neither of you nor of them; and they swear to lies, and they know.

God has prepared for them a severe punishment; evil is what they did.

They took their oaths as a cover, and turned away from the path of God; so for them is a humiliating punishment.

Their wealth and their children will avail them nothing against God; those: they are the companions of the Fire, therein they abide eternally.

(58:8-17)

The narrative treats of those who “converse confidentially in sin and enmity and disobedience to the Messenger”. The duty then is to “converse confidentially in virtue and prudent fear”. We see also a reference to those who “took their oaths as a cover” i.e. the hypocrites who pretend to obey the messenger but plot against him in secret. The meaning of zakat as being pure in intention slots in perfectly in this case. The believers are to hold to the duty and to be sincere in it. 

Be modest

O wives of the Prophet: whoso among you commits manifest sexual immorality, for her the punishment is doubled; and that is easy for God.

And whoso among you is humbly obedient to God and His messenger, and works righteousness, We will give her her reward twice over; and We have prepared for her a noble provision.

O wives of the Prophet: you are not like any among women. If you are in prudent fear, then be not soft in speech lest he in whose heart is disease should desire; but speak a fitting word,

And stay within your houses; and display not yourselves with the display of the former time of ignorance; and uphold the duty and render the purity, and obey God and His messenger. God but intends to remove abomination from you — people of the house — and to purify you completely.

And remember what is recited within your houses of the proofs of God and of wisdom; God is subtle and aware.

(33:30-34)

Here the duty is to be modest and to be sincere in it. 

A Hell on earth – Audio only

In this talk, I look at the various agendas that are moving forward while everyone is being distracted by a war.

Line items include:

*vaccine passports

*climate change aka the new green deal

*plant based foods

*electric cars

*inflation

*crypto currency

 *social credit scoring system

Quotes from the Qur’an:

The day We say to Gehenna: “Art thou filled?” And it will say: “Is there any more?”

(50:30)

Is then he who is a believer like him who is perfidious? They are not equal.

As for those who heed warning and do righteous deeds: for them are the Gardens of Shelter as a welcome for what they did.

And as for those who are perfidious: their shelter is the Fire. As often as they desire to come out therefrom, they are brought back into it; and it is said to them: “Taste the punishment of the Fire which you denied!”

And We will let them taste of the lower punishment before the greater, that they might return.

And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of the proofs of his Lord, then turns away therefrom? We will take vengeance on the lawbreakers.

 (32:18-22)

And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its opulent ones, but they are perfidious therein; so the word becomes binding upon it, and We annihilate it utterly.

And how many generations have We destroyed after Noah? And thy Lord suffices as one aware, seeing the transgressions of His servants.

Whoso desires this fleeting life, We hasten for him therein what We will to whom We wish; then have We appointed for him Gehenna wherein he will burn, condemned and banished.

And whoso desires the Hereafter and strives for it as he should, and is a believer — those, their striving is appreciated.

To each do We extend — to these and to those — from the gift of thy Lord; and the gift of thy Lord is not restricted.

See thou how We have preferred some of them over others; but the Hereafter is greater in degrees and greater in preferment.

Make thou not with God another god lest thou sit down condemned and forsaken.  (17:16-22)

God is He who created you; then He provided for you; then will He give you death; then will He give you life. Is there among your partners one who does anything of that? Glory be to Him! And exalted is He above that to which they ascribe a partnership!

Corruption has appeared on land and sea for what the hands of men have earned, that He might let them taste some of what they have done, that they might return.

Say thou: “Travel in the earth and see how was the final outcome of those who were before; most of them were idolaters.”

(30:40-42)

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation by Sam Gerrans

Do your duty! Types of salaat in the Qur’an

The five ritual prayers occupy a central — and, perhaps, the most visible — place in the religion of Islam. Muslims claim that by praying they are simply implementing God’s command to “uphold the salaat.” However, the implementation details of this specialized ritual are not found in the Qur’an. Muslims agree, here, and then argue that it is precisely because the Qur’an does not contain the implementation details of their ritual that they need their non-Qur’anic literature. But is it possible that the Qur’an does not contain the details on how to perform this specialized ritual prayer because it was invented by the architects of the religion of Islam? Could it be that the Qur’an means something else by the command to “uphold the salaat?” Muslims understand salaat to mean a highly specialized ritual performed at specific times in a day while facing the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca. The Qur’an, however, has a very different view of this term.

This article is an excerpt from my book “Will You Not Reason?” which can be downloaded for free here. I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Salaat was enjoined upon all the people of the Writ (those communities given God’s scriptures). The children of Israel and Christians were commanded to uphold the salaat long before the Muslims ever were. God commanded Moses to uphold the salaat in His first meeting with him.

“I am God. There is no god save I, so serve thou Me; and uphold thou the duty (l-salata) for My remembrance:
(20:14)

“Go thou and thy brother with My proofs — and flag not in My remembrance
(20:42)

The Qur’an details Moses’ first encounter with God in two other places and nowhere are the details of a supposed ritual present. Whatever salaat was, the context assumes that Moses knew what it meant. This is evidence that salaat cannot mean a specialized ritual prayer as practiced by Muslims.
The term salaat is mentioned in regards to the messenger Shuʿayb who was clearly warning his community:

And: “O my people: fulfil the measure and the balance with equity, and deprive not men of their possessions, and commit not evil in the earth, working corruption.
“The remainder of God is better for you, if you be believers. And I am not a custodian over you.”
They said: “O Shuʿayb: does thy duty command thee that we leave what our fathers served, or that we do not with our wealth what we will? Thou art the clement, the right-minded!”
(11:85-87)

Yusuf Ali — a traditionalist translator — translates 11:87 as:

They said: “O Shu’aib! Does thy (religion of) prayer command thee that we leave off the worship which our fathers practiced, or that we leave off doing what we like with our property? truly, thou art the one that forbeareth with faults and is right-minded!” (11:87)

Yusuf Ali is aware that the default translation of salaat as ritual prayer ill fits the context and, therefore, adds religion of in brackets in an attempt to paper over this glaring problem. But even then, how can a “religion of prayer” command anyone to warn others? It does not make sense. It is clear from the context that Shuʿayb was warning his people and not performing a ritual prayer. Thus, salaat clearly means something else. Is it possible that salaat — just like islam, hadith or sunnah — is a general term which was corrupted later by the architects of the religion of Islam to mean something highly specific?
After analyzing all instances of salaat in the Qur’an and their surrounding contexts, Sam Gerrans was able to decipher its lost meaning: salaat is an abstract term which simply means duty. The specifics of this duty vary depending upon the surrounding context. It can mean fearing God, remembering God, glorifying God, reciting the Qur’an, obeying God and the Messenger, not hindering the Messenger, feeding the needy etc. In short, salaat, according to the Qur’an, is the duty to implement certain context-dependent actions that we find in the Qur’an. To claim that salaat means a ritual prayer in all and every case leads to absurdities and inconsistencies. Yusuf Ali’s translation follows:

Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)?
Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness),
And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.
So woe to the worshippers
Who are neglectful of their prayers,
Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),
But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.

(107:1-7)

If we consider the above chapter with a Muslim’s assumption that salaat is a ritual prayer instead of duty then we come away with the erroneous understanding that God is condemning those who do not pray. However, if we understand, correctly, that salaat means duty, we see that God is condemning those who do not perform their duty of helping the needy i.e. those who make show and refuses small things. They are heedless of their duty to help the unfortunate and the needy and are miserly with what God has bestowed upon them.

Hast thou seen him who denies the Doctrine?
That is he who repels the fatherless
And encourages not the feeding of the needy.
Then woe to the performers of duty: —
Those who are of their duty heedless;
Those who make show
And refuse small things!

(107:1-7)

What does yusalli mean?

Perhaps the biggest problem with the idea that the salaat means a ritual prayer is that the Qur’an says God performs the salaat for the believers. At this juncture, we see traditional translators abandon the value of salaat as a ritual prayer entirely; it is not befitting for God to perform a ritual prayer — Glory be unto Him! Both of the following verses feature the same Arabic word yusalli but Yusuf Ali is forced to translate it differently due to his preconceived notions about salaat meaning ritual prayer.

He it is Who sends blessings (yusalli) on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers.
(33:43)

While he was standing in prayer (yusalli) in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet, — of the (goodly) company of the righteous.”
(3:39)

I strongly encourage Arabic readers to read the text. In the above two verses, the same word yusalli is used; which literally means he does salaat. How strange, then, that Yusuf Ali translates it as blessings in one and prayer in another. He has to abandon his value of salaat as prayer in reference to God but defaults to it again when it refers to a man. Let us analyze verse 33:43 carefully to see what it really means. God is doing His duty for the believers by bringing them “out of darkness into the light.”

O you who heed warning: remember God with much remembrance,
And give glory to Him morning and evening.
He it is that performs the duty for you, as do His angels, that He might bring you out of darkness into the light; and He is merciful to the believers.
(33:43)

He it is that sends down to His servant clear proofs, that He might bring you out of darkness into the light; and God is to you kind and merciful.
(57:9)

A messenger reciting to you the manifest proofs of God, that He might bring forth those who heed warning and do righteous deeds out of darkness into the light. And whoso believes in God and works righteousness — He will make him enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, they abiding eternally therein forever. God has made good for him his provision. (65:11)

It is clear from the verses above that God is performing His duty to bring believers from the darkness into light; He is helping them on the path towards salvation. This is the plain reading of the Qur’an. The following are verses grouped together according to the type of duty.

Serve God alone

And when his Lord tried Abraham with words and he fulfilled them, He said: “I will make thee a leader for mankind.” Said he: “And of my progeny?” He said: “My covenant does not reach the wrongdoers.”
And when We made the house a meeting place for mankind, and a place of security — and make from the station of Abraham a place of duty — and We made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael: “Purify My house for those who walk around, and those who remain, and the lowly and the submitting.”
(2:124-125)

Say thou: “As for me, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right doctrine, the creed of Abraham, inclining to truth; and he was not of the idolaters.”
Say thou: “My duty and my penance and my living and my dying are for God, the Lord of All Creation.
“He has no partner, and that have I been commanded; and I am the first of those submitting.”
Say thou: “Is it other than God I should desire as Lord when He is Lord of all things?” And every soul earns not save for itself, and no bearer bears the burden of another; then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you of that wherein you differed.
And He it is that made you the successors of the earth, and raised some of you above others in degree, that He might try you by what He has given you. Thy Lord is swift in retribution; and He is forgiving and merciful.
(6:161-165)

And they made equals to God, that they might lead astray from His path. Say thou: “Enjoy yourselves, for your journey’s end is the Fire.”
Say thou to My servants who heed warning, that they uphold the duty, and spend of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, before there comes a day wherein there is neither bargaining nor friendship.
(14:30-31)

(And when Abraham said: “My Lord: make Thou this land secure; and preserve Thou me and my sons from serving idols.
“My Lord: they have led astray many among mankind. But whoso follows me, he is of me; and whoso disobeys me: Thou art forgiving and merciful.
“Our Lord: I have settled some of my progeny in an uncultivated valley by Thy inviolable house, our Lord, that they uphold the duty; so make Thou hearts among men incline towards them, and provide Thou them some fruits, that they might be grateful.
“Our Lord: Thou knowest what we hide, and what we make known; and nothing is hidden from God in the earth or in the heaven.
(14:35-38)

He said: “I am the servant of God; He has given me the Writ, and made me a prophet,
“And made me blessed wherever I be — and enjoined upon me the duty and the purity as long as I live —
“And dutiful to my mother; and He has not made me arrogant or wretched.
“And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!
(19:30-33)

Remember and Glorify God

So remember Me, I will remember you; and be grateful to Me, and deny Me not.
O you who heed warning: seek help in patience and duty; God is with the patient.
(2:152-153)

Preserve the duties — and the median duty — and stand up for God, humbly obedient;
And if you fear, then walking or riding. But when you are secure, then remember God as He taught you what you knew not.
(2:238-239)

And when you are travelling in the earth, you do no wrong to cut short some of the duty if you fear that those who ignore warning will subject you to means of denial — the false claimers of guidance are an open enemy to you —
And when thou art among them, uphold thou the duty for them; then let there stand a number of them with thee, and let them take their arms; then when they have submitted, let them be behind you and let another number come that has not performed the duty, and let them perform the duty with thee; and let them take their precautions and their arms. (Those who ignore warning wish that you would neglect your arms and your equipment, so they might assault you in a single assault; but you do no wrong if there is a hindrance to you from rain or you are sick, that you lay aside your arms; but take your precautions: God has prepared for the false claimers of guidance a humiliating punishment.)
And when you have concluded the duty, remember God standing, and sitting, and upon your sides, and when you are at ease; but uphold the duty — the duty is upon the believers a time-limited Writ —
(4:101-103)

The waverers seek to deceive God, but He is deceiving them; and when they rise up for the duty, they rise up to be seen of men, and remember not God save a little,
Wavering in-between — neither to these, nor to those; and he whom God causes to go astray, thou wilt not find for him a path.
(4:142-143)

O you who heed warning: when you rise up for the duty: wash your faces, and your hands to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankles. And if you are unclean, purify yourselves. And if you were ill, or on a journey, or one of you came from the privy, or you have lain with women, then find not water: resort to clean soil, and wipe your faces and your hands with it. God wishes not to place any distress upon you; but He wishes to purify you and to complete His favour upon you, that you might be grateful.
And remember the favour of God upon you, and His agreement which He agreed with you, when you said: “We hear and we obey.” And be in prudent fear of God; God knows what is in the breasts.
(5:6-7)

O you who heed warning: wine, and games of chance, and altars, and divining arrows are an abomination of the work of the satan; so avoid it, that you might be successful.
The satan but wishes to cause between you enmity and hatred in wine and the games of chance, and to turn you away from the remembrance of God and from the duty; so will you not desist?
And obey God and obey the Messenger, and beware; but if you turn away, then know that upon Our messenger is only the clear notification.
(5:90-92)

But how can they not be punished by God when they turn away from the inviolable place of worship, and are not its allies? Its allies are only those of prudent fear; but most of them know not.
And their duty at the house is only whistling and clapping — so taste the punishment for what you denied!
(8:34-35)

And uphold thou the duty at the two ends of the day, and at an approach of the night: good deeds take away evil deeds! — that is a reminder for those who remember
And be thou patient, for God causes not to be lost the reward of the doers of good.
Oh, that among the generations before you there had but been a remnant forbidding corruption in the land save a few whom We saved among them! But those who did wrong followed what they had been given therein of opulence, and were lawbreakers.
(11:114-116)

And has there come to thee the story of Moses?
When he saw a fire, and said to his people: “Stay here; I perceive a fire. I might bring you therefrom a firebrand, or find at the fire guidance.”
And when he came to it, he was called: “O Moses:
“I am thy Lord; so remove thou thy sandals; thou art in the sacred valley of Ṭuwa.
“And I have chosen thee, so hearken thou to what is revealed:
I am God. There is no god save I, so serve thou Me; and uphold thou the duty for My remembrance:
“The Hour is coming — I almost conceal it — that every soul might be rewarded for that for which it strives;
“And let not turn thee away from it him who believes not in it but follows his vain desire, or thou wilt perish.
(20:9-16)

So be thou patient over what they say, and give thou glory with the praise of thy Lord before the rising of the sun, and before its setting. And some periods of the night give thou glory; and at the ends of the day, that thou mightest be satisfied.
And extend thou not thine eyes towards what We have granted some among them to enjoy — the flower of the life of this world — that We might subject them to means of denial therein; and the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.
And enjoin thou upon thy people the duty, and be thou steadfast therein. We ask thee not for provision; We provide for thee. And the final outcome is for those of prudent fear.
(20:130-132)

And for every community We appointed a rite: that they remember the name of God over what He has provided them of livestock cattle. And your God is One God; so submit to Him. And bear thou glad tidings to the humble:
Whose hearts are afraid when God is remembered, and those patient over what befalls them, and who uphold the duty, and of what We have provided them they spend.
And the camels: We appointed them for you among the tokens of God; for you in them is good. So remember the name of God over them when they are in lines; and when their flanks collapse, eat thereof and feed the reticent poor and the beggar. Thus have We made them subject for you, that you might be grateful.
Their flesh does not reach God, nor their blood. But prudent fear reaches Him from you. Thus have We made them subject for you, that you might magnify God for guiding you. And bear thou glad tidings to the doers of good.
(22:34-37)

Successful are the believers:
Those who in their duty are humble,
And those who from vain speech turn away,
And those who act upon the purity.
(23:1-4)

Dost thou not see that God, to Him gives glory whoso is in the heavens and the earth, and the birds with wings outstretched? Each, he knows his duty and his glorification; and God knows what they do.
(24:41)

O you who heed warning: when the call is heard for the duty of the day of assembly, then hasten to the remembrance of God, and leave commerce; that is better for you, if you but knew.
And when the duty is concluded, disperse in the land, and seek of the bounty of God; and remember God much that you might be successful.
(62:9-10)

So remind thou; if the reminder should benefit
He will take heed who fears.
But the most wretched will avoid it,

Who will burn in the Great Fire,
Then will he neither die therein nor live.
He is successful who has purified himself,
And remembers the name of his Lord and performs the duty.
(87:14-15)

God’s duties

Who, when calamity befalls them, say: “We belong to God, and to Him are we returning.”
Upon those are duties and mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are the guided.
(2:156-157)

Believe in the Doctrine

alif lām mīm
That is the Writ about which there is no doubt, a guidance to those of prudent fear:
Those who believe in the Unseen, and uphold the duty, and of what We have provided them they spend;
And those who believe in what was sent down to thee, and what was sent down before thee, and of the Hereafter they are certain:
Those are upon guidance from their Lord; and it is they who are the successful.
(2:1-5)

And this is a Writ We have sent down, one blessed, confirming what was before it, and that thou warn the mother of cities and those around her; and those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they preserve their duty.
(6:92)

So set thou thy face towards the doctrine, inclining to truth: — the nature of God with which He created people — (there is no changing the creation of God) that is the right doctrine, (but most men know not)
Turning in repentance to Him. And be in prudent fear of Him, and uphold the duty; and be not of the idolaters:
Of those who divide their doctrine and become sects, each party exulting at what it has.
(30:30-32)

Leave thou Me with him whom I created alone,
And appointed for him wealth extended,
And sons present,
And spread before him ease.
Then hopes he that I should add more.
No, indeed! He was towards Our proofs obstinate.
I will burden him with a steep ascent.
He considered and determined,
(Damned be how he determined!
Then damned be how he determined!)
Then looked,
Then frowned and scowled,
Then turned away and waxed proud
And said: “This is only sorcery handed down.
“This is only the speech of a mortal.”
I will burn him in Saqar.


“What brought you into Saqar?”
They will say: “We were not among the performers of duty,

“And we fed not the needy.
“And we discoursed vainly with those who discourse vainly,
“And denied the Day of Judgment
“Until the Certainty came to us.” (74:11-26, 74:42-47)
To thy Lord, that day, will be the driving.
For he neither gave credence, nor performed the duty,
But denied and turned away

Then went to his household in arrogance.
(75:30-33)

Call to God

He makes the night enter into the day, and makes the day enter into the night, and He made subject the sun and the moon, each running for a stated term. That is God, your Lord: to Him belongs the dominion; and those to whom you call, besides Him, possess not the skin of a date-stone.
If you call to them, they will not hear your call; and were they to hear, they would not respond to you.
And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your ascription of partnership. And none can inform thee like One Aware.
O mankind: you are in need of God; and God, He is the Free from Need, the Praiseworthy.
If He wills, He will remove you and bring a new creation;
And that is for God not difficult.
And no bearer bears the burden of another. And if one heavy-laden should call to his burden, nothing of it will be carried, though he be a relative. Thou but warnest those who fear their Lord unseen and uphold the duty. And he who purifies himself: he but purifies himself for his soul. And to God is the journey’s end.
(35:13-18)

Thereupon Zachariah called to his Lord, saying: “My Lord: give Thou me from Thyself goodly progeny; Thou art the hearer of supplication.”
And the angels called to him as he stood performing the duty in the chamber:
“God gives thee glad tidings of John, confirming a word from God, both honourable and chaste, and a prophet among the righteous.”
(3:38-39)

Say thou: “Shall we call, rather than to God, to what neither profits us nor harms us, and be turned back on our heels after God has guided us? — like one whom the satans seduce in the earth, lost in confusion, he having companions inviting him to guidance: ‘Come thou to us!’” Say thou: “The guidance of God, that is guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of All Creation”;
And: “Uphold the duty, and be in prudent fear of Him”; and He it is to whom you will be gathered.
(6:71-72)

And We instructed Moses and his brother: “Settle your people in Egypt in houses, and make your houses a destination; and uphold the duty; and bear thou glad tidings to the believers.”
And Moses said: “Our Lord: Thou hast given Pharaoh and his eminent ones adornment and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord, that they might lead astray from Thy path. Our Lord: destroy Thou their wealth, and harden Thou their hearts, so that they believe not until they see the painful punishment.”
He said: “Your supplication has been answered;
so take a straight path, and follow not the path of those who know not.”
(10:87-89)

“Praise belongs to God who has given me in old age Ishmael and Isaac! My Lord is the hearer of supplication.
“My Lord: make Thou me one upholding the duty, and of my progeny, our Lord, and accept Thou my supplication.

“Our Lord: forgive Thou me, and my parents, and the believers, the day the reckoning takes place.”)
(14:39-41)

Say thou: “Call to God, or call to the Almighty; by whichever you call, to Him belong the most beautiful names.” And be thou not loud in thy duty, nor quiet therein, but follow thou a path in-between,
And say thou: “Praise belongs to God who has not taken a son, and who has no partner in dominion, nor ally from weakness,” and magnify thou Him with glorification.
(17:110-111)

O you who heed warning: let ask leave of you those whom your right hands possess and those who have not reached puberty among you at three times: before the duty of the dawn, and when you lay aside your garments at noon, and after the duty of the night: three times of nakedness for you; you and they do no wrong beyond them, some of you moving about among others of you. Thus God makes plain to you the proofs; and God is knowing and wise.
(24:58)

Recite the Writ

O you who heed warning: approach not the duty when you are intoxicated until you understand what you say; nor when you are unclean (save passing by upon the path), until you wash. And if you were ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have lain with women, then find not water: resort to clean soil, and wipe your faces and your hands; God is pardoning and forgiving.
Hast thou not considered those given a portion of the Writ, purchasing error and desiring to make you stray from the path?
And God best knows your enemies; and sufficient is God as ally; and sufficient is God as helper.
Some of those who hold to Judaism twist words from their places, — and they say: “We hear and we oppose”; and: “Hear thou what is not heard”; and: “Attend thou to us!” — twisting their tongues, and slandering the doctrine. And had they said: “We hear and we obey”; and: “Hear thou”; and: “Look thou upon us,” it would have been better for them, and more upright; but God has cursed them for their denial; and they do not believe save a few.
(4:43-46)

And there followed after them successors who inherited the Writ, taking the goods of this fleeting life, and saying: “It will be forgiven us.” And if there come to them goods the like thereof, they will take them. Has there not been taken from them an agreement to the Writ, that they ascribe not to God save the truth, and that they study what is therein? And the abode of the Hereafter is better for those of prudent fear. Will you then not use reason!
And those who hold fast the Writ, and uphold the duty — We cause not to be lost the reward of those who do right.
And when We raised the mountain above them as if it were a canopy: — and they supposed it was to fall upon them — “Hold fast what We give you; and remember what is therein, that you might be in prudent fear.”
(7:169-171)

Uphold thou the duty at the merging of the sun until the dark of night, and the recitation of dawn — the recitation of dawn is witnessed —
And some of the night, keep thou vigil with it, as an addition for thee; it may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised station.
And say thou: “My Lord: cause Thou me to enter at a true entrance, and to leave at a true exit; and appoint Thou for me from Thyself a helping authority.”
And say thou: “Truth has come, and vanity has passed away; vanity is to pass away.”
(17:78-81)

Those are they whom God favoured among the prophets of the progeny of Adam, and of those We bore with Noah, and of the progeny of Abraham and Israel, and of those We guided and chose. When the proofs of the Almighty were recited to them, they fell down in submission weeping.
But there succeeded them successors who caused the duty to be lost, and followed lusts;
they will meet with error
Save he who repents and believes and works righteousness, for those will enter the Garden, and they will not be wronged in anything:
(19:58-60)

Recite thou what has been revealed to thee of the Writ, and uphold thou the duty; the duty forbids sexual immorality and perversity; and the remembrance of God is greater; and God knows what you do.
(29:45)

Those who recite the Writ of God and uphold the duty and spend of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, expect a trade that perishes not,
That He will pay their rewards in full, and increase them out of His bounty; He is forgiving and appreciative.
And that which We revealed to thee of the Writ: it is the truth, confirming what was before it; God is of His servants aware and seeing.
(35:29-31)

Fight in the cause of God

Had they gone forth with you, they would have increased you only in ruin, and been active in your midst seeking means of denial for you; and among you are eager listeners to them; and God knows the wrongdoers.
They sought the means of denial before, and overturned matters for thee, until the truth came and the command of God was made manifest when they were averse.
And among them is he who says: “Grant thou me leave, and subject thou me not to means of denial.” Save into the means of denial have they fallen; and Gehenna encompasses the false claimers of guidance.
If good befalls thee, it vexes them; but if calamity befalls thee, they say: “We took our command before,” and they turn away, exulting.
Say thou: “Nothing befalls us save what God has prescribed for us; He is our protector”; and in God let the believers place their trust.
Say thou: “Do you await for us save one of the two best things? And we await for you, that God will afflict you with a punishment from Him or at our hands. So wait — we are with you waiting.”
Say thou: “Spend willingly or unwillingly, it will not be accepted from you; you are perfidious people.”
And there prevents their expenditures being accepted from them only that they denied God and His messenger, and come not to the duty save as idlers, and spend not save unwillingly.
(9:47-54)

And what you have been given of anything is the enjoyment of the life of this world; but what is with God is better and more enduring for those who heed warning and in their Lord place their trust,
And those who avoid the enormities of sin and sexual immoralities, and when wroth they forgive,
And those who respond to their Lord, and uphold the duty, and their affair is by consultation between them, and of what We have provided them they spend.
And those who, when sectarian zealotry befalls them, help themselves:
(And the reward of evil is evil the like thereof;
but whoso pardons and makes right, his reward is upon God; He loves not the wrongdoers.
And whoso helps himself after being wronged, those: there is no path against them.
There is but a path against those who wrong men and oppress in the earth without cause:
those have a painful punishment.)
(42:36-42)

Take witnesses when death approaches

O you who heed warning: a witness between you when death approaches one of you at the time of bequest is two just men among you; or two others from other than yourselves if you are travelling in the earth when the calamity of death befalls you. Detain them after the duty, and they shall swear by God, if you doubt: “We would not sell it for a price, though he were a relative, nor will we conceal the witness of God; then would we be among the sinners.”
(5:106)

Submit to God

Hast thou seen him who forbids
A servant when he performs the duty?

Hast thou considered if he is upon guidance,
Or enjoins prudent fear?
Hast thou considered if he denies and turns away?
Knows he not that God sees?
No, indeed! If he cease not, We will drag him by the forelock,
The lying, offending forelock.
Then let him call his council.
We will call the guards of Hell.
No, indeed! Obey thou not him, but submit thou, and draw thou near.
(96:9-19)

Observe your pacts

And remember thou in the Writ Ishmael: — He was true to the promise — and he was a messenger and a prophet;
He enjoined upon his people the duty and the purity, and was pleasing in the sight of his Lord.
(19:54-55)

The Messenger had duties

And perform thou not the duty for any among them that dies ever, nor stand thou over his grave; they denied God and His messenger, and died while they were perfidious. (9:84)
And among the desert Arabs is he who takes what he spends as a loss, and awaits reversals for you; for them is the Evil Reversal; and God is hearing and knowing.
And among the desert Arabs is he who believes in God and the Last Day, and takes what he spends as a means of nearness to God and the duties of the Messenger. In truth, it is a means of nearness for them: God will make them enter into His mercy; God is forgiving and merciful.
(9:98-99)

Take thou charity of their wealth to cleanse them, and to increase them in purity thereby; and perform thou the duty befitting them; thy duties are an assuagement for them; and God is hearing and knowing.
(9:103)

General Duties

Those who have been turned out of their homes without cause save that they said: “Our Lord is God.” And were God not to repel some people by means of others, pious communities would be destroyed, and trade, and duties, and places of worship wherein the name of God is remembered much[…]. But God will help him who helps Him: — God is strong and exalted in might —
(22:40)

And those who from vain speech turn away,
And those who act upon the purity.
And those who preserve their chastity

Save with their wives or what their right hands possess, then are they not blameworthy;
— But whoso seeks beyond that: it is they who are the transgressors —
And those who attend to their trusts and their covenant,
And those who preserve their duties:

It is they who are the heirs,
Those who inherit Paradise; therein will they abide eternally.
(23:3-11)

Obey God and the Messenger

They ask thee about the spoils of war. Say thou: “The spoils of war are for God and the Messenger; so be in prudent fear of God, and make right in what is between you; and obey God and His messenger, if you be believers.”
The believers are but those who when God is remembered, their hearts are afraid, and when His proofs are recited to them, it increases them in faith, and in their Lord they place their trust,
Those who uphold the duty, and of what We have provided them they spend:
It is they who are the believers in truth; they have degrees with their Lord, and forgiveness, and a noble provision
(8:1-4)

God and His angels perform the duty for the Prophet. O you who heed warning: perform the duty for him and greet with a salutation.
Those who hinder God and His messenger: God has cursed them in the World and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment.
And those who hinder believing men and believing women with what they have not earned: they bear a calumny and obvious sin. (33:56-58)

Be grateful

And We gave Luqmān wisdom: “Be thou grateful to God.” And whoso is grateful, he is but grateful for his soul; and whoso denies — God is free from need and praiseworthy.
And when Luqmān said to his son, while he exhorted him: “O my son: ascribe thou not a partnership to God; ascribing partnership is a tremendous injustice.”
And We enjoined upon man concerning his parents: — his mother bore him in weakness upon weakness; and his weaning is in two years — “Be thou grateful to Me, and to thy parents; unto Me is the journey’s end.
“But if they strive with thee to make thee ascribe a partnership to that of which thou hast no knowledge, then obey thou them not. And accompany thou them in the World according to what is fitting; but follow thou the path of him who turns to Me. Then to Me is your return, and I will tell you what you did.”
“O my son: though it be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and it be in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, God will bring it forth; God is subtle and aware.”
“O my son: uphold thou the duty, and enjoin thou what is fitting, and forbid thou perversity, and be thou patient over what befalls thee; that is among the resolution of affairs.
“And turn thou not thy cheek to men, and walk thou not in the earth haughtily; God loves not every conceited boaster.
“And be thou modest in thy walk, and lower thou thy voice; the most loathsome of voices is the voice of the donkey.”
(31:12-19)

Be modest

And are those who confirm the Day of Judgment,
And are those who, of the punishment of their Lord, are in dread,
(The punishment of their Lord is not that from which there is safety)
And are those who preserve their chastity
Save with their wives, or what their right hands possess — for then are they not blameworthy,
(But whoso seeks beyond that: it is they who are the transgressors)
And are those who are to their trusts and their covenant attentive,
And are those who, in their witness, are upright,
And are those who preserve their duty:
Those are in gardens, honoured.
(70:26-35)

Feed the needy

No, indeed! It is a blazing fire,
Removing the scalp,
Calling him who turned and went away
And gathered and hoarded.
Man was created anxious
— When evil touches him, impatient,
And when good touches him, withholding —
Save the performers of duty:
Those who are constant in their duty,
And those in whose wealth is a due known
For the petitioner and the one deprived,

(70:15-25)

Devote yourself to God

We have given thee abundance,
So perform thou the duty to thy Lord, and attain thou mastery.
He that hates thee — he is the one cut off. (108:1-3)

Islam vs. Submission to God

In today’s article we will look at the word al-islam in the Qur’an. Muslims claim that this word is referring to the religion of Islam. But if we really investigate the usage of this word in the Qur’an we realize that it simply means submission to God. Am I saying that billions of Muslims are wrong? The short answer is yes and the Qur’an confirms this to be the case:

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.

And perfected is the word of thy Lord in truth and justice; there is none to change His words; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.

(6:114-116)

Prophet Muhammad’s statement on the Day of Judgment

Let us begin by considering the statement of prophet Muhammad on the Day of Judgment regarding the people he was sent to.

And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord: my people took this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.”

(25:30)

The religion of Islam

I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Muslims claim that their religion is the only religion accepted by God and those who do not convert to their religion will not enter Paradise in the Hereafter. They advance the following verse in support of their argument:

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account. (3:19)

In this translation by Saheeh International (which is a typical translation) it is understood that Allah (which is God in Arabic) will only accept the religion of Islam — by which they mean the Sunni flavor of the religion of Islam with its invented 5 pillars. It is ironic that they fail to realize that the latter part of the verse is talking about them; that those who were given the Scripture (which now includes Muslims as well) differed after knowledge has come to them due to jealousy i.e. people who were given the Qur’an (God’s Scripture) have differed among themselves due to jealousy and have invented an entire separate religion called Islam with its various sects such as the Sunni and Shia sects.

Here is a neutral translation of this verse:

The doctrine with God is submission. And those given the Writ differed only after knowledge had come to them, through sectarian zealotry between them; and whoso denies the proofs of God — then is God swift in reckoning.

(3:19)

Now, here is another verse that talks about the breaking off the people of the Scripture into sects:

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters were not to desist until the clear evidence came to them:

A messenger from God, reciting purified pages

In which are upright writs.

And those given the Writ were divided only after the clear evidence had come to them.

And they were commanded only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.

(98:1-5)

So, those who were given the Scripture “were commanded to only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.” They were not commanded to establish a separate religion called Islam with its invented 5 pillars. And they were not commanded to set up a stone idol in Mecca and make it a focus of their ritual prayer. Nor were they commanded to bow, prostrate and circle this idol. 

We can verify that the arabic word al-islam ( الْإِسْلَامِ ) which Muslims claim to mean the religion of Islam is not how the Qur’an uses this word. The Qur’an uses it in a general sense to mean submission to God. This word occurs in 5 other places in the Qur’an.

Is it then other than the doctrine of God they seek, when to Him has submitted whoso is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned?

Say thou: “We believe in God, and what has been sent down upon us, and what was sent down upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the Grandsons; and what was given to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no division between any of them, and to Him we are submitting.”

And whoso seeks a doctrine other than submission الْإِسْلَامِ, it will not be accepted from him; and he in the Hereafter will be among the losers.

How will God guide a people who denied after their faith, and had borne witness that the Messenger is true, and clear signs had come to them? And God guides not the wrongdoing people.

(3:83-86)

O you who heed warning: fulfil contracts. Made lawful for you is grazing livestock save what is recited to you, hunting not being permitted when you are forbidden; God ordains what He wills.

O you who heed warning: violate not the tokens of God, nor the inviolable month, nor the offering, nor the necklaces, nor the visitors to the inviolable house seeking the favour of their Lord and approval. And when you are permitted, then you may hunt. And let not hatred of a people who turned you away from the inviolable place of worship move you to commit injustice. And assist one another to virtue and prudent fear; and assist not one another in sin and enmity. And be in prudent fear of God; God is severe in retribution.

Forbidden to you is carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that dedicated to other than God, and the strangled, and the beaten, and the fallen, and the gored, and that eaten by the beast of prey save what you slaughter, and that sacrificed upon the altar, and that you seek apportionment by divining arrows — that is perfidy — (this day have those who ignore warning despaired of your doctrine, so fear them not, but fear Me; this day have I perfected for you your doctrine and completed My favour upon you, and approved for you submission الْإِسْلَامَ as doctrine) but whoso is compelled by hunger, without inclination to sin — God is forgiving and merciful.

They ask thee what is made lawful for them. Say thou: “Made lawful for you are good things; and what you have trained of animals of prey as trainers teaching them of what God taught you — eat of what they catch for you, and remember the name of God over it. And be in prudent fear of God; God is swift in reckoning.”

This day are good things made lawful for you; and the food of those given the Writ is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them, as are chaste women among the believing women and chaste women among those given the Writ before you, when you have given them their dowries, being chaste and not fornicators, nor taking secret friends. And whoso denies the faith: his work has been in vain, and he in the Hereafter is among the losers.

(5:1-5)

And whom God wills to guide, He expands his breast towards submission لِلْإِسْلَامِ; and whom He wills to lead astray, He makes his breast constricted, distressed, as if he were ascending into the sky; thus does God appoint abomination for those who do not believe.

And this is the path of thy Lord, one straight; We have set out and detailed the proofs for people who take heed;

(6:125-126)

Is then he whose breast God has expanded to submission لِلْإِسْلَامِ so that he follows light from His Lord[…]? Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of God! Those are in manifest error.

God has sent down the best narration: a Writ of paired comparison whereat shiver the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of God — that is the guidance of God wherewith He guides whom He wills;and whom God sends astray, for him there is no guide.

(39:22-23)

And who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, when he is invited to submission الْإِسْلَامِ? And God guides not the wrongdoing people.

They want to extinguish the light of God with their mouths; but God will perfect His light, though the false claimers of guidance be averse.

He it is that sent His messenger with the guidance and the doctrine of truth that He might make it manifest over all doctrine, though the idolaters be averse.

(61:7-9)

All man-made religions are the same

Any man who has dispassionately looked at major world religions will see that they all share a common theme.

  • They require a belief in a deity or deities. This may be one God (monotheism), many gods (polytheism), or no god (atheism). 
  • They comprise a religious class tasked with explaining complicated instructions and presiding over rituals. They claim to have access to specialized knowledge to which the masses are not privy. In the case of atheism, the religious class are the scientists. 
  • The religious class cannot be questioned by the masses about their interpretation of the holy texts. Their judgment is final. 
  • The specific deity of each religion requires the performance of specific rituals and sacrifices to appease it.
  • All followers are required to give some money (tax, tithe or zakat) which goes towards the maintenance of religious institutions, paying the salaries of the religious class, and helping the needy.

The above points are clear to any thinking man. However, what is surprising is that the Qur’an does not contain the blueprint of a religion. We are neither required to start or join a religion. The One True God calls us to believe in Him and the Last Day, and to do good works.

(Those who heed warning, and those who hold to Judaism, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans — whoso believes in God and the Last Day and works righteousness — they have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.)

(2:62)

And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”

Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

And the Rabbinic Jews say: “The Christians have nothing to stand upon,” and the Christians say: “The Rabbinic Jews have nothing to stand upon,” when they read the Writ; thus say those who know not likewise. And God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differed.

(2:111-113)

And never will the Rabbinic Jews be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, until thou follow their creed; say thou: “The guidance of God, that is guidance”; and if thou follow their vain desires after the knowledge which has come to thee, thou wilt have against God neither ally nor helper.

(2:120)

God’s Straight Path

God outlines simple and clear rules for a sincere man who wishes to serve Him alone. A consistent and reasonable application of these rules contributes to moral individual development and a collective just society. In contrast, the performance of empty rituals — inherent in all religions — are of no benefit to an individual or society; they are a diversion. The ruling elite invented these rituals to keep people busy performing useless rituals. Naturally, if men were to follow God’s call of purifying themselves and standing up against the rampant corruption, oppression and injustice around them, they would threaten the elites’ exploitative system.

All of God’s messengers were sent to warn their respective communities. They exhorted their people to shun idols and believe in the One God and turn away from evil deeds. 

So remind thou; if the reminder should benefit

He will take heed who fears.

But the most wretched will avoid it,

Who will burn in the Great Fire,

Then will he neither die therein nor live.

He is successful who has purified himself,

And remembers the name of his Lord and performs the duty.

The truth is, you prefer the life of this world

When the Hereafter is better and more enduring.

This is in the former scriptures,

The scriptures of Abraham and Moses.

(87:9-19)

The straight path of God is simple. All men are exhorted to follow this straight path if they want to attain salvation.

The Straight Path in the Qur’an

Say thou: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has made unlawful for you: that you ascribe a partnership with Him ­­to anything (while towards parents good conduct); and kill not your children out of poverty,” — We will provide for you and for them — “and approach not sexual immoralities, whether open or concealed; and kill not the soul which God has made unlawful save with justice; ­— that He enjoined upon you, that you might use reason.

“And approach not the property of the fatherless save with what is better before he reaches his maturity; and fulfil the measure and the balance with equity,” — We burden not any soul save to its capacity —  “and when you speak, be just (though he be a relative); and the covenant of God fulfil; — that He commanded you, that you might take heed.”

And this is My straight path, so follow it; and follow not other ways, for they will separate you from His path; — “that He commanded you, that you might be in prudent fear.”

(6:151-153)

Complicated Rules

Religions confuse their followers by imposing complicated rules and regulations. This results in an explosion of priests, rabbis, muftis and imams whose sole job is to issue edicts and clarifications on the implementation of God’s supposed complicated rules. While they themselves make an easy living. The Qur’an exposes this tactic with a rhetorical discussion.

And they make for God, of what He creates of tilth and cattle, a portion; they say: “This is for God,” — according to their claim — “and this is for our partners”. And what is for their partners, it does not reach God; and what is for God, it reaches their partners. Evil is what they judge.

(6:136)

“Eight pairs: of sheep two and of goats two––” Say thou: “Is it the two males He has forbidden or the two females? If what the wombs of the two females contain: inform me with knowledge, if you be truthful.”

“And of camels two and of oxen two––” Say thou: “Is it the two males He has forbidden or the two females? If what the wombs of the two females contain: — or if you were witnesses when God enjoined this upon you: — then who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, that he might lead people astray without knowledge? God guides not the wrongdoing people.”

(6:143-144)

Warning to the Religious Class

All religions have a religious class which claims to be a mouthpiece for God. Its members dress up in ridiculous clothes and finery. Why does a priest wear a robe? Why does a king wear a crown? Why does a judge wear a ceremonial gown? We must look at their motives. Men are impressed by appearances and outward show. Intelligent men know that the populace is not swayed by reason and logic; far more potent is the display of power and prestige. 

Our rulers understand well the fears and desires of their subjects. People long to be told what to do by someone in authority. They are afraid of exercising the awesome responsibility of using their God-given reason. They want someone to blame for their condition in life. Men in power play upon these base emotions of fear and wonder to control the crowd. 

O you who heed warning: many among the rabbis and the religious scholars consume the wealth of men in vanity, and turn away from the path of God. And those who amass gold and silver and spend it not in the cause of God: give thou them tidings of a painful punishment: —

(9:34)

A priest uses bits of Latin during mass. An imam uses Arabic catchphrases in his sermon to an English audience. Why do they not speak plainly? There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they want to impress their listeners with their command of a holy language. Secondly, by using these foreign words, they become interpreters of their meaning. This is very important. It is precisely because of the masses’ ignorance of the meanings of key terms in the Qur’an that the elites were able to graft an entirely alien religion onto the Qur’an. 

This is not exclusive to the domain of religion. Economists use complicated jargon when justifying over their system of exploitation and usury. Every scam has such experts whose job is to deceive men into thinking that it is for their benefit. The masses are simply in awe of them and submit to their decorated speech unquestioningly.

And thus have We appointed for every prophet an enemy — satans of servi and domini — instructing one another in the decoration of speech as delusion, (and had thy Lord willed, they would not have done it; so leave thou them and what they fabricate)

And that the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter might incline thereto, and be pleased therewith, and that they might commit what they are committing.

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.

(6:112-114)

Most of what these religious scholars speak is falsehood. A thinking man would do well to avoid them entirely. Telling the truth to the masses is of no benefit to them. If men were told that God has sent down a plain and clear book ordaining His simple laws, which can be grasped and applied by anyone, then there would be no need for these charlatans. These religious scholars need people to believe that God’s scripture is inscrutable and difficult to comprehend. Religious scholars are professional deceivers. 

Many among the doctors of the Law wish to turn you back as atheists after your faith out of envy from their souls after the truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forbear until God brings His command; God is over all things powerful.

(2:109)

A number of the doctors of the Law would love to lead you astray; and they lead astray only themselves, and they perceive not.

O doctors of the Law: why deny you the proofs of God, when you are bearing witness?

O doctors of the Law: why clothe you the truth in vanity and conceal the truth, when you know?

(3:69-71)

And among them a faction distorts the Writ with their tongues, that you might think it from the Writ, but it is not from the Writ. And they say: “It is from God,” but it is not from God. And they ascribe the lie to God, when they know.

(3:78)

The journey of prophet Abraham to find God

The three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — claim Abraham as their patriarch. His journey to God is detailed in many instances in the Qur’an. He was a man of insight who did not hesitate to question his ancestral beliefs. He questioned the cult of polytheism of his day. It would serve us well to learn from his example. The majority is wrong because they do not use reason but instead follow their inherited traditions, passions, and assumptions. 

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.

(6:116)

There is no mention of Abraham starting a religion or cult in the Qur’an. He was a staunch monotheist. He started with the basic premise of questioning the cult he was born into and then used reason to arrive at the conclusion that there is One God who created everything. 

Abraham was neither one who holds to Judaism, nor a Christian, but was inclining to truth as one submitting; and he was not of the idolaters.

(3:67)

We are told that the path to salvation lies in following rituals, dogmas and practices of the religion we are born into. Although conversions happen, usually a person lives and dies clinging to his ancestral religion. Some become fundamentalists, some remain lukewarm and others embrace atheism. It is truly a few who question the basic premise of the religion of their ancestors. 

And when it is said to them: “Follow what God has sent down,” they say: “Nay, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers,” — even though their fathers did not reason, nor were they guided?

(2:170)

And when it is said to them: “Come to what God has sent down, and to the Messenger,” they say: “Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers.” Even though their fathers knew not anything and were not guided?

(5:104)

They found their fathers astray,

And in their footsteps are they hastening.

(37:69-70)

As thinking men, we must question our basic beliefs. We all have a world-view that is influenced by our environment and our prejudices. What is needed is the attitude to not accept anything unless it has passed through the forge of reason. Truth will survive and falsehood will perish. Abraham’s search for the truth was guided by reason alone. He did not accept the beliefs of his forefathers, but questioned them. When reasonable answers were not forthcoming he rejected their false beliefs. 

And when Abraham said to his father Āzar: “Takest thou idols as gods? I see thee and thy people in manifest error.”

And thus We showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and that he might be of those who are certain.

Then when the night covered him, he saw a star. He said: “This is my Lord.” Then when it set he said: “I love not those that set.”

Then when he saw the moon rising he said: “This is my Lord.” Then when it set he said: “If my Lord guide me not, I will be of the people who stray.”

Then when he saw the sun rising he said: “This is my Lord; this is greater!” Then when it set he said: “O my people: I am quit of that to which you ascribe a partnership.

“I have turned my face towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, inclining to truth; and I am not of the idolaters.”

(6:74-79)

Abraham used his reason and realized that everything created, whether by man or by God, is transitory and ephemeral. He realized that the One True God is the one who made the heavens and the earth. The Qur’an also details how he became a monotheist.

When his Lord said to him: “Submit thou,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.”

(2:131)

The religion of Islam requires that a convert recite a declaration of faith — the shahadah — which is not found in the Qur’an. Similarly, baptism is required for induction into the Christian religion. Abraham simply said, “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.” As you can see, induction into a specific religion in any shape or form is not required to submit to God. 

Submission to God Alone

Men have been fooled into thinking that in order for them to be successful in this life and the next, they must follow a religion. The Islamic religion claims that by saying the shahadah a person becomes a Muslim. If he performs certain rituals and follows certain regulations dictated by the religion of Islam he will enter paradise. The religions of Christianity and Judaism have their own prescribed set of beliefs and rituals in order to please God.  All religions claim that their specific group is the chosen one while condemning others to Hell. So who is right? Is God concerned with superficialities — and make no mistake, empty rituals are just that — or is He concerned with true belief and action? Did God create us to sing hymns in churches and loudly proclaim “God is greater” in a mosque, or to help our fellow man? The Qur’an sets out the criteria for salvation: belief in God and the Last Day, and the doing of good works. The Qur’an condemns religions plainly.

“O you Messengers: eat of the good things, and work righteousness; I know what you do.”

And this, your community, is one community, and I am your Lord; so be in prudent fear of Me.

But they divided their command among them into writings, each party exulting at what it has,

So leave thou them in their flood of ignorance for a time.

(23:51-54)

God is accusing men of dividing their community into religions and sects. This is the plain truth, but men are seldom interested in the truth. For those who insist that their path is the only right path to salvation, the Qur’an answers:

And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”

Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

(2:111-112)

Those in power do not take kindly to men bringing the truth and dismantling the false premises of their religions. It is high time that we see religions for what they are: a means to divide, conquer, and rule over mankind.

Peace and blessings be upon you,

Said Mirza

The Hajj ritual deconstructed using the Qur’an

Note: This article has been updated to include the revised translation from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation. The video uses the old translation.

Today’s article is about the Hajj ritual performed by millions of Muslims in Makkah today. I will be going over this ritual to show you how the religion of Islam has created an entirely idolatrous ritual and attached it with the concept of the hajj in the Qur’an. The hajj in the Qur’an has nothing to do with visiting a stone idol in Mecca. The core meaning of Hajj is to dispute or debate and is used consistently to mean that in the Qur’an. Hence, the hajj was instituted by prophet Abraham to call people towards God to debate with them and this was what prophet Muhammad was doing in his mission; to call men towards monotheism at the masjid-al-haram (the inviolable place of worship). Note that this masjid-al-haram is not the one in Mecca. There is strong evidence to suggest it was in Petra and further archaeology is needed to confirm this idea. What is important is to realize that what is going on in Mecca is pure idol worship when the Qur’an specifically warns us to not worship idols.  What I am presenting may be shocking to those with a Muslim background. I have provided links for the material I have used in this video for you to research this matter thoroughly. Do not dismiss out of hand. We are told to not follow that which we have no knowledge of. The Qur’an also specifically states that we are not to follow our ancestors blindly.

This article is based on key ideas from the excellent work by Sam Gerrans titled The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation and from my book Will You Not Reason? A Concordance of God’s arguments in the Qur’an. All translations are from the Qur’an: A Complete revelation which can be downloaded for free using the link here.

Prophet Abraham commanded to proclaim the hajj

And when We settled for Abraham the position of the house: “Ascribe thou not a partnership with Me to anything; and purify thou My house for those who walk around, and those who stand, and the lowly, and the submitting.

“And proclaim thou among mankind the pilgrimage; they will come to thee on foot, and on every lean mount; they will come from every deep mountain pass,

“That they might witness benefits for them, and remember the name of God on days appointed over their provision of livestock cattle.” So eat thereof, and feed the unfortunate poor;

Then let them make an end of their unkemptness, and fulfil their vows, and walk around the ancient house.
(22:26-29)

The root of Hajj is Ha-Jiim-Jiim. Let us look elsewhere in the Qur’an where this root is used:

And when they will dispute (yatahajjuna) together in the Fire, the weak will say to those who had waxed proud: “We were your followers; will you avail us something against a portion of the Fire?”
(40:47)

And those who dispute (yuhajjuna) concerning God after that answer has been made to him: their argument has no weight with their Lord; and upon them is wrath, and they have a severe punishment.
(42:16)

So the Hajj was a call to people to come and visit a monotheistic community and not a ritual focused on prostrating and kissing a stone idol. The Kaaba is an idol which was worshipped by the Nabateans of old and has now become a focus of worship in the religion of Islam. Before we proceed let us see what the Qur’an has to say about idols. The Qur’an uses the root nun-saad-ba to mean any erected structure. It is usually translated as altar but can mean any raised structure or monument. The Kaaba is a raised structure towards which the Muslims prostrate during their ritual prayer. 

O you who heed warning: wine, and games of chance, and altars, (wa-alansaabu) and divining arrows are an abomination of the work of the satan; so avoid it, that you might be successful.
(5:90)

The day they will come forth from the graves in haste, as though towards an idol, (nusubin) running,
Their eyes humbled, humiliation covering them. That is the day which they are promised.
(70:43-44)

And at the mountains — how they were erected! (nusibat)
(88:19)

Worship of standing stones by the Nabataeans 

Nabataean betyl or standing stone

The Nabataeans were an Arab people who inhabited northern Arabia and the Southern Levant in antiquity. They  observed what is called “aniconism” (Gladigow 1988; Mettinger 1995: 18-20) in the veneration and representation of their deities. Aniconism means that rather than using figural images as objects of worship, symbolic forms such as standing stones are taken as the representation of the deity. 

Excerpt from the article “Betyls of Petra” By Robert Wenning 

The defining feature of the Hajj is the circling of the Kaaba counterclockwise seven times. We will encounter the number seven many time as we investigate the rituals performed during the Muslim Hajj. There is no mention of doing any ritual 7 times in the Qur’an. We do, however, see this specific ritual of circling something 7 times in Hinduism.

The ritual of “Saat Phere” in Hinduism

In Hinduism, The saat phere (Hindi: सात फेरे sāt phéré “seven circumambulations“) is one of the most important features of the Hindu Wedding, involving seven rounds around a sacred fire lit for the purpose amidst the Vedic mantras. The bride and groom circumambulate a consecrated fire seven times, reciting specific vows with each circuit (Sanskrit: parikrama). Vows made in the presence of the sacred fire (Sanskrit: agni) are considered unbreakable, with Agnideva 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saat_phere

The ritual of “Parikrama” in pagan religions

Parikrama or Pradakshina refers to circumambulation of sacred places to imbibe their energy in Sikh, Hindu, Jain or Buddhist context, and the path along which this is performed. Parikrama means “the path surrounding something” in Sanskrit, and is also known as Pradakshina (“to the right”), representing circumambulation.[1] Both words are mostly used in the context of religious deities in a temple, sacred rivers, sacred hills and a close cluster of temples, and “doing a parikrama” as a symbol of prayer is an integral part of Hindu worship.[1][2][3] In Hinduism and other Indian religions, the Parikrama inside temples or sacred sites is traditionally clockwise.[4][5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parikrama

Comparison with Islam

Like Parikrama in Hinduism, Muslims perform circumambulation around Kaaba during their Hajj which they call tawaf.[16] The circumambulation during Hajj is done in a counterclockwise manner.[17] Hindu and Buddhist traditions, in contrast, circumambulate a shrine or sacred site clockwise.[4][5] The only exception is during paying last respects to a dead body during a cremation or event marking a funeral, where the traditional circumambulation in Indian religions is counter-clockwise.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parikrama

Hajj in the Qur’an was at Bakka not Mecca

The first issue encountered when we look into the Qur’an for guidance on the hajj is that the place where this event took place was located in Bakka and not Mecca. Muslims claim that Bakka was the old name of Mecca but do not bring any proof for this assertion.

(The first house set up for mankind was that at Bakka, blessed and a guidance for all mankind:
(3:96)

The second issue is that the Qur’an does not contain an Islamic calendar from which we can work out the months in which this Hajj is to be performed. The religion of Islam claims that the Hajj is to take place in the the month of Dhul-Hijjah however the Qur’an simply states that the hajj was on “moons appointed” i.e. multiple months. The Qur’an assumes that the people at the time of revelation already knew when these months were. Strangely, Muslims claim that that these months somehow became only one month called Dhul-Hijjah.

The pilgrimage is in months appointed. And whoso undertakes the pilgrimage therein: no sexual approach, and no perfidy, or quarrelling during the pilgrimage. And whatever good you do, God knows it. And take provision. But the best provision is prudent fear. And be in prudent fear of Me, O you men of understanding.
(2:197)

The Hajj ritual details

The Wikipedia article on Hajj describes in detail the steps of this cultic ritual. I will be pointing out the twisting of Qur’anic general words by the religion of Islam in the performance of these rituals and will show how these words are actually used in the Qur’an. You will see the incredible twisting of the clear and general words in the Qur’an to lend support to this idolatrous practice. This exercise will help you in seeing how the religion of Islam twists the words of the Qur’an to lend credence to its rituals. This is something which was done by the Jews and the Qur’an has warned us already of the modus operandi of the deceivers who corrupt God’s words. 

Do you hope that they will believe you? And a faction among them had heard the word of God, then twisted it after they had understood it, when they knew.
(2:75)

Fiqh literature describes in detail the manners of carrying out the rites of Hajj, and pilgrims generally follow handbooks and expert guides to successfully fulfill the requirements of Hajj.[48] In performing the rites of Hajj, the pilgrims not only follow the model of Muhammad, but also commemorate the events associated with Abraham.[49]

Donning of Ihram

When the pilgrims reach the appropriate Miqat (7:142, 56:50) (depending on where they have come from), they are believed to enter into a state of holiness – known as Ihram – that consists of wearing two white seamless cloths for the male, with the one wrapped around the waist reaching below the knee and the other draped over the left shoulder and tied at the right side;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

The Hajj starts with the donning of Ihram; a special wardrobe. This specific piece of clothing and the requirement to wear it is not in the Qur’an anywhere. The Qur’an uses the term miqat to mean a time appointed, not a special place where one has to wear a special wardrobe in preparation of the Hajj.

And We appointed for Moses thirty nights, and completed them with ten; so he completed the time appointed (miqatu) by his Lord of forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron: “Be thou my successor among my people; and make thou right; and follow thou not the path of the workers of corruption.”
(7:142)

Say thou: “The former peoples and the latter
“Will be gathered together at the appointed time (miqati) of a known day.”
(56:49-50)

So miqat simply means a time appointed which has been twisted to mean a place where the pilgrim is to put on special clothing in preparation for the Hajj. It is worth nothing that the Ihram dress itself matches the style of the Kasaya; a special clothing worn by Buddhist monks.

Muslim wearing Ihram (left), Buddhist monk wearing Kasaya (right)

Continuing on with the article on Hajj on Wikipedia: 

First day of Hajj: 8th Dhu al-Hijjah

On the 8th Dhu al-Hijjah, the pilgrims are reminded of their duties. They again don the ihram garments and confirm their intention to make the pilgrimage. The prohibitions of ihram start now.

The ritual of Tawaf (52:24, 56:17, 76:19) involves walking seven times counterclockwise around the Kaaba.[55] Upon arriving at Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (Arabic: المَسجِد الحَرَام‎, The Sacred Mosque), pilgrims perform an arrival tawaf either as part of Umrah or as a welcome tawaf.[56] During tawaf, pilgrims also include Hateem – an area at the north side of the Kaaba – inside their path. Each circuit starts with the kissing or touching of the Black Stone (Hajar al- Aswad).[57] If kissing the stone is not possible because of the crowds, they may simply point towards the stone with their hand on each circuit. Eating is not permitted but the drinking of water is allowed, because of the risk of dehydration. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

The word tawaf does not mean circling anything 7 times. It is based on the root tay-waw-fa which means to walk around, mingle. Here is the word being used in the Qur’an:

And there will circulate (wa-yatufu) among them youths of their own, like hidden pearls.
(52:24)

Circulating (yatufu) among them are youths made eternal
(56:17)

O you who heed warning: let ask leave of you those whom your right hands possess and those who have not reached puberty among you at three times: before the duty of the dawn, and when you lay aside your garments at noon, and after the duty of the night: three times of nakedness for you; you and they do no wrong beyond them, some of you moving about (tawaffuna) among others of you. Thus God makes plain to you the proofs; and God is knowing and wise.
(24:58)

We can see clearly that tawaf means to mingle unless you are ready to believe that the verse above means that people circle around each other 7 times as they go about their daily business.

Now we come to the verse that is used to support this cultic circling of a stone idol 7 times.

Then let them make an end of their unkemptness, and fulfil their vows, and walk around (wa-alyatawaffu) the ancient house.
(22:29)

It is plain that it means that once the pilgrimage is over people can move around and sight-see the ancient house.

Quoting again from the article on Hajj again:

The completion of Tawaf is followed by two Rakaat prayers at the Place of Abraham (Muqam Ibrahim)(2:125, 3:97), a site near the Kaaba inside the mosque.[57][58] 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

Let us look at the article on Muqam Ibrahim on Wikipedia

The Maqām Ibrāhīm (Arabic: مَـقَـام إِبْـرَاهِـيْـم‎, lit. ‘Station of Abraham’)[1][2] is a stone associated with Abraham, Ishmael and their rebuilding of the Ka‘bah in what is now the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. According to Islamic tradition, the imprint on the stone came from Abraham’s feet.[3][4] According to one tradition it appeared when Abraham stood on the stone while building the Kaaba; when the walls became too high, Abraham stood on the maqām, which miraculously rose up to let him continue building and also miraculously went down in order to allow Ishmael to hand him stones. Other traditions held that the footprint appeared when the wife of Ishmael washed Abraham’s head, or alternatively when Abraham stood atop it in order to summon the people to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maqam_Ibrahim

This term Muqam Ibrahim – which we are to believe is a set of footprints left by Abraham – is mentioned in the Qur’an but it means something else entirely. Again, we see the twisting of a general term to mean something of a special cultic significance. The maqam Ibrahim in the Qur’an is not a set of footprints but the the stance of Abraham as a strict monotheist. We are to take him as a model for our duty to live by the commandments of God, submit to God alone and call others towards God.

And when We made the house a meeting place for mankind, and a place of security — and make from the station of Abraham (maqaam-i-Ibrahim) a place of duty — and We made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael: “Purify My house for those who walk around, and those who remain, and the lowly and the submitting.”
(2:125)

(The first house set up for mankind was that at Bakka, blessed and a guidance for all mankind:

In it are clear proofs of the station of Abraham; (maqaamu-Ibrahim) and whoso enters it is safe. And God’s claim upon mankind is a pilgrimage to the house, for whoso is able to find a path to it; and whoso denies: God is free from need of all mankind.)
(3:96-97)

Now, if we are to believe that these claimed footprints of Abraham are the Muqam Ibrahim and we are to perform a ritual prayer near them then these footprints need to be inside the stone structure i.e. in the Kaaba and not outside it as it says “In it (i.e. the house which is claimed to be the Kaaba) are clear proofs of the station of Abraham (which the religion of Islam claims to be Abrahams footprints)”. Yet, we find that the Muqam Ibrahim is outside the Kaaba. Hence, logically this claim of footprints being the Muqam Ibrahim mentioned in the Qur’an — even if we were to assume that these were footprints and not a monotheistic stand — does not stand up to reason and contradicts the Qur’an. 

The presence of footprints near a pagan shrine or site is not unique to the Kaaba. Similar footprints are found near Buddhist shrines.

Alleged footprints of Abraham (left), Alleged footrprints of Buddha (right)

The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Buddha footprint.

The footprint of the Buddha is an imprint of Gautama Buddha‘s foot or both feet. There are two forms: natural, as found in stone or rock, and those made artificially.[1]:301 Many of the “natural” ones are acknowledged not to be genuine footprints of the Buddha, but rather replicas or representations of them, which can be considered cetiya (Buddhist relics) and also an early aniconic and symbolic representation of the Buddha.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_footprint

The footprints of Buddha are on the path from aniconic to iconic which starts at symbols like the wheel and moves to statues of Buddha. His footprints are meant to remind us that Buddha was present on earth and left a spiritual path to be followed. They are special as they are the only artifacts that give Buddha a physical presence on earth as they are actual depressions in the earth. A depression atop Sri padaya in Sri Lanka is among the largest and most famous footprints.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_footprint

Continuing on with the article of Hajj on Wikipedia:

Tawaf is followed by sa’ay (2:205, 34:5, 53:39), running or walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, located near the Kaaba.[55][58] 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

Again, we see the twisting of a general word sa’ay giving it a special meaning of running and walking between two hills. The root siin-ayn-ya means effort, endeavor. Here how it is used in the Qur’an:

And when he turns away, he strives (sa’a) in the land working corruption therein and destroying tilth and progeny; and God loves not corruption.
(2:205)

And those who strive (sa’aw) against Our proofs, to frustrate: those have the punishment of a painful scourge.
(34:5)

And that man has not save that for which he strove, (sa’a)
(53:39)

Al-Safa and Al-Marwah are supposedly the names of two hills where this running takes place. It is true that these terms are are mentioned as two tokens or signs of God in the Qur’an:

Al-Ṣafā and Al-Marwa are among the tokens of God. So whoso made pilgrimage to the house or visited, he did no wrong to walk around (ya-tawaffa) between them; and whoso does good voluntarily, God is grateful and knowing.
(2:158)

I do not know what Al-Ṣafā and Al-Marwa was but since we have already established that the site for Hajj is in Bakka and not Mecca we can be sure that Al-Ṣafā and Al-Marwa are not these two objects to which the Qur’an is referring. There is no guarantee that the Qur’an even means hills for these two objects, they may be some other makers; God knows best.

Continuing on with the article of Hajj on Wikipedia:

Mina

After the morning prayer on the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the pilgrims proceed to Mina where they spend the whole day and offer noon (Note: On Friday, Friday Prayer is Offered, instead of Dhuhr Prayer, at Mina), afternoon, evening, and night prayers.[61] The next morning after morning prayer, they leave Mina to go to Arafat.

Second day: 9th Dhu al-Hijjah

The 9th Dhul-Hijjah is known as Day of Arafah, and this day is called the Day of Hajj.[45]

Arafat

Main article: Day of Arafah

On 9th Dhu al-Hijjah before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafat, a barren and plain land some 20 kilometers east of Mecca,[62] where they stand in contemplative vigil: they offer supplications, repent on and atone for their past sins, and seek mercy of God, and listen to sermon from the Islamic scholars who deliver it from near Jabal al-Rahmah (The Mount of Mercy)[61] from where Muhammad is said to have delivered his last sermon.

Muzdalifah

Pilgrims must leave Arafat for Muzdalifah after sunset without praying maghrib (sunset) prayer at Arafat.[63] Muzdalifah is an area between Arafat and Mina. Upon reaching there, pilgrims perform Maghrib and Isha prayer jointly, spend the night praying and sleeping on the ground with open sky, and gather pebbles for the next day’s ritual of the stoning of the Devil (Shaitan).[64]

Third day: 10th Dhu al-Hijjah

After returning from Muzdalifah, the Pilgrims spend the night at Mina.

Ramy al-Jamarat

Back at Mina, the pilgrims perform symbolic stoning of the devil (Ramy al-Jamarat) by throwing seven stones from sunrise to sunset at only the largest of the three pillars, known as Jamrat al-Aqabah.[15][65] The remaining two pillars (jamarah) are not stoned on this day.[66] These pillars are said to represent Satan.[67] Pilgrims climb ramps to the multi-levelled Jamaraat Bridge, from which they can throw their pebbles at the jamarat. Because of safety reasons, in 2004 the pillars were replaced by long walls, with catch basins below to collect the pebbles.[68][69]

Animal sacrifice

After the casting of stones, animals are slaughtered to commemorate the story of Ibrahim and Ismael. Traditionally the pilgrims slaughtered the animal themselves, or oversaw the slaughtering. Today many pilgrims buy a sacrifice voucher in Mecca before the greater Hajj begins, which allows an animal to be slaughtered in the name of God (Allah) on the 10th, without the pilgrim being physically present. Modern abattoirs complete the processing of the meat, which is then sent as charity to poor people around the world.[15][60] At the same time as the sacrifices occur at Mecca, Muslims worldwide perform similar sacrifices, in a three-day global festival called Eid al-Adha.[16]

Hair removal

After sacrificing an animal, another important rite of Hajj is shaving head or trimming hair (known as Halak). All male pilgrims shave their head or trim their hair on the day of Eid al Adha and women pilgrims cut the tips of their hair.[70][71][72]

Tawaf Ziyarat

On the same or the following day, the pilgrims re-visit the Sacred Mosque in Mecca for another tawaf, known as Tawaf al-Ifadah, an essential part of Hajj.[71] It symbolizes being in a hurry to respond to God and show love for Him, an obligatory part of the Hajj. The night of the 10th is spent back at Mina.

Fourth day: 11th Dhu al-Hijjah

Starting from noon to sunset on the 11 Dhu al-Hijjah (and again the following day), the pilgrims again throw seven pebbles at each of the three pillars in Mina. This is commonly known as the “Stoning of the Devil”.[65]

Fifth day: 12th Dhu al-Hijjah

On 12 Dhu al-Hijjah, the same process of stoning of the pillars as of 11 Dhu al-Hijjah takes place.[65] Pilgrims may leave Mina for Mecca before sunset on the 12th.

Last day at Mina: 13th Dhu al-Hijjah

If unable to leave on the 12th before sunset or opt to stay at free will, they must perform the stoning ritual again on the 13th before returning to Mecca.[65]

Tawaf al-Wadaa

Finally, before leaving Mecca, pilgrims perform a farewell tawaf called the Tawaf al-Wadaa. ‘Wadaa’ means ‘to bid farewell’. The pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times counter-clockwise, and if they can, attempt to touch or kiss the Kaaba.[15]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj

There is no mention of stoning a devil’s representation anywhere in the Qur’an. Stoning is specifically mentioned as a threat by idolaters to their respective prophets and messengers. 

They said: “If thou cease not, O Noah, thou wilt be of those stoned.”
(26:116)

They said: “O Shuʿayb: we understand not much of what thou sayest; and we consider thee among us as weak. And were it not for thy family, we would have stoned thee; and thou art not to us one respected.”
(11:91)

As it is clear from this article, the Hajj ritual as practiced today is straight forward idol worship. As I said earlier, I ask you to do your own research on the matter. We are all responsible for what we do in this life and on the Day of Judgment we will be questioned by our Creator. 

And follow thou not that whereof thou hast no knowledge; the hearing and the sight and the heart, each of those will be questioned.
(17:36)

Peace and blessings be upon you,

Said Mirza

Where are the 5 pillars of Islam in the Qur’an?

In today’s article we shall be looking at the 5 pillars of the religion of Islam. As someone growing up in a Sunni Muslim household, it was drilled into my head that the performance of these 5 pillars religiously was all that was needed to enter the Garden in the hereafter. Now, right off the bat what is interesting is that the reading of the Qur’an — with understanding of course —  is nowhere in these 5 pillars of Islam. The reason it is not in there is because a man who reads the Qur’an carefully would soon realize that there are no pillars in the Qur’an —  because the Qur’an does not contain the religion of Islam. Now before I proceed further, I want to give credit for most of the ideas presented here to Sam Gerrans whose entire work is available for free at quranite.com.

The five articles of faith

The religion of Islam is based on five fundamental articles of faith. A Muslim must perform them regularly to be considered a practicing Muslim. 

  1. Shahadah; the testification of faith
  2. Salaat; a ritual prayer
  3. Sawm; fasting
  4. Zakat; charity
  5. Hajj; pilgrimage to Mecca 

Shahadah

The shahadah, the testification of faith, is the de-facto requirement for entrance into the religion of Islam. It translates to: there is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God. However, this complete statement is not found anywhere in the Qur’an. This should come as no surprise to a student of the Qur’an because the simple fact is that Muslims do not follow the Qur’an. If you wish to challenge me on this statement, please ponder the following fact carefully: we have already established that the Qur’an is clear, complete, and fully detailed. How then is it possible that the Qur’an does not mention this fundamental requirement in full? It is not possible. Therefore, those who insist that a man must utter the shahadah — the full text of which is not found in the Qur’an — are not following the Qur’an, but outside sources.

I must impress upon the reader that Islam and islam — a state of submission to God — are entirely different concepts. The former is  a membership to a group complete with rituals, dogma, and regulations. The latter is a personal choice — taken by a man who accepts individual responsibility for his actions — to believe in God and serve Him alone. 

God bears witness that there is no god save He, as do the angels and those of knowledge upholding equity: “There is no god save He, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”

(3:18)

God himself testifies that there is no God but Him; those possessed of knowledge testify to this as well. This, then, is the true testification to which all believers must testify if they are to testify to anything.  However, the truth of the matter is that the Qur’an never commands that a specific declaration be made in public or a specific formula be recited if one chooses to submit to God; it is a private matter, between God and man. 

The Qur’an recounts the submission of three personalities and in each case, the complete shahadah — there is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God — was not uttered. Prophet Abraham — considered a role model by the Muslims — simply stated, “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation” privately.

Abraham’s submission to God

And who is averse to the creed of Abraham save he who befools himself? And We chose him in the World; and in the Hereafter he is among the righteous.

When his Lord said to him: “Submit thou,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.”

(2:130-131)

The sorcerers’ submission to God

And the sorcerers fell in submission.

They said: “We believe in the Lord of All Creation,

“The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”

(7:120-122)

Queen Sheba’s submission to God

(It was said to her: “Enter thou the palace.” But when she saw it, she thought it a body of water and uncovered her legs. He said: “It is a palace made smooth with glass.”) She said, “My Lord: I have wronged my soul, and I submit with Solomon to God, the Lord of All Creation.”

(27:44)

There is another grave problem with the shahadah; it treats of Muhammad as being a special messenger. The Qur’an specifically states that the believers do not make a distinction between any of God’s messengers. We must hear and obey these imperatives completely and sincerely if we claim to follow the Qur’an.

The Messenger believes in what is sent down to him from his Lord, as do the believers; each believes in God and His angels, and His Writs and His messengers: “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear and we obey; Thy forgiveness our Lord[…]. And to Thee is the journey’s end.”

(2:285)

Perhaps the biggest problem with the shahadah is that Muslims are attaching the name of a man with the name of God, the Almighty. This is against strict Qur’anic commands to not set up any partners with God. Of course, Muslims will never agree to let go of their invented and inherited shahadah, as the Qur’an states:

And when God alone is remembered, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter shrink with aversion; but when those besides Him are remembered, then they rejoice.

(39:45)

Salaat

Muslims claim that their religion requires the performance of a ritual prayer five times a day. In broad strokes, a Muslim performs this prayer, called salaat, by facing the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He stands and recites short chapters from the Qur’an in Arabic — regardless of whether he understands them or not. After this recitation, he bows, stands, prostrates, and sits in a specific manner. Depending on the prayer time, he might repeat these actions multiple times. He then concludes his prayer by greeting the two angels — which he believes are — sitting on his shoulders.

Salaat is not a ritual prayer according to the Qur’an. If, for a moment, we entertain the possibility that it is a ritual prayer then we arrive at another problem. The three names of these salaats (zuhr, asr and maghrib) are not mentioned in the Qur’an. Only two salaats are mentioned by name (fajr and isha). This is an incontestable fact. However, the troubles for Muslims do not end here. God commands the believers to uphold the salaat in many places in the Qur’an but the details of how to perform such an important ritual are not present even though the Qur’an claims to be sufficient for guidance. 

However, if we take a step back and look at the usage of the word salaat across the entire Qur’an, we realize that it is an abstract noun which simply means duty. It is precisely because Muslims approach the Qur’an with inherited ideas that they misunderstand the Qur’an’s treatment of this word. They reflexively think ritual prayer when they read the word salaat in the Qur’an. When they do not find the details of this ritual prayer in the Qur’an, they revert to non-Quranic sources. This is not an honest approach. We are to take the Qur’an’s claim of being clear, complete and fully detailed seriously and investigate its usage of the word salaat; not what we think it means.  The Qur’an uses salaat to mean duty and we can infer what a specific duty is by looking at the context. It is true that worship is a duty but not all duties are worship. Reading the Qur’an, remembering God, fighting in the cause of God, being grateful to God etc. are all salaats i.e. duties.

Sawm

Sawm which means fasting, is another requirement of the religion of Islam. Muslims must fast throughout a special holy month called ramadan. During the fast, which lasts from dawn to sunset, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. 

A religion lives and dies on standardized requirements. Its followers then try to do the bare minimum of these requirements and hope that their efforts will be enough to satisfy their respective deity. Unfortunately for the religionists, the Qur’an does not work this way. It provides fundamental commandments and leaves it up to an individual to operate within these guidelines. Every man can judge his own efforts. It is true that fasting is recommended in the Qur’an, but a man must decide for himself how many days he wishes to fast.

O you who heed warning: fasting is prescribed for you: — as it was prescribed for those before you, that you might be in prudent fear —

For days numbered. And whoso among you is sick or on a journey: then a number of other days. And for those who are able to do it is a redemption: feeding a needy person. And whoso does good voluntarily, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you, if you would know.

A moon of scorching heat was that in which the Qur’an was sent down, a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of the guidance and the Division[…]. So whoso among you witnesses the moon, let him fast in it. And whoso of you is sick or on a journey: then a number of other days. God desires for you ease, and He desires not for you hardship; but that you complete the number; and that you magnify God for guiding you; and that you might be grateful.

And when My servants ask thee concerning Me: “I am near.” I respond to the call of the caller when he calls to Me. So let them respond to Me, and let them believe in Me, that they might be guided.

It is made lawful for you on the night of the fast to go in unto your women. They are a covering for you, and you are a covering for them. God knows that you deceived yourselves, so He turned towards you and pardoned you; so now lie with them and seek what God has prescribed for you. And eat and drink until clear to you be the white thread from the black thread of the dawn. Then complete the fast until night. And lie with them not when you remain in the places of worship. Those are the limits of God, so approach them not. Thus does God make plain His proofs to men, that they might be in prudent fear.
(2:183-187)

Muslims cite the above verses to justify their practice of fasting throughout a holy month called ramadan. However, the word ramadan simply means scorching heat; Muslims assume that it is the name of a month. Furthermore, it does not say to fast during this month but to fast in it, i.e. we are to fast a number of days every month. It is left up to the individual how many days he wishes to fast.

Zakat

According to Islam, zakat is a mandatory charitable contribution, often considered to be a tax. The amount is fixed at 2.5% of one’s savings. This percentage is nowhere in the Qur’an. The Qur’an uses the word sadaqah to mean charity. God has given us the leeway to decide the amount of sadaqah we should give. Similarly, he has left it to us to decide who to give charity to. Forcing individuals to pay this amount to the state, as is done in certain Islamic countries, is anathema to Qura’nic principles of self-determination and liberty. 

According to the Qur’an, zakat means purification, and I shall investigate this word carefully in a different article. Certainly, almsgiving leads to self-purification but claiming that zakat is an annual obligatory religious tax is not supported by the Qur’an.

Hajj

The last pillar of the religion of Islam, called Hajj, is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Among other activities, pilgrims perform the tawaf by circling the Kaaba seven times. They push and shove each other in hopes of kissing a “special” stone the Hajaru-al-Alaswad  encased in its corner. The pilgrims then walk — or run — between two hills seven times. They also throw seven stones at three pillars on separate occasions. They then purchase “animal sacrifice vouchers” — which allows an animal to be slaughtered on a certain day without the pilgrim being physically present. The pilgrims then conclude the Hajj by performing a farewell circling of the Kaaba seven times.

Any objective man can see that these are pagan rituals. The Islamic religion attacks the Hindu religion for its paganistic practices but is blind to the fact that it is doing the same. These practices are not mentioned in the Qur’an. It is true that the Qur’an mentions hajj, but its core meaning is of debate. The point of hajj was pilgrimage to the house, debating with people and feeding the poor. Here is an article deconstructing the Hajj using the Qur’an alone.

The hajj, as practiced by Abraham, Muhammad and the believers in his time is no more. We do not have the details of the performance of the hajj anywhere in the Qur’an. Nor do we know the site of this pilgrimage. This is a bitter pill for the Muslims to follow. Rather than accept that God is not a local Arab god with a cultic center in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the inventors of the Islamic religion incorporated their pagan Arab rituals into the hajj of the Qur’an. 

The Qur’an usage of the word tawaf (2:125, 7:201, 22:26, 68:19) is also of interest as this word is used in a general sense to move about. It is never used to denote a ritualistic movement — walking, running, circling seven times — around a stone idol i.e. the Kaaba.

So, to recap, there can be no doubt that the five pillars of the religion of Islam were derived from un-Quranic sources. This proves that the religion of Islam is not in the Qur’an but a later invention and has nothing to do with submission to God which is the doctrine God enjoined upon all his messengers and prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

God willing until the next time,

Peace and blessings be upon you,

Said

Is the Qur’an sufficient?

What the Qur’an says about itself

Today’s article is a followup on my last article “We need the hadith because…the 9 arguments of the Muslims” in which I analyzed the common arguments made by Muslims when they are told to follow the Qur’an alone and how these arguments are refuted by the Qur’an itself.

In this article, I wanted to address the underlying assumption of the arguments made by Muslims when they are told to abandon their rituals and their hadith literature and come back to the Qur’an alone. This assumption is that the Qur’an is somehow deficient; that is not sufficient for a man who sincerely wishes to serve God alone and attain His good pleasure. In other words, Muslims assume that the Qur’an is not clear, complete or fully detailed. However, the truth of the matter is that the Qu’ran, itself, claims to be a complete and sufficient source of guidance. It is a self-referencing scripture that is complete, preserved and detailed requiring no outside literature to understand it. 

When I advise Muslims – Sunni Muslims, to be specific – to follow the Qur’an, I get the same sort of questions: How do you know how to pray, how to fast, how to do wudu etc. if you follow the Qur’an alone. Muslims – correctly – are not able to find the implementation details of their rituals in the Qur’an and thus look for answers in secondary sources. They do not stop to consider for a moment that perhaps the reason they are unable to find the details of their rituals in the Qur’an – a book claiming to be complete, detailed and clear – is that these rituals were invented by their ancestors and are not a part of the doctrine of God.

The fact of the matter is that the architects of the religion of Islam twisted the meanings of key words found in the Qur’an such as salaat, zakat, sawm, sujud, rukuh etc. They then created a separate literature – the hadith – to define and expand upon their meanings. However, the Qur’an does not use these terms in the manner in which Muslims understand them. For instance, the word salaat simply means duty. Of course, worshipping God is a duty but there are other duties as well. Zakat means purity of intention and not charity. Of course, we can say that giving in charity should be done with the purity of intention but that is a secondary understanding of zakat. Sawm does mean fasting but Muslims have turned it into an “event”: a 30 day fast during a special holy month called ramadan; something not supported in the Qur’an. Sujud simply means submission and not a specialized prostration towards a stone idol in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Rukuh means to be humble and does not mean bowing during prayer. 

We should take the Qur’an’s own claim of being a complete scripture from God and look in it for the definitions of key terms and carefully investigate how a word is being used across the whole of the Qur’an. This is the only way to decipher the lost meanings of key words in the Qur’an.

As we progress through the subsequents verses, you will see that the Qur’an is quite clear that it alone is the source of guidance and that it is sufficient for a sincere man who wishes to serve God alone and attain His good pleasure. 

The translations are from Brother Gerrans excellent work The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation which you can read for free at reader.quranite.com. Credit for most  of the ideas present in this article goes to Brother Gerrans.

In the name of God, the Almighty the Merciful

And We said: “O Adam: dwell thou and thy wife in the garden, and eat thereof freely wheresoever you will; but approach not this tree lest you be of the wrongdoers.”

But the satan caused them to fall therefrom, and turned them out of what they were in; and We said: “Get you all down, an enemy to one another; and for you in the earth are a dwelling-place and provision for a time.”

Then received Adam words from his Lord, and He turned towards him; He is the Accepting of Repentance, the Merciful.

We said: “Get you down from it all together. And if there comes to you guidance from Me, whoso follows My guidance: no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

“But those who ignore warning and deny Our proofs: those are the companions of the Fire; therein they abide eternally.”

(2:35-39)

A moon of scorching heat was that in which the Qur’an was sent down, a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of the guidance and the Division[…]. So whoso among you witnesses the moon, let him fast in it. And whoso of you is sick or on a journey: then a number of other days. God desires for you ease, and He desires not for you hardship; but that you complete the number; and that you magnify God for guiding you; and that you might be grateful.

(2:185)

O you who heed warning: enter into surrender completely, and follow not the footsteps of the satan; he is to you an open enemy.

But if you slip after the clear signs have come to you, then know that God is exalted in might and wise.

(2:208-209)

O mankind: there has come to you evidence from your Lord; and We have sent down to you a clear light.

Then as for those who believe in God and hold fast to Him: He will make them enter into mercy from Him, and bounty; and He will guide them to Him by a straight path.

They ask thee for a ruling. Say thou: “God gives you the ruling concerning those without an immediate heir: if a man perishes without a child but has a sister: for her is half of what he left, and he inherits from her if she has not a child. But if there are two females: for them is two-thirds of what he left. And if they are brethren, men and women: for the male is the like of the share of two females.” And God makes plain to you lest you go astray; and God knows all things.

(4:174-176)

In the above verse, God is chiding the believers that it is not Muhammad but God who gives rulings. I credit Brother Gerrans for this point.

O doctors of the Law: Our messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of what you hid of the Writ, and pardoning much. There has come to you light from God, and a clear Writ

Whereby God guides him who seeks His approval to the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness into the light by His leave; and He guides them to a straight path.

(5:15-16)

And We sent down to thee the Writ with the truth, confirming what is before it of the Writ, and as a control over it. So judge thou between them by what God has sent down; and follow thou not their vain desires away from what has come to thee of the truth. For each of you We appointed an ordinance and a procedure. And had God willed, He could have made you one community; but that He might try you in what He gave you[…]. — So vie in good deeds; unto God will you return all together, and He will inform you of that wherein you differed —

And judge thou between them by what God has sent down; and follow thou not their vain desires, and beware thou of them lest they seduce thee away from some of what God has sent down to thee. And if they turn away, know thou that God but intends to afflict them for some of their transgressions; and many among men are perfidious.

Is it the judgment of ignorance they seek? And who is better than God in judgment for people who are certain?

(5:48-50)

O you who heed warning: ask not about things which, if made clear to you, would distress you; but if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being sent down, they will be made clear to you. God has pardoned that; and God is forgiving and clement.

There did ask a people before you, then became deniers thereof.

God appointed not any baḥīrah or sā’ibah or waṣīlah or ḥām — but those who ignore warning invent lies about God; and most of them do not reason.

And when it is said to them: “Come to what God has sent down, and to the Messenger,” they say: “Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers.” Even though their fathers knew not anything and were not guided?

(5:101-104)

Say thou: “What thing is greatest in witness?” Say thou: “God is witness between me and you; and this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I might warn you thereby, and whom it reaches. Do you bear witness that there are other gods with God?” Say thou: “I bear not witness.” Say thou: “He is but One God, and I am quit of that to which you ascribe a partnership.”

(6:19)

Means of insight have come to you from your Lord; and whoso sees, it is for his soul; and whoso is blind, it is against it; and: “I am not a custodian over you.”

And thus We expound the proofs: both that they might say: “Thou hast studied,” and that We might make it plain for people who know.

Follow thou what has been revealed to thee from thy Lord — “There is no god save He”; — and turn thou away from the idolaters.

(6:104-106)

And We have brought them a Writ which We set out and detailed according to knowledge — a guidance and mercy for people who believe.

(7:52)

And when thou bringest them not a proof, they say: “Oh, that thou hadst but chosen one!” Say thou: “I follow only what is revealed to me from my Lord; this is a means of insight from your Lord, and guidance, and a mercy for people who believe.”

And when the Qur’an is recited: heed it and listen attentively, that you might obtain mercy.

(7:203-204)

And when Our proofs are recited to them as clear signs, those who look not for the meeting with Us say: “Bring thou a Qur’an other than this; or change thou it.” Say thou: “It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I follow only what is revealed to me. I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous day.”

Say thou: “Had God willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you; for I had tarried among you a lifetime before it.” Will you then not use reason!

Then who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, or denies His proofs? The lawbreakers are not successful.

(10:15-17)

Say thou: “Is there among your partners one that guides to the truth?” Say thou: “God guides to the truth; is then He who guides to the truth worthier to be followed, or he who guides not save he be guided? Then what ails you? How judge you?”

And most of them follow only assumption; assumption avails nothing against the truth. God knows what they do.

And this Qur’an is not such as could be invented by other than God; but it is a confirmation of what is before it, and an exposition of the Writ about which there is no doubt, from the Lord of All Creation.

If they say: “He invented it,” say thou: “Bring a sūrah the like thereof; and call whom you can besides God, if you be truthful.”

The truth is, they have denied what they compassed not in knowledge, and whose interpretation has not yet come to them. Thus denied those before them. Then see thou how was the final outcome of the wrongdoers.

And among them is he who believes in it; and among them is he who believes not in it. And thy Lord best knows the workers of corruption.

And if they deny thee, then say thou: “To me be my work, and to you be your work; you are quit of what I do, and I am quit of what you do.”

And among them are some who listen to thee — canst thou make the deaf to hear, though they do not reason?

And among them is he who looks at thee — canst thou guide the blind when they do not see?

God wrongs not men in anything; but men wrong their souls.

(10:35-44)

alif lām rā Those are the proofs of the Clear Writ.

We have sent it down as an Arabic recitation, that you might use reason.

(12:1-2)

That is of the reports of the Unseen which We reveal to thee; and thou wast not with them when they resolved upon their affair, when they were scheming.

And most men — though thou be desirous — are not believers.

And thou askest not of them for it any reward; it is only a reminder to all mankind.

And how many a proof is there in the heavens and the earth which they pass by, and from which they turn away!

And most of them believe not in God save as idolaters.

Do they then feel secure against an enveloping of the punishment of God coming upon them, or the Hour coming upon them unexpectedly when they perceive not?

Say thou: “This is my path. I invite to God with insight — I and whoso follows me. And glory be to God! And I am not of the idolaters.”

And We sent before thee only men to whom We revealed from among the people of the cities. (So have they not travelled in the earth and seen how was the final outcome of those who were before them? And the abode of the Hereafter is best for those who are in prudent fear; will you then not use reason!)

When the messengers had despaired and thought that they had been denied, there came to them Our help and who We willed was delivered. And repulsed not is Our wrath from the lawbreaking people.

There is in their story a lesson for men of understanding; it is not an invented narrative but a confirmation of what is before it, and an exposition of every thing, and guidance, and a mercy for people who believe.

(12:102-111)

This is a notification to mankind, that they be warned thereby, and that they might know that He is but One God, and that those of insight might take heed.

(14:52)

alif lām rā Those are the proofs of the Writ and of a clear recitation.

(15:1)

And the day We raise in every community a witness against them from themselves, and We bring thee as a witness against these[…]. And We sent down the Writ upon thee as a clarification of all things, and as guidance, and as a mercy, and as glad tidings for those submitting.

(16:89)

This Qur’an guides to what is most upright, and brings glad tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds, that they have a great reward,

And that those who believe not in the Hereafter: — We have prepared for them a painful punishment.

And man supplicates for evil by his supplication for good; and man is ever hasty.

And We appointed the night and the day as two proofs; and We erase the proof of the night and make the proof of day sight-giving, that you might seek favour of your Lord, and that you might know the number of years and the reckoning; and everything have We set out and detailed with full explanation.

(17:9-12)

And We have expounded in this Qur’an, that they take heed; but it increases them only in aversion.

(17:41)

And We send down of the Qur’an what is a healing and mercy for the believers; but it increases not the wrongdoers save in loss.

(17:82)

And We have expounded for men in this Qur’an every similitude, but most men refuse save denial.

(17:89)

And with the truth have We sent it down, and with the truth has it come down — and We sent thee only as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner —

And as a recitation We divided, that thou recite it to men in stages; and We have sent it down as a successive revelation.

(17:105-106)

And We have expounded for men in this Qur’an every similitude, but man is, more than anything, contentious.

(18:54)

A sūrah We have sent down and made obligatory, and wherein We sent down clear proofs, that you might take heed:

(24:1)

And the day the sky is rent asunder with the clouds, and the angels are sent down in successive descent,

True dominion, that day, belongs to the Almighty; and it will be a difficult day for the false claimers of guidance.

And the day the wrongdoer will bite his hands, he will say: “Would that I had taken with the Messenger a path!

“Woe is me! Would that I had not taken such-and-such for a friend!

“He led me astray from the remembrance after it reached me.” And the satan is to man a traitor.

And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord: my people took this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.”

And thus We appointed for every prophet an enemy from among the lawbreakers; but thy Lord suffices as a guide and a helper.

And those who ignore warning say: “Oh, that the Qur’an were but sent down upon him all at once!” Thus — that We might strengthen thy heart thereby; and We have recited it distinctly.

And they bring thee not a similitude save We bring thee the truth and better in explanation.

(25:25-33)

We find the phrase “And thus We appointed for every prophet an enemy” is used in another place in the Qur’an:

And thus have We appointed for every prophet an enemy — satans of servi and domini — instructing one another in the decoration of speech as delusion, (and had thy Lord willed, they would not have done it; so leave thou them and what they fabricate)

And that the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter might incline thereto, and be pleased therewith, and that they might commit what they are committing.

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.

And perfected is the word of thy Lord in truth and justice; there is none to change His words; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.

(6:112-116)

The “enemies of the prophets” fabricated lies in the form of hadith literature which are the “decoration of speech as delusion” to divert men from the path of God; so that those who do not believe in the Hereafter might incline thereto and be pleased therewith.

And it is a revelation of the Lord of All Creation,

Brought down by the Faithful Spirit

Upon thy heart — that thou be of the warners —

In a clear Arabic tongue.

(26:192-195)

This Qur’an relates to the children of Israel most of that wherein they differ,

And it is guidance, and a mercy for the believers.

Thy Lord will decide between them by His judgment; and He is the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

And place thou thy trust in God; thou art upon the manifest truth.

(27:76-79)

“I have but been commanded to serve the Lord of this land who made it inviolable; and to Him all things belong. And I am commanded to be of those submitting,

“And to recite the Qur’an.” And whoso is guided, he is but guided for himself; and whoso strays, then say thou: “I am only of the warners.”

(27:91-92)

He who made the Qur’an incumbent upon thee will return thee to a destination. Say thou: “My Lord best knows who brings guidance and who is in manifest error.”

And thou didst not expect that the Writ would be cast unto thee;[…] only as a mercy from thy Lord, so be thou not a helper to the false claimers of guidance.

And let them not turn thee away from the proofs of God after they have been sent down to thee; and invite thou to thy Lord, and be thou not of the idolaters.

And call thou not with God to another god; there is no god save He. Everything will perish save His face; His is the Judgment; and to Him will you be returned.

(28:85-88)

And We have struck for men in this Qur’an every similitude. And if thou come to them with a proof, those who ignore warning will say: “You are only creators of vanity.”

(30:58)

And had all that is in the earth of trees been but pens, and the sea replenished thereafter with seven seas, the words of God would not be exhausted; God is exalted in might and wise.

(31:27)

This verse speaks volumes about the Muslims’ claims that the Qur’an is deficient and needs elaboration by non-Qur’anic literature.

And when Our proofs are recited to them as clear signs, they say: “This is only a man who wishes to turn you away from what your fathers served”; and they say: “This is only an invented falsehood.” And those who ignore warning say of the truth when it has come to them: “This is only obvious sorcery.”

(34:43)

And We taught him not poetry, and it does not behove him; it is only a remembrance and a clear recitation

To warn whoso is alive, and that the word might become binding against the false claimers of guidance.

(36:69-70)

And We have struck for mankind in this Qur’an every similitude, that they might take heed;

An Arabic recitation, free of deviation, that they might be in prudent fear.

(39:27-28)

ḥā mīm

A revelation from the Almighty, the Merciful,

A Writ the proofs whereof are set out and detailed, an Arabic recitation for people who know,

As a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they hear not.

(41:1-4)

ḥā mīm

By the Clear Writ!

We have made it an Arabic recitation, that you might use reason,

And it is in the foundation of the Writ, with Us, exalted and wise.

Shall We then turn the remembrance away from you because you are a people committing excess?

(43:1-5)

We best know what they say; and thou art not a tyrant over them. But remind thou with the Qur’an him who fears My warning.

(50:45)

And We have made the Qur’an easy for remembrance; so is there any who will remember?

(54:17, 54:22, 54:32, 54:40)

The Almighty:

Taught the Qur’an,

Created man,

Taught him the clear statement.

(55:1-4)

God teaches man “the clear statement” (Arabic: bayyan). This word – which Brother Gerrans translates as clarification” – is also used in the next verse, pointing to the fact that it was not Muhammad’s job to explain the Qur’an; God explains the Qur’an to whom He wills.

(Move thou not thy tongue with it to hasten it.

Upon Us is its gathering and its recitation.

And when We recite it, follow thou the recitation thereof.

Then upon Us is its clarification.) 

(75:16-19)

He it is that sends down to His servant clear proofs, that He might bring you out of darkness into the light; and God is to you kind and merciful.

(57:9)

The truth is, it is a glorious recitation,

In a protected tablet.

(85:21-22)

The Qur’an is preserved, no such claim can be made about the dubious literature followed by the Muslims to justify their invented rituals.

In conclusion, the Qur’an itself claims to be complete and to be sufficient guidance for a sincere man who wishes to attain God’s good pleasure and enter the Garden in the Hereafter, if God so wills. Those who claim otherwise deny the clear verses of the Qur’an and they will bear their burdens on the Day of Judgment. 

God willing until the next article, peace and blessings be upon you!

-Said Mirza