The Namaz, Mazhab, and Masjid

by Khurram Chaudhry
In Saudi Arabia if you are found wandering the streets during the time of Salaa (Namaz) and have a green colored Aqama, then you are liable to get caned and forced into one of those building they miscall Masjid in the Kingdom. This is what is perceived as the “Islamic” state by the post-Yazid Sunni school of thought. It is perceived as imperative for a successful society to implement such measures as these measures ensure that the flock is in order and all citizens are exercising what is “fard” or obligatory upon them. I have yet to see any positive result of this and when I mention this I often get uncomfortable stares from the vast majority of “believers” who would rather I not touch upon this subject.

But I do touch upon this subject and I remind myself that the word “namaz” is not found in the Quran nor are the elaborate steps of namaz found in any verse of the Quran. In fact, using the Quran alone, you cannot perform the namaz. You also cannot perform the namaz using Ahadith but that is a whole new debate that needs to be explored separate from this exposition. The Quran uses the word “Salaa” that is assumed by the entire population of “Muslims” to be synonymous with Namaz. In actual fact the word Namaz is not an Arabic word but is borrowed from the Zoroastrians who use that term in their native Persian to describe their ritual prayers. In truth the word Namaz in not an Arabic word. It is not found in the Quran. And it was never used by Muhammad nor the generations of Arabs that followed him after his demise.

The Quran mentions the word Salaa quite a few times. I am amazed that it never, however, mentions any ritual associated with it. I personally never expected that nor have I ever believed it to be a ritual. The Quran states in Surah 11 and verses 85 to 87:
(The Prophet P.B.U.H. said) “Hence, O My people! Always give full measure and weight with equity and do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs. Do not spread corruption and disorder in the land. That which Allah gives you as just profit is better for you if you believe. But I am not a guardian over you.” They said, “O Shoaib!. Does your SALAAT command that we should forsake the worship that our fathers practiced? Or, that we leave off doing what we like to do with our economy? Behold, you want us to think that you are the only clement, and the rightly guided man among us.”
This is one of the most meaningful and elaborate definitions of Salaa found in the Quran. It states that Salaa actually is a command that orders us to forsake what rituals we inherited from our forefathers. It tells us to forsake worship and practices. And it tells you to leave the philosophy of doing what you like with the economy. Now mere rituals of Madhab cannot do that and of course they surely do not ensure that.

Moreover, instead of following the Deen of Islam (and that is what Islam is), they make it into a religion or “madhab”. This is human nature and it is this trend that keeps us in such a squalid state. The Madhabs would have you sit on a plush carpet and make “dua” to Allah commanding Him to make things better. This is madhab for you. The Deen of Islam puts us as servants and Allah as the Master. In this scenario the true Salaa is one where we have to change our lives and work hard for a result.

Being righteous, doing the right things and performing good deeds are often replaced in Madhab by rituals. These rituals tell us that we have no power over our destiny. They tell us that all work is to be done by Allah and that we are only to visit buildings and chant Arabic words (without understanding them) and then Allah will do all the work for us as if He is our servant.

This type of thinking has to stop. We must educate our people to read the Quran and interpret it using their intellect and reject the Madhabs that poison their brains. This reminds me of an example I read on a website of the Tolu-e-Islam foundation. It is a story about a railway station in Baluchistan. This station was built in a small village and brought great economic activity to this hamlet. Just weeks after the station came into operation, goods form far off cities started to arrive as did rich visitors. A post office was built and so was a telegraph office. Shops opened up that sold various goods from across the country. The small village was also able to sell its wares and produce to the cities all over the country. Years went by and the village became a small prosperous city and the people had jobs and the farmers had a market to sell their produce. But then one day, there was news that the railway station would be closed. The trains
stopped coming and soon the months passed by as the station was abandoned and fell into disarray. The bricks and other parts of the structure were stolen and the shops around it closed. The station lay in ruin in just a matter of years.

Then a great thinker came to the town and said the town can gain back its prosperity if only it starts respecting the station that brought it the livelihood. So the station was rebuilt and the shops were opened up. The belief was that if they rebuilt the station and respect its sanctity, then the prosperity will come. That is what Madhab is. It builds on the station which represents the ritual. And expects that the train will come because the station is built. But do they not know that “God helps those who help themselves”?

Such is our state. We have created madhabs and forsaken the Deen expecting our fortunes will change. But our fortunes will not change by implementing the rituals and the “shariah” of the Mullahs.

Instead, the System has to change and we need to change too. The socialist philosophy of the CMKP has to educate the people on the futility of the madhabs and we need to overcome this if we are to transform into a scientific and modern society.

Khurram Chaudhry
Mar 29, 2009
Source- From: khurramc@live. com
Subject: [cmkp] The Namaz, Madhab, Masjid and Shoaib
Date: Sunday, March 29, 2009, 11:04 PM

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