January 2002: Page 1, 2, 3

Submitters Perspective

Page 2

Did the Jews …

Cont’d from page 1

If God has modified any of the practices given to Abraham, He pointed it out to us in the Quran (2:187). God also included in the Quran the correct version of the corrupt practices; for example the practice of ablution (5:6).

We see in the following verses of the Quran that Moses, Aaron and Jesus observed the Contact Prayers and the Obligatory Charity:

GOD had taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we raised among them twelve patri-archs. And GOD said, “I am with you, so long as you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the Obligatory Charity (Zakat), and believe in My messengers and re-spect them, and continue to lend GOD a loan of righteousness...” (5:12)

We inspired Moses and his brother. “Maintain your homes in Egypt for the time being, turn your homes into synagogues, and maintain the Contact Prayers (Salat). Give good news to the be-lievers.” (10:87)

She [Mary] pointed to him [Je-sus]. They said, “How can we talk with an infant in the crib?” (The infant spoke and) said, “I am a servant of GOD. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet. He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Con-tact Prayers (Salat) and the Obligatory Charity (Zakat) for as long as I live...” (19:29-32)

That was Jesus, the son of Mary, and this is the truth of this matter, about which they continue to doubt. (19:34)

Similar to Moses, Aaron and Jesus, the prophet Muhammad was told to follow the Religion of Abraham (Millat Ibrahim). Had he not known what the religion of Abraham was, then we would not expect God to tell him to follow it.

Then we inspired you (O Mu-hammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism; never was he an idol-worshiper. (16:123)

The Salat prayers as practiced by the Muslims today involve stand-ing in front of God, bowing and falling prostrate. Like all the ritu-als of Islam, these practices were passed down to us from Abraham, and followed by all the messengers of God.

These are some of the prophets whom GOD blessed. They were chosen from among the descen-dants of Adam, and the descen-dants of those whom we carried with Noah, and the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and from among those whom we guided and selected. When the revela-tions of the Most Gracious are recited to them, they fall prostrate, weeping. (19:58)

However, right after the above verse, the Quran mentions that the Contact Prayer was lost after some generations of the people of the book.

After them, He substituted generations who lost the Contact Prayers (Salat), and pursued their lusts. They will suffer the consequences. (19:59)

Losing it involved changing it in every aspect. The Prayer as prac-ticed today by most of the Jews and Christians is different than what was given to their prophets. Very few Jews and Christians kept the inherited practice of the Contact Prayers.

In a book entitled “To Pray As A Jew” by Hayim Donin (1980), one can find a lengthy explanation of the Prayers as done by the ancient Jews and a few of the contempo-rary Jews. In this book the author includes diagrams showing the movement and positions during the prayer. A look at these dia-grams is enough for the people to realize the similarity of the prayers of the Jews then and Salat as prac-ticed by the Muslims.

In his comments about these posi-tions the author wrote: “In most contemporary congregations very few people keep to the tradition of falling prostrate. Sometimes it is only the Prayer Leader and the rabbi who does so. In more tradi-tional congregations, however, some worshipers, men and women, will join the Prayer Leader and rabbi in the act of prostrating themselves. In Israeli synagogues, the practice is more widespread than in synagogues elsewhere. Since this is a position that we are unaccustomed to, one who has never done this before might very well demur. But once accom-plished, the experience provides such a spiritual uplift that one looks forward to repeating it. Those willing to try this ancient rit-ual form on the rare occasions that call for it might welcome the follow-ing diagrams of the correct proce-dure.

It is also interesting to learn from this book that the prayers of the Jews involve washing before the prayers, (like the ablution for Muslims), and the call for Prayers (like the Azan for the Muslims). Something to ponder!

Donin, Hayim, 1980, To Pray As A Jew: A Guide To The Prayer Book And The Synagogue Ser-vice, Basic Books, New York, 384 pp.