Especially if we keep in mind that at any given moment one creature is attacking and slaughtering another one, an all merciful God watching over His creation from the heavens seems awfully incongruent with reality!
Needless to say, our understanding of Allah, religion and sunnatullah as expounded by Muhammad (saw) seriously needs to be updated in light of our understanding and comprehension today.
What must man, who has been created as the result of the intrinsic qualities denoted by the names Rahman and Rahim, remember and experience at least five times a day through salat?
Man, who has been created with the qualities denoted by Allah’s Names, whose essential reality is comprised of these very attributes, must remember that he is not the body to deteroriate away after death, but that he is a conscious being who will live forever as the requisites and the consequences of the potentials within his essence. And the body he will use after his life on earth is called the ‘spirit’.
It is the necessity of Rahim that man comprehends his reality; discovers the potentials deriving from the Names of Allah within his own essence, and experiences them to gain certainty and attain the station of ‘closeness’.
As a result of this, he lives the manifestation of the Maleekiyyah and Malikiyyah in the ‘now’ and the forever, governed by the decrees of religion – sunnatullah (yawm ad-Din)!
In order to experience this, one must receive guidance from within their own essence.
This is why we say ‘guide us’ in al-Fatiha!
We ask to be guided and directed to the path of those who have been given ‘in’am’, that is, those who have been enabled to experience the realities within their essence. And we seek protection from becoming of those who deny this reality, and fall into misconceptions (that lead them away from) reality, and hence become deprived from their essence.
Then we recite some additional verses from the Quran, and contemplate on their meanings…
I hope this has answered the question “What is salat?” to some extent, even if it is only at a surface level.
I refrain from expanding further as I do not believe the time and place is appropriate. I advise those who want a deeper understanding of salat to practice contemplation on what these meanings yield…
Doubtlessly, this topic is exceedingly deep and what I have shared here barely touches the tip of the iceberg.
I believe it is a good idea to reconsider the meaning of the words of Allah’s Rasul: “The deeds between two salats will be forgiven” and try to discern why this may be so...
Again, let us remember the verse:
“So woe to those who pray (due to tradition), who are heedless (cocooned) of (the experience of the meaning of) their salat (which is an ascension [miraj] to their innermost essential reality; their Rabb)”.
20 January 2005
Raleigh – NC, USA