May 1999: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3


According to Verse 22:32, God expects the righteous submitters to practice specific rites decreed by Him, “Indeed, those who reverence the rites decreed by God demonstrate the righteousness of their hearts.” These practices help us to redeem our souls and increase our faith (2:110, 4:162, 9:71), and yet God has strangely omitted many of the specific details regarding certain important rites. How do we know the right way to practice “the rites decreed by God?”

God tells us in the Quran how to prepare ourselves for the Salat Prayer (5:6), but not HOW to pray it. God tells us that the Zakat charity is an obligation (2:110) and when we should give it (6:141) but not HOW MUCH to give. If God has decreed specific rites, then we are obligated to practice these rites as God has decreed for us to practice them. But how do we know?

Abraham asked God to “teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful” (2:128). Abraham goes on to ask God to send a messenger to the people “to recite to them Your revelations, teach them scripture and wisdom, and purify them.” God answered Abraham’s prayers. He taught Abraham the rites of our religion (21:73) and has sent to us many messengers throughout the generations to teach us and purify our religious practices (2:150-151).

God told Muhammad, “We have inspired you, as we inspired Noah and the prophets after him. And we inspired Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, the Patriarchs, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And

we gave David the Psalms. Messengers we have told you about, and messengers we never told you about…” (4:163-164)

God thus chose to reveal certain religious rites to us through Abraham and his descendents (21:73) —the instructions are not recorded in a written scripture. And God continues to purify his revelations to us through his messengers. God tells us to fear only Him and He will then perfect His blessings upon us. Blessings “such as the sending of a messenger from among you to recite our revelations to you, purify you, teach you the scripture and wisdom, and to teach you what you never knew” (2:150-151).

In Verse 7:43, we hear the righteous submitters saying, “God be praised for guiding us. We could not possibly be guided, if it were not that God has guided us. The messengers of our Lord did bring the truth.” Praise be to God for giving us honorable and truthful messengers in whose footsteps the people can follow with assurance— knowing that God would never lead us astray through the teachings of a messenger:

(21:26) All messengers are His honored servants.

(6:90) These are the ones guided by God; you shall be guided in their footsteps. Say, “I do not ask you for any wage. This is but a message for all the people.”

(2:252) These are God’s revelations. We recite them through you truthfully for you are one of the messengers.

(2:252) The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, “Alas, I wish I had followed the messenger.”

(81:19-21) This is the utterance of an honorable messenger. Authorized by the Possessor of the Throne, fully supported. He shall be obeyed and trusted.

(24:54) If you obey him (the messenger) you will be guided.

God says that He reveals precedents for us to follow (3:137, 6:34), and there are NO precedents in the Quran that speak of any of God’s honorable messengers leading the people astray by ignorantly teaching them the incorrect “rites of their religion.” There are, however, many verses in the Quran where God warns us to beware of being diverted from the path of God by those who mislead with personal opinions and conjecture.

If we are to use the Quran alone for guidance in our worship practices, then we must “study the Quran carefully” (4:82), and follow the precedents God has set down for us. Accepting the instructions of an honorable messenger (especially when we are able to verify those instructions for ourselves) regarding the rites of our religion is as Quranic as it gets!

Let us continue to enjoin each other to be righteous and to commemorate our Lord at every opportunity. Peace.

Beth Harris