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”
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
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.