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Salat "al-Wusta" (Verse 2:238) Surah Al-Baqrah

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Author Topic: Salat "al-Wusta" (Verse 2:238) Surah Al-Baqrah  (Read 251 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: July 09, 2019, 11:15:15 am »

Walakum As-Salam dear sister.  That's a very good point you and your husband have been studying.   We too researched this term in the past.   Yes true, the traditional sources interpret "wusta" as 'middle' and thus explain it as Asr prayer.  But that interpretation is most likely not correct.  The Arabic word وسط 
(wasat) actually means balanced or excellent or best.  I think from the word 'balanced' the Arabic grammar has  deduced the term 'middle' (probably alluding to the concept of moderate).

Furthermore, those who claim Verse 2:238 refers to Asr prayer have taken it from a hadith (I don't know the particulars of that hadith) which mentions something to the effect that during the Battle of Trench everyone was so busy defending themselves from the enemy that the time for Asr prayer passed and the Muslims remembered it when the sun was about to set and subsequently the Prophet (pbuh) cursed the enemy forces for depriving everyone of "salat-al-wusta."   As we can gauge, this is no reliable evidence for a conclusion.  Also, even if anyone is convinced this hadith is authentic, there is no indication here  to determine Asr prayer as the most important of all.   As you rightly said, all 5 salats are very important for sure, no doubt about that.

All well-read sources and intelligent analysts are of the opinion that the term "wusta" (from root letters wst) in the Quran refers to 'excellent' or 'balanced.'   Also we must know that the word salawat (also contained in V.2:238)  is the plural of 'salat' (from root letters saad, laam, waw or ص.ل. و) which means "prayer, salutation, greeting and mercy".    Therefore, salawat refers to all prayers taken collectively.  It can be all 5 prayers of the day or the number of prayers a person has offered in a month or a year or throughout their lives.   So, in V.2:238 when Allah mentions that we must be mindful or guard the "salawat and the salat al-wusta" then in this Ayat "salat-ul-wuta" is a complimentary quality of the ideology of salawat or prayers - that is, the best, excellent and balanced salat as we must always offer.  In other words, "salat-al-wusta" is the excellent quality of every salat (or prayer) that a believer must remember and thus we must offer every salat with devotion and obedience standing before Allah (as confirmed in the last line of this Verse).   I repeat, 'salat-al-wusta' does not allude to a specific salat but to the beautiful quality of all salats.

Another point which would help as evidence to understand Verse 2:238 correctly is that according to all who are well-versed with Quranic grammar, the word "wal" in the Quran has two functions.  It can either be used for separately mentioning two different subjects or it can also be used for mentioning two different qualities of the same subject.   Get my point?    For example, take a look at Verse 4:113 as follows:

"wa-anzala  Allahu alayka al-Kitaba wal-hikmata ..."  (V.4:113)

"And Allah has revealed to you the Book and wisdom"  (Translation of V.4:113).

The words "al-Kitaba wal-hikmata ..." that is, "the Book and Wisdom .."  refers to the Quran.  It's the Quran that is the Book as well as the Widsom or the Book that contains Wisdom.  It would be wrong to presume that "Wisdom" refers to something else.    Similarly when Allah Almighty says in V.2:238  "al-salawati wal salati al-wusta" it refers to prayers (or all prayers) and the excellent quality or the merit of the prayer.  And for this reason we must offer our prayer with devotion and obedience.

Hope my explanation is clear.  And only Allah knows best.

The rules of Arabic grammar are different from English and other languages.  In fact the rules of grammar of all languages carry their own different styles.  Awareness of this point will further help to understand the Noble Quran.

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