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Tranquility and Peace

'Salat’ : Understand its

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Essay No. 6 in a series of essays on Values
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The Socio-economic Implications of As-Salat

As-Salat is the foundation of a Socio-economic system, in which, people not only
refrain from lewdness or unseemly behaviour and from indulging in anything
forbidden by Allah but also expend their physical and financial resources for the
welfare of others

By: Tanveer Hussain, PhD
June  2006

It cannot be just a co-incidence that the Quran mentions As-salat, at least 27
times along with Az-zakat[1] (an economic system established by the Islamic
state that ensures physical, mental, moral, spiritual and intellectual development
of its human resources) and at least 8 times along with infaq[2] (an Islamic-
society norm wherein the rich and the plenteous willingly contribute their
physical and financial resources for the development and betterment of the
deprived and the disadvantaged). This fact alone is enough to underscore the
socio-economic implications of As-Salat. It will also be edifying, in this regard, to
recall the story of the exalted Prophet, Sho’aib (a.s.) mentioned in Sura Hud
verses 84-87. Sho’aib (a.s.) said to the people of Madyan:

“O My people! Obey Allah with humility and submissiveness. There is no deity
other than Him. Do not give short measure and weight. Behold, I see you in a
happy state; but, verily, I dread lest suffering befall you on a Day that will
encompass [you with doom]! Hence, O my people, [always] give full measure
and weight, with equity, and do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs,
and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption. That which rests with
Allah is best for you, if you but believe [in Him]! However, I am not your keeper.”

According to the above quoted verses, Sho’aib (a.s.) told the people of Madyan,
inter alia, the following two things: (1) to obey Allah alone with humility and
submissiveness, and (2) to reform their commerce.  

This is what the people of Madyan said in response:  

“O Sho'aib! Does your SALAT commands you that we leave off the worship
which our forefathers practised, or that we leave off doing what we like (to do)
with our property?...”[11:87].

The response of the people of Madyan indicates that they were expecting As-
Salat to be merely a way of worship but it rather came to their surprise that As-
Salat also had its socio-economic implications and that with its establishment
they were also supposed to leave off doing with their property what they would
like to do with it otherwise.

The Quran says that a key characteristic of the true Musalleen (who establish
As-Salat) is that in their wealth and possessions, there is an established RIGHT
for the needy and the destitute[3]. The Quran further says that a typical cause of
people going into the hell-fire would be that they did not provide means of
sustenance to those who were unable to move on in life because of lack of
resources[4]. The Quran has also delineated the traits of those so-called
Musalleen who consider As-Salat mere performance of a visible rite in order that
they be considered virtuous by those who see them praying, and who are utterly
oblivious of the socio-economic implications of As-Salat and the consequential
responsibilities that accrue therefore. The Quran warns such so-called
musalleen of woeful consequences, who consider the performance of just the
visible rites as the ultimate aim and withhold the sources of sustenance just to
themselves, which should remain open like ever-flowing springs for all the poor
and the needy[5].

Allah says in Sura Al-Ankaboot 29 verse 45, “Verily As-Salat prohibits from
alfahsha-i waalmunkari. Alfahsha-i not only means ‘lewdness’ or ‘unseemly
conduct’ but it particularly means stinginess or avarice[6] i.e. ‘ an insatiable
desire for collecting everything for oneself and not caring about the welfare of

So the true Musalleen would be those who not only refrain from any lewdness or
unseemly behaviour and from indulging in anything forbidden by Allah but who
would also never withhold wealth just to themselves rather they would devoutly
expend they physical and financial resources for the welfare of others.

Notes & References

[1] Al-Quran 2:43; 2:83; 2:110; 2:177; 2:277; 4:77; 4:162; 5:12; 5:55; 9:5; 9:11; 9:18;
9:71; 19:31; 19:155; 21:73; 22:41; 22:78; 23:2-4; 24:37; 24:56; 27:3; 31:4; 33:33; 58:
13; 73:20; 98:5

[2] Al-Quran 2:3; 8:3; 9:54; 13:22; 14:31; 22:35; 35:29; 42:38

[3] Al-Quran Sura Al-Maarij 70:22-25

[4] Al-Quran Sura Al-Muddaththir 74:38-45

[5] Al-Quran Sura Al-Maun 107:1-7

[6] Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon; Mufradat-ul-Quran by Raghib Isfahani; Lughat-
ul-Quran by Parvez; Al-Qamoos-ul-Moheet  by Feeroz Abadi; Lisan-al-Arab by Ibn-