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This Quranist Man's Problem with Prayers in his Old Age

 

This Quranist Man's Problem with Prayers in his Old Age

Published in September 6, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

  We have received this email message, and we publish all of it below, followed by our reply.

 

 (... Dear Sir, I am originally from Syria, though I have spent most of my life outside Syria. I used to be a Nasserist and a supporter of Pan-Arabism in the 1960s, and I used to organize demonstrations in Syria to express full support to the Baath Party, but I disbelieved in all such ideologies after the June 1967 war (a.k.a. the Six-Day War). I used to embrace a type of atheist secularism; during my working years inside the hell called the KSA, I felt the deepest hate toward Wahabism and the racism of the Saudi royal family, and I used to hide my feelings and my secularism. I bore up with my hellish life inside the KSA till I have made a good fortune and I returned to Syria with my wealth. I worked there as a screenplay writer within the Syrian TV series, and when the Syrian civil war began in Syria in 2011, Bashar Al-Assad confiscated all freedoms; I was interrogated for a month, on a daily basis, by nine different security bodies of Al-Assad, because of my long stay inside the KSA and returning from it with lots of money. I felt that Syria was on the verge of civil war and total destruction; I gathered all my money and sold my assets and possessions and left for Turkey, where I'm staying now. I have established a small project (a small shop) to be my source of earning my living and to live in peace after feeling depressed for so many years inside the KSA and the so many humiliations and persecution I suffered in Syria. Sadly, my predictions were correct and Syria is destroyed now and I will never return to it. I felt the deepest of sorrow as millions of Syrian refugees have settled in Turkey, Jordan, EU, and Egypt. My life of tranquility inside Turkey allows me ample time to reflect deeply and to read extensively. I failed within my endeavors to write screenplays for the Turkish TV series; I felt utter despair in this respect; the Turkish people seem to be somehow racist and mostly hate and despise Arabs; besides, I never managed to learn the Turkish language. Before I despair, I felt amazed with your articles, books, and researches on history within your great Quranism website; this is rich material for screenplays for period drama. When I told a Syrian friend of mine about my ideas to turn this rich material into period drama, he told me that the Turkish people care only about the Ottoman history of their ancestors and Turkish TV series of social themes about modern life in Turkey. I spend hours on end inside my shop reading your writings about history and about Quranism; I rejected atheism and I have converted to Quranism, True Islam. I take pride in being a Quranist now; but I feel extreme difficulty in changing my lifestyle. I used to hate the daily prayers very much because when I was in the KSA, the performance of congregational prayers daily was obligatory and imposed by religious police there, whose men would readily persecute, beat, punish, and incarcerate people for trivial reasons. I used to pray there out of fear; I never prayed before going to the KSA; once out of this cursed country, I felt relieved and decided never to pray again; yet, within the terror I have lived in Syria because of the security apparatuses that interrogated me in 2011, I used to murmur prayers to seek refuge in God and seek forgiveness and safety. At these painful time, I used to perform the five daily prayers, but once interrogations were over, I forsook prayers as usual! Feeling safe in Turkey and having spare time and enough money, I read extensively within the archive of your great Quranism website. Watching your YouTube videos, I was deeply moved and surprised by your deep level of knowledge in history. At first, I decided not to read any writings about the Quran and criticizing Sunna and hadith, then my curiosity prevailed; I devoured every article and every book you have written, starting with the one titled "The Quran Is Enough and Sufficient Source of Legislations". Soon enough, I read your articles on politics, but I totally disagree with you regarding your favorable views of both Israel and the USA. But let me tell you about my problem with performing prayers; converting to Quranism means that I have to perform the five daily prayers. At first, I liked the views of some people (who falsely claim to be Quranists) who assert that the daily prayers are three, and not five, and of those who claim that prayers are merely reading the Quran on a daily basis. Of course, I have rejected these false ideas; I am now convinced by your writings that the daily prayers are definitely five. I like very much your idea in the book titled "The Quran Is Enough and Sufficient Source of Legislations" that the Prophet's contemporaries used to pose many, repeated questions to him, but NEVER about prayers: their number and timings, etc. and because prayers were known very well, its performance is never described in the Quran, unlike many other details mentioned to answer their questions. This proves clearly that prayers are known since the era of Abraham as part of the Abrahamic traditions. I am convinced by your historical and Quranic research about the Qorayish people and Arabs at that time offering prayers both to God and their entombed saints/deities inside mosques, and bringing offerings and oblations to them. I like very much your ideas about the Quran as the only criterion within all religious issues in Islam and that the real testimony uttered in the five daily prayers is the verse 3:18. You are absolutely right about the Quranic fact that one is not to combine two prayers together (of the five obligatory ones) unless in cases of fear and being chased. I agree with you that one can pray in whatever way and wherever locality, even when traveling by air, by train, or in a car, provided that piety and concentration are attained as much as one can, as piety is the higher purpose of all acts of worship. You see, I am repeating your ideas almost verbatim. My problem is that you have asserted that missed prayers must be performed by the pious ones before they die and one cannot overlook this issue; I felt panicked and horrified: am I to perform all my missed daily prayers of the last 40 years of my life?! 5 prayers X 365 days X 40 years = 73.000 prayers! This extremely difficult and seemed quite intimidating! The remainder of my lifetime might not be enough; I am an old man now. Another problem was that I could not at first concentrate while praying at all; I  have overcome this problem by repeating prayers or parts of it; e.g., when I feel I did not concentrate in piety and in the fear of Allah while reading the Quranic Chapter One, I recite it once more; the same applies to prostrations that I repeat till I feel that my heart is prostrating as well in reverence before our Lord Allah. I felt happy to achieve this measure of success, and I felt encouraged to perform missed prayers gradually by praying one additional prayer with each of the five daily ones. Being preoccupied with prayers made me another man who has changed to the better; indeed, prayers are real treasure for those who can feel the connection with Allah and the sheer bliss of piety attained by prayers. I feel that I am protected by Allah and I never fear any mortals. Performance of missed prayers went on for two years, but unfortunately, ailments have attacked my old, weak body, because I am over 70 years old now, and senility normally began to show its symptoms. My sedentary lifestyle must take its toll; the pains within my joints and backbone are unbearable, and I move very slowly. I now pray while sitting on a chair. I have become incontinent and urine gets out of me easily to soil my underwear. I live alone in a small house, and I find extreme difficulty in changing my outer clothes and underwear so frequently after they are soiled with my urine. I have taken your advice and stopped worrying about urinating before or during prayers, and I change my underwear only once after I wake up, bearing in mind that Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity and that Islam is based on ease and facilitation. Yet, in my old age, I feel that dementia is showing its symptoms as well; I usually forget the number of Raqas and prostrations in the daily prayers though I try to concentrate as much as I can. I sometimes feel so distressed about this that I forget if I performed some of the missed prayers or not! I pray on my chair now in such conditions and I try to repeat prayers if I lose my concentration, and sometimes I pray while lying down in bed when I am extremely tired. Will God forgive and excuse me or not? I know I am an old, senile, diseased man and God does not burden people beyond their capacity. What if I died before performing all missed prayers?! What do you think? Thank you ...)

 

OUR REPLY:

1- You are following the Righteous Path; you must thank our Lord Allah for your being guided to the Quranic Truth. Be assured that God is Merciful and Forgiving, and you are right to remember always that He never burdens a soul beyond its capacity.  

2- We sincerely hope that readers would learn a lot from your message you have sent to us.


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