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Does Allah Almighty Pray?
By Sami Zaatari
It has been asserted that Allah prays according to some Arab Christians, they draw their conclusion from these verses:
YUSUFALI: They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.
Ola-ika AAalayhim salawatun min rabbihim warahmatun waola-ika humu almuhtadoona#
YUSUFALI: He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers.
Huwa allathee yusallee AAalaykum wamala-ikatuhu liyukhrijakum mina alththulumati ila alnnoori wakana bialmu/mineena raheeman
YUSUFALI: Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.
Inna Allaha wamala-ikatahu yusalloona AAala alnnabiyyi ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo salloo AAalayhi wasallimoo tasleeman
They like to claim that the translations falsely translate the verses putting the word blessing rather than putting the word praying/ prayer, since in Arabic the text says salawatun/yusallee/yusalloona which mean praying in Arabic not blessing, while blessing in Arabic is called baraka.
So from all of this they conclude that Allah prays, and the translations are wrong, and they ask the Muslim's who does Allah pray to?
In this article we shall refute their claim that Allah prays, and expose these Arab Christians for not doing homework, since had they consulted the tafsir their cheap and weak argument would have gone down the drain, but since Arab Christians tend to be very arrogant and witty because they think know Arabic they feel they know everything. (although it must be said that most Arab Christians do not know Arabic very well, and cannot even pronounce words properly, and often do not understand the language)
So to refute this claim, let us first consult Ibn Kathir's tafsir regarding Surah 33:56 which will refute the entire argument:
The Meaning of Salah
Allah's Salah means that He praises His servant before the angels, as Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Al-`Aliyah. This was recorded by Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi from Ar-Rabi` bin Anas from Anas. Others said: "Allah's Salah means mercy.'' It may be said that there is no contradiction between these two views. And Allah knows best. Salah from the angels means their supplication and seeking forgiveness for people, as Allah says:
Those who bear the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! Our Lord! And make them enter the `Adn Garden which you have promised them -- and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And save them from the sins.'') (40:7-9) t
(that He may bring you out from darkness into light. ) means, by means of His mercy towards you, His praise of you and the supplication of His angels for you, He brings you forth from the darkness of ignorance and misguidance into the light of guidance and certain faith.
So as you can see, Allah's Salah does not mean prayer, rather it is him praising his servants before the angels, and also sending down his mercy upon them. So the translations are not wrong in putting the word blessing, because if Allah praises you among his angels and sends his mercy down to you than that is indeed a blessing. Now some might say but doesn’t Salah mean praying? Yes, it does, however so, when the term is applied to God the term does not mean prayer rather it means sending mercy and praising, when the term is applied on a normal human, it refers to prayer, but not when refered to Allah.
One Sheikh even writes:
This is well known among the scholars, but the correct view is something different, because blessing (salaah) is more specific than mercy. Hence the Muslims are unanimously agreed that it is permissible to pray for mercy for every believer, but they differed as to whether we may pray for blessings (using this specific word of salaah or salli ‘ala…) for anyone other than the Prophets. If the word salaah here is taken to mean mercy, then there is no difference between them, and just as we pray for mercy for a person we may send blessings upon them.
Moreover, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones”
The word rahmah (mercy) is mentioned in conjunction with the word salawaat (blessings), which indicates that they are two different things, so the meaning of the verse is clear. The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) used the word salaah (blessings) in some places and the word rahmah (mercy) in others, so salaah is the not the same as mercy. The best that cane be said concerning this is what Abu’l-‘Aaliyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The salaah (blessing) of Allaah upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is His praising him among the “higher group” (the angels).
So what is meant by Allaahumma salli ‘alayhi (O Allaah send blessings upon him) is: O Allaah, praise him among the higher group, i.e., among the angels who are close to Allaah.
If someone were to say that this is unlikely from a linguistic point of view, because salaah in Arabic means supplication, not praise, the answer to that is that the word salaah is also connected to the word silah (gift), and there can be no doubt that praise for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) among the higher group (angels) is one of the greatest gifts, for praise may sometimes be more important to a person than all else. So a good mention is a great gift.
Based on this, the correct view is that sending blessings (salaah) upon him means praise for him along the higher group (the angels). End quote.
Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/163, 164
In fact the Sheikh also gives a response to what is meant By Allah sending down his blessings and salams to the prophet:
What is the meaning of blessings and salaams upon the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?.
Praise be to Allaah.
“Blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)” – according to the majority of scholars, what is meant is mercy from Allaah, prayers for forgiveness offered by the angels, and du’aa’ offered by humans. Others – including Abu’l-Aaliyah among the earlier scholars and Ibn al-Qayyim among the later scholars, and Ibn ‘Uthaymeen among the contemporary scholars – are of the view that the meaning of blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is praise for him among the “higher group” (al-mala’ al-‘a’la, i.e., the angels, cf. al-Saffaat 37:8), and the prayers of the angels and the Muslims for blessings upon him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) are for him to be praised by Allaah among the “higher group” (the angels). Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote a book on this topic entitled Jala’ al-Afhaam fi Fadl al-Salaati wa’l-Salaam ‘ala Khayr il-Anaam, in which he discussed at length the meaning of blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the rulings thereon, and its benefits.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The phrase “Bless Muhammad (salli ‘ala Muhammad)” – it was said that blessing from Allaah means mercy, blessings from the angels means prayer for forgiveness, and blessing from humans means du’aa’.
So as you can see, the view by scholars is agreed, that Allah's Salah on the prophet is him sending his mercy down to the prophet and praising him among the angels.
So it is crystal clear that Allah does not pray, and that Arab Chistians intentionally distort the meaning of Allah's Salah lying to the Muslims claiming it means praying, when in fact the term Salah when used for Allah does not mean praying rather it means sending down mercy and praising his servant.
It seems that these Christians are ashamed that their god Jesus prayed, and they have no good response as to why God would pray, so they have become so desperate that they now want to try and show that Allah prays and by doing so they believe it excuses their own god for praying. How sad, they failed to show Allah prays, hence they still have their own problem of why their god prayed, and we shall all have to wait and see what other tactics our Christian friends will have to come up with to try and rid themselves of this major problem.