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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word salat (pl. salawat) is an Aramaic verbal noun s'lota (bowing or bending) had passed into several dialects with the meaning of prayer. This word was used by Armaic speaking Jews for the obligatory recital of the 18 benedictions. In Hebrew, the synagogue of the Jews was also termed as a salat, vide Koran, 22:40. It also means to walk behind anything constantly. In horse-race, the second horse runs just behind the first horse, is also called salla. Its meaning indicates to follow the divine law constantly. Another view suggest that it means burnt. It signifies that through the agency of worship, a person seeks to burn or kill the animal instinct within him. The verb from which it derives is salla (hallow); as an act of God it is translated as "to bless"; and as an act of man it is translated as "to pray." W. Montgomery Watt writes in Muhammad in Medina (London, 1956, p. 304) that, "The usual translation of salat is "prayer," but this corresponds rather to dua." The word du'a is derived from da'wa or ad'iya, meaning to call or cry, occurring 159 times in the Koran.

In the Koran, the noun salat occurs in the singular 78 times, 65 times with the definite article, twice in a genitive construction (24:58) and 11 times with a pronoun affixed, while it occurs only 5 times in the plural. Besides, there are 16 occurrences of various forms of the verb salla (second verbal form, with the meaning to perform salat), which is derived from the noun. The usual Koranic phrase is qama bi's-salat or qama ila

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