The other clear example from the Reading is about the Sol-laa observed by you for yourself – it is for your own good. In this case you are told to commit to the good values by refraining from the practice of excessive profiteering.
God diminishes profiteering (riba) but encourages charity and God dislikes the disbelievers who are guilty. Surely, those who practice righteousness and uphold their commitments (Sol-laa-ta) and keep them pure (wa-a-tuz-zakaa), for them are rewards from their Lord. And there will be no fear upon them nor will they grieve. O you who believe, beware of God, refrain from taking what remains from profiteering if you truly believe in God. (2:276-279)
The subject of riba1 (or profiteering) begins at 2:275 and ends at 2:281. Profiteering is a condemned practice and we are commanded not to get involved with it. God degrades profiteering, encourages charity and He dislikes the guilty disbelievers (2:276). Instead He commands virtuous commitments that should be observed (Sol-laa-ta) and kept pure (2:277). Any involvement in profiteering should be stopped immediately, even if there are any balances owed (2:278). Otherwise God and His messenger will wage war (2:279). If a debtor is in difficulty, we are to give him time, otherwise, treat the debt as charity (2:280) whatever we do, God knows everything and we are to beware of the Last Day. (2:281)
The Sol-laa-ta2 mentioned at 2:277 is our commitment to stop earning income from profiteering (riba) and to maintain our commitments by abstaining from such practices. We do not perform ritual prayer to abstain from profiteering; instead we commit ourselves (Sol-laa-ta) by sacrificing our greed by doing the practical, good deeds prescribed by God and fulfil our commitment to ourselves.
The phrase ‘Wa-Aqimus-Sol-laa-tawaa-Atuz-Zakaata’ or observe your commitments and keep it pure appears in the middle of the subject of profiteering.
1 Some foolish scholars say Bank interest is Riba. They created the Islamic Banking and used the same Base Lending Rate like other Commercial Banks. What they actually did was – they use Arabic term for all transactions – and call it Islamic. Today many commercial banks earn more interest through this system and most of them have set up a special unit to service their Muslims customers who prefer to borrow money in Arabic. For the fools – Arabic means Islamic.
2 Sol-laa is never pronounced Salaat. Today, when the mosque announces the five daily prayers they say “Hai-ya-‘alaa-Sol-laa“. Salaat is a profane word not found in the Qur’an, which the Arabs and the u’lemas have invented and attributed to God.