Friday, August 31, 2012

Learning From the Muslims

This past weekend, I met with a very good friend of mine who is also Muslim. We spent a few days hanging out and I can't help but notice some of the things she does.

Muslims are very clean. They wash their hands, face and feet before all prayers and take a shower before morning prayer. Most people know this. But did you know that Muslims also take a water bottle into the bathroom to wash after their business is done? The focus on cleanliness was surprising.

Now, I don't know many pagans who don't wash up before ritual; it is almost required. Who wants to come to their Gods dirty in spirit and body?

Although there is ALWAYS an exception.
"Cleanliness is Godliness." For people who originated out of a desert, they sure do focus on water a lot. I digress. Anyway, spending a weekend with a Muslim friend has given rise to a thought: should we clean ourselves every time we want to speak to our Gods? I'm not talking about rituals, but the small gestures we do throughout the day. Every time we come to our altars, mental or physical, should we ritually wash ourselves? Before meditations, before we see the Moon, before Sunrise? Yes, we are people of the Earth, who love and revel the outside world. But is there a line?

Another thing that many people often hear about is how many times a day a Muslim prays. If you don't know the exact number, it is 5 times. It is said in the Qur'an that Allah commanded humans to pray 50 times a day but was talked down to 5 because humans cannot do that and still function. Granted, our ancestors had priests and priestesses who dedicated their entire lives to worshiping and working for a particular God or Goddess and there were the people who would constantly come into the Temples. However, in our modern world, we generally don't make the time to pray that much and the Pagan community is just now starting to get places of worship up and running. How then should prayer fit into our daily lives? Should we increase our connection with the Spiritual world and decrease the hold our modern lives have gripped us in?

How many of you reading this post also have Facebook or Twitter up? I know I do, along with my school work and my own research. We Industrialized people have our heads stuck in the computers for hours on end, and don't bother to stop for a day and just go outside. According to the Census Bureau, almost 77% of households (Table 1C) have some sort of computer. How many of you with computers also go outside and commune at least once daily? (I am guilty of not going outside to commune enough. I DO go outside, but not for very long. Must. Change. This!)

So then, I learned that these people make time for their prayers. They make time to be clean. They carve out their days to praise their God wholly and completely. Should we do so too?

More on this later, maybe.

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