Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Guilt Cliche

In the Islamic faith, Muslims have to pray five times a day. The prayers involve reciting some verses from the Quran. Some of the verses vary from prayer to prayer, however, most of the verses, words, and physical movements are repetitive. Not only are they repeated five times a day, they are even repeated several times within the same prayer.

A lot of people complain that they cannot focus in their prayers. “Our bodies do what they should, and the words come out absentmindedly,” they say. “But our mind is almost always elsewhere.”

Some bitterly admit that if they lost their keys or are looking for an inspiration, all is solved during prayers! “Satan is resourceful; he will do anything to keep people away from Allah.”

It is a common regret amongst Muslims that they are growing weaker by the years. Due to much sinning, Satan’s job has gotten a lot easier. It doesn’t take much for him to weaken an already weak relationship between people and God.

Nostalgically, people would go back to what they have read about the time of the Prophet, PBU; the time of the “ideal Islam and Muslims.” A time in which a Prophet companion who had to have his leg cut off, insisted that he must begin to pray first. “How close to Allah was he!” admiringly they would say. “When he prays, he rises above all that is earthly.”

Well, today I thought about that while...praying!

I thought particularly about the reason why most of the prayers are repetitive and reoccurring. Why the physical movements occur in the same sequence. I thought whether it is not intended that people know them by heart and begin repeating them manually. If they are not a momentarily relief from conscious, and physique, allowing people to venture deeper into the subconscious and higher revelations.

I thought if people now a day are really praying any differently from the Prophet and his companions? Are prayers a challenge that we are too down of a generation to conquer? And had a Great God intended for them to be merely a daily reminder for people of how guilty they have become?

I also thought about the true reason why the "crazy" and "young" are not required to pray. Maybe they already have their "relief" and are open to many revelations. I also thought why children beginning with seven years of age are "encouraged" to experience prayers, forced into it at ten, and fully responsible after puberty. Why it is stressed that they grow "used to it." And if that is not a step towards making prayers a true absent-minded practice?

Have we simply been mimicking the “guilt cliché,” not realizing at the end of our prayer as we look to the right, and look to the left, with a sudden awakening from our sweet absence, that VUALA! This is IT! We have done it right. We have given ourselves a Godly designed practice of loss, absence, and physical lightness. Of higher venturing. Of a relief that we would not have allowed ourselves unless forced to!


أبو سنان said...

Great post. I am glad you talked about this issue.

It is my understand, and as a convert that might not be too accurate, that originally God wanted us to do many more daily prayers than we do right now. Mohammed (PBUH) requested to God to lighten His demands of us.

So now we have five prayers. I think they are done to make sure throughout the day we never forget God. As the recent shootings at Virginia Tech show, death is always near and you never know when the end will be.

Two Muslims were killed on that day. May God grant all victims of that date paradise.

Aysha said...

Abu Senan,
"Prayers are there so people never foget God," was the explanation that religion teachers have always given us in school.
Yet every now and then, I like to reflect on already explained matters to see their potential for deeper explanations, how the individual might relate to them as well as the crowd.
If you ask me, the reflecting process is a key ingredient to why converts do have a deeper understanding of the faith they imbrace despite how they keep wondering if they facts and practices they have learnt are fully accurate.

May God grant the victim's family peace and strength.

Christian said...

i'm a Christian, when i pray i speak to God as if i am having a conversation with someone who loves me and cares for my well being. It's hard for me to comprehend what God gets out of our prayers if they were more like customs and so repetitive..

Christian said...