The Forgotten Mosque (A vision Muslims are missing…)

The Call To Prayer wakes me up from my trance-like slumber. I enter the Masjid, and it seems that I’ve entered another world; a refuge, a safe and comforting place. I was a fish out of water, now I’m back in the ocean.

 
There are no more distractions and excuses, I leave my phone at home. For the phone call I’m about to make here is on another level.

 

I hear no talk of politics or of general gossip from the animalistic world of human nature. Instead, I hear the gentle whisperings of prayer and supplication – from people standing, sitting, and lying down. I begin a short prayer, to mark my entering and send salutations to the angels residing within.

 

Strands of light beam through the windows and gloriously shimmer on the carpets and walls; yet the place is spared from the oppressive saturation of artificial light or complete exposure to the sun. There is a graceful interplay of light-ray and shadow; as if I was couched in a sunlit wooded glade. The arch-ways still; remind me of those bowing and prostrating trees.

 

There are many people in here, but it appears so silent and so calming. This is not something I experienced before. The Imam enters, dressed in a dazzling white robe. An elderly but strongly dignified man with presence; his beard is short and white and his face and body language full of grace. He begins to lead the congregation, and we line-up and pray.

 

After the prayer the Imam makes vocal supplications in front of the congregation and we also each pray individually in our own chosen part of the mosque. Most of the people then depart – the women gathered at the back leave out of one door, and the men another. Yet, a few remain and sit in silent meditation with their rosary beads or with a book in their hands reading. As I sit here among the die-hards, I feel like I don’t want to leave. Yet, so many of us rush away so quickly after the obligatory prayers…….The Imam then opens a book and begins to read for the few who remain.

 

He reads the following passage from the Risale-i Nur:-

 

“One grain of truth wipes out a million lies. One grain of reality razes a castle of dreams. Honesty is a grand principle, a lustrous jewel.

If for the truth to be uttered it is damaging, it resigns its place to silence; lies have no place, even if they have some use.

Everything you say should be true, all your pronouncements right, but you have no right to say all that is true.

One should be well aware of this, and take as one’s principle: ‘Take what is clear and untroubled, leave what is turbid and distressing.’

See the good side of things; you will have good thoughts. Know things to be good and think of them as good; you will find the pleasure in life.

In life, hope and thinking favourably of things are life itself. While to think the worst is despair, the destroyer of happiness and slayer of life.”

– The Gleams.

 

 

 

 

This mosque, this masjid of my dream – it is not a place where voices are raised and passioned flared. The world is left at its door. This is a place of sobrierty, and sober reflection. Sober does not mean solemn, but it means that the state of joy in the heart is private and quiescent. It is not the place of singing and dancing, for that would disturb the silent orchestra that already reverberates around these walls and echoes in the stilled heart.

 

I feel….safe here. Is this just a building, does the beauty of its internal decorations solely give it such a power? Indeed, not. They are a beautiful part of the experience but what gives this masjid it’s power is the constant worship that is done inside it each day. Angels join each act of praise and their presence accumulates. The heart can feel their presence if it listens carefully enough.

 

In my dream, I attended Friday Prayers here – and each time the only concern of the Imam was whether we were maintaining our love for what is Higher or if we had slipped into loving a rival. In addition, every evening the Imam guided the community to enter the mosque and bring things that they wished to give away for free. Everybody was encouraged to bring something; some brought things that they made and others; things that they bought but no longer wished to own. At this time, the refuge of the mosque became even stronger. From the competitive slave-market of the world there was now a physical gift-economy in this place as well as an already existing spiritual gift-economy.

 

 

What civilization can truly survive, if it does not make beauty, unity, and community its goal? To worship is constant striving against the “self” which desires the material world and its constant jostling. This material world and its ideology either brings great suffering or great gluttony and laziness. If enough time was spent in the mosque; then inevitably mankind would be forced down the path of frugality. Complacency and laziness would be impossible because a constant balance would be sought between doing enough work to physically survive and doing enough prayer and supplication to spiritually survive. For the latter of course, there is never really enough. The more, the better – and the ego constantly fights it. We want to compete and to feel power; but yet we too often forget the One who enables us to achieve a single minor act.

 

This masjid may have been a dream, but like all myths it has a reality and a truth and somewhere it may even perhaps exist. Or perhaps not….

 

By Hossein Turner

Diversity in Creation: A Sign (ayah)

“And it is God who has created all animals out of water; and [He has willed that] among them are such as crawl on their bellies, and such as walk on two legs, and such as walk on four. God creates what He will. God has the power to will anything.” Quran, 24:45

We see an astonishing regularity and order in the universe. This shows that there is an infinitely Wise, Knowing and Powerful Creator.

 

We also see incredible diversity and variety in the universe. There are innumerable types of species. Moreover, within each species there is diversity: no two leaves are identical, each person is unique, and there is always an unpredictable aspect to events. This shows that the Creator is an agent with infinite free choice and will. God’s will is under no restriction whatsoever.

And, this is good news! If our Sustainer (Rabb) can will anything, then we can turn to our Rabb for healing and support in every situation!

 

~Quran translation adapted from M. Asad.

~Explanation adapted from Said Nursi, Flashes & Words.

www.alwaysrecievingnur.com

DUA for a Healthier You

When you pray for a new outlook to life and a brand new, healthy, mindful lifestyle, the One, who is the owner of the “Be and it is!” command, is there to help you to better yourself to be the perfect human being you are praying to be.

In this new stage, and always, your greatest ally, your most powerful tool, and your dearest friend is PRAYER!

Let’s take a look now at what prayer is and how you can transform the way you see prayer so that your prayers become like laser-point, achieving the intended goal…. The goal is to transform yourself to become like the perfect human beings, the prophets, in order to reach ultimate peace and happiness (therefore, please your Creator too).

“Call upon your Lord (O humankind) with humility and in the secrecy of your hearts…” (Qur’an, 7: 55).

“Remember and mention your Lord within yourself (in the depths of your heart), most humbly and in awe, not loud of voice, at morning and evening. And do not be among the neglectful” (Qur’an, 7: 205).

What is a prayer? It is supplication; dialogue between a person and the Diving Being; demonstration of one’s reliance; communication through which we gain confidence and clarity in our being and our Creator. But first and foremost, it is an act of submission. When we pray, we acknowledge that there is a caring Divine Being who has power and control and we need Him.

When we say prayer, the first thing that comes to our mind is a person supplicating to God through words. However, when we take a holistic perspective on prayer, we realize that everything in creation is in a state of prayer, in one form or another. For instance, a baby, as he is, is in a state of prayer. His existence is a sort of prayer, admitting that he cannot do anything and is asking others to do things for him. We can generalize this example to all beings. Nothing can sustain its existence on its own. So everything is, subconsciously or consciously, asking the One to sustain their existence. In this sense, the innate disposition of everything is prayer; recognizing and accepting of their reality, and confessing their imperfection and need. When we are trying to become healthier and working out, we are praying for the results.

If prayer is not seen in this way, it becomes an expectation for magic. We pray to have a car and wait to see a car fall out of thin air. The conventional understanding of prayer is that when you lose your job, you ask for a job. To the contrary, we are to pray consciously as human beings using our freewill. The real prayer is recognizing who we are, what the universe is, whom we are addressing in our prayers.

Let’s take a closer look at the Opening Chapter (Fatiha): …Lord of all the worlds (rabbul alameen) the Compassionate the Merciful; we seek help from you and we take refuge in you… This statement carries the gist of prayer. It is not asking for anything directly. We are communicating with the Creator, and telling Him “Lord of all the worlds.” Since He already knows what He is, why do we say these? In order to know whom we are communicating with, we state these qualities for ourselves, not for Him. Therefore, stating who the addressee is and knowing who we are is real supplication. Thus, the aim of prayer is to remind ourselves of our reality – that we are a created being who is infinitely dependent on our Creator who is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Wise. When a rain drop is falling, it has no choice but to obey the laws of God (i.e. gravity). When we eat or walk, it is as if we are praying to God to be able to eat and walk by obeying His laws (i.e. eating, digestion, having to sleep, having to blink, etc.). Seen this way, we could categorize prayer into three groups:

  1. Praying through latent ability; e.g. seeds and grains.
  2. Praying through innate need; e.g. causes seeking effects.
  3. Prayers of conscious beings:
  4. By action; e.g. sowing a seed.
  5. By word.

First, everything prays to its Creator with its latent ability, e.g. seeds and grains: The gathering together of causes is a prayer for the creation of the effect. The apple seed is in prayer to become an apple tree. Its innate/latent ability shows that it wants to be an apple tree; it is made to be an apple tree. How do we understand that they are praying? Just by looking at the seed we see that they do not have any power, knowledge, or capacity to grow the apple tree. Its prayer is answered when the Creator gives it the apple tree. From one aspect, they demonstrate that they cannot realize their potentials on their own. What we see in the universe is but a prayer to God.

Second, all living creatures pray to God through their innate need to give them the things they need and desire, which are beyond their power and will: Those things that are causes seek the effects from God. Every plant, as it demonstrates its need, is praying to give its final intended fruit. Our ears need to hear, our stomachs need food. This need is a prayer in itself. If we disassociate this need from our relation/communication with our Creator, then this need does not become a form of prayer. If we think we are self-sufficient, we are cutting off our praying relationship with our Creator. But apart from human beings, all creatures by default admit their dependency on God. Through their need they pray: “I cannot provide it; some other source must provide it for me.” When we are supplicating with our tongue, all we are doing is reaffirming/joining the universal supplication of all creatures, as well as body, senses, intellect, etc.

The first two types of prayer, through latent ability and innate need, are always answered. For instance, we are hungry and the food is already created; we need to walk and we are given the ability to walk, etc. However, as conscious beings, we are responsible for using our conscious and freewill to do the third type of prayer.

Third, the prayer of conscious beings arising from need: Prayer is the most sacred action of human beings. What we are actually doing is joining creation and following the example of their prayer. As conscious beings, we pray through action and through words.

The prayer of conscious beings through action: For example, plowing is a prayer by action. It is not seeking the sustenance from the earth. Rather, the earth is a door to a treasury of mercy, and the plow knocks on the earth: the door to Divine Mercy. Whether or not the farmer accepts that it is not earth but God who gives the products, this prayer is still answered. So if he thinks it is coming from nature, this conscious choice is wrong, but the action of plowing is a type of prayer that is rewarded. It is in the laws of creation that if we sow a seed, it sprouts. We do not have to be a believer for the seed to sprout. So this type of prayer is also always accepted.

Human beings also make prayers at times of desperate need, or completely conformable with innate need, or made with the tongue of a sincere heart. This prayer is virtually always acceptable. The greater part of human progress and most scientific discoveries are the result of this sort of prayer.

And finally, the prayer of conscious beings through words: After we sow the seed (prayer by action), we pray to God with words to create tomatoes for us; after we study hard (prayer by action), we ask God to get a good grade; after we go to the doctor and take our medication (prayer by action), we ask God to heal us; after we exert all effort to behave kindly towards our friend (by action), we ask God to amend our relationship, etc.

Prayer is the spirit of worship and the result of sincere belief. Through prayer, the worshipper proclaims his or her own impotence and poverty. Praying is an acknowledgment that there is a Divine Being who rules the whole universe, and that He hears all the voices of all beings, including ours.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Had not God wanted to give, He would not have given wanting.” God responds to our prayers according to His wisdom: e.g. the doctor listens to the sick person’s sighs and moans; he hears and responds to them. The sweetest result of prayer is this that the person who offers it knows there is someone who takes pity on him and whose hand of power reaches everything. He is not alone in this great hostel of the world. The benefits of prayer also include eternal life. If the worldly aims are not obtained, it may not be said, “The prayer was not accepted.” It should rather be said, “The time of the prayer has still not ended.” As prayer strengthens the inclination to do good, so repentance and the seeking of forgiveness cut the inclination to do evil, putting an end to its transgressions.

God says in the Qur’an, “… Pray to me and I will answer you…” (Qur’an, 40: 60). Yet sometimes we think our prayers are not answered. Prayers are answered in three forms: a) what we asked for is granted as is, b) something that is better than what we asked for is granted, c) the response is deferred to the afterlife. When we go to the doctor and ask for medicine A, the doctor would give it to us if it is what we need. Or he would give us medicine B saying that either medicine A would actually make our illness worse or simply that medicine B would help us heal better and faster. Alternatively, the doctor may say, the best cure for your case is to wait it out… This analogy helps us to contemplate on our prayers and God’s response to our prayers. Sometimes we ask for things, but we do not possess knowledge of the future. What we are asking for may in fact be terrible for us. So it is wise to always say: “God I am asking for such and such but you know best, please give it to me if it is khayr/good for me…”

Let’s keep in mind…

  • God is making us want to be healthier.
  • God, the Most-Powerful, is promising to answer our prayer!
  • We do get the answer to our prayer immediately: the peace we feel when we connect to the Source.

Compasión Libre de Prejuicios

Nuestro ego está programado para hacernos sentir y pensar como si existiéramos independientes de un origen, por ejemplo como si fuéramos nuestro propio Señor. Inevitablemente, esta visión arrogante y egocéntrica nos hace mirar a los demás por encima del hombro y juzgarles a diestro y siniestro…No podemos deshacernos de esta vanidad diciéndonos “debo ser humilde porque ser humilde es bueno”. El cambio exterior solo puede llegar a través de una transformación interior. Reconocer nuestra realidad – siervos (abd) dependientes al 100% del Creador para crear, alimentarnos y adornarnos – nos hace externa e internamente humildes. Tener una perspectiva egocéntrica frente a una perspectiva centrada en Dios determina cómo miramos a los demás e interactuamos con ellos. Cuando vemos un defecto o error en alguien, ¿Cómo respondemos? ¿Nos apiadamos de ellos desde nuestros supuestos sublimes estados de ser? ¿Les juzgamos junto al resto de infractores? ¿O simplemente reconocemos que tienen fallos igual que nosotros? Ellos también cometen errores constantemente como nosotros… ¿y sale de nuestros labios un sentimiento de compasión rezando a Dios para que les ayude también igual que a nosotros? ¿Cuál es la respuesta correcta cuando vemos que alguien se equivoca?

Podemos contestar estas preguntas examinando esta analogía. Cuando ves a una persona que tose de forma severa, ¿qué haces para ayudarle?

  1. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona porque está tosiendo?
  2. ¿Cubres su boca con tu mano?
  3. ¿Le pides que no tosa?
  4. ¿Le das algún medicamento para que deje de toser?
  5. ¿Crees que toser es bueno porque es un síntoma que nos deja ver que algo va mal en el cuerpo?
  6. ¿Llevas a esa persona al médico para que le diagnostiquen la causa de este síntoma?

Deberíamos alegrarnos de que el síntoma esté ahí y actuemos inmediatamente llevando a esa persona a un especialista. Cuando te enteras de que una persona tiene bronquitis, ¿qué haces?

  1. ¿Acabas con la vida de la persona?
  2. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona?
  3. ¿Le abres el pecho, le quitas los pulmones y los tiras?
  4. ¿Le dices a esa persona que hay una medicina para esa enfermedad y le das esperanza?
  5. ¿Empiezas el tratamiento dándole toda la medicina de una vez?
  6. ¿Le das la medicina tal y como está prescrita por el especialista?

La respuesta debería ser obvia: decirle a la persona que no se preocupe y que solo tiene que seguir las instrucciones. Ahora vamos a aplicarlo a otro contexto. Crees que el mensaje del Corán es cierto. Ves a una persona beber alcohol. ¿Qué haces para ayudar a esta persona?

  1. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona porque está bebiendo alcohol?
  2. ¿Le quitas el vaso de vino?
  3. ¿Le dices que no beba?
  4. ¿Empiezas a recitar aleyas importantes del Corán donde se prohíbe beber alcohol?
  5. ¿Crees que es una señal de que esta persona no está convencida de que debería seguir el mensaje del Corán?
  6. ¿Hablas con esta persona para averiguar si conoce el mensaje del Corán?

Deberíamos alegrarnos de ver el problema ahí y actuar inmediatamente: llevarle a un especialista. Cuando te enteras de que una persona no conoce el mensaje del Corán ¿qué haces?

  1. ¿Acabas con la vida de esa persona?
  2. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona?
  3. ¿Declaras que esa persona es un no creyente y le pides que abandone la comunidad musulmana?
  4. ¿Le dices a esa persona que hay una buena razón por la que debería seguir el Corán y empiezas una relación de amistad con esa persona?
  5. ¿Le dices “somos musulmanes, el Corán es nuestro Libro Sagrado, debemos poner en práctica nuestros deberes religiosos; si no caeremos en el Fuego del Infierno en el Más Allá”?
  6. ¿Le das la oportunidad de aprender para qué es la existencia, lo que significa ser un ser humano en la Tierra y quién es realmente Dios? ¿Ayudamos a esa persona a saber por qué Dios envía Profetas, lo que es la religión en realidad, lo que nos ofrece el mensaje del Corán y por qué no deberíamos beber alcohol?

La respuesta está clara: dile a la persona que no se preocupe; las respuestas a todas estas preguntas nos han sido concedidas. Pero el problema permanece ahí – ¿tenemos la respuesta a estas preguntas o solo decimos: “En nuestra religión, beber alcohol está prohibido; obedece a Dios y a Sus Profetas, y entonces estarás a salvo”? Esto son reclamos sin prueba alguna. Si no conocemos las respuestas a estas preguntas entonces primero debemos educarnos a nosotros mismos con las enseñanzas del Corán y del Profeta, y solo entonces podremos ayudar a los demás. Si intentamos a ciegas realizar un cambio religioso en esta persona, seguramente acabaremos con ella. Sin embargo, podemos llevar a esta persona a un especialista (alguien que tenga una sabiduría considerable del paradigma del Corán) y asegurarnos de que el especialista tiene las respuestas.

Debemos estudiar el Corán como fuente de las respuestas a las dudas existenciales. Una vez que hemos empezado a prestar atención a este aspecto del Corán, nos daremos cuenta que de la mayoría de sus aleyas tratan de los derechos fundamentales de la fe.

Extraído del libro El Maestro Compasivo: Ensayos sobre la Fe Islámica escrito por Dr. Eren Tatari (http://www.amazon.com/Compassionate-Teacher-Eren-Tatari-ebook/dp/B00EBC8MSK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1415108190&sr=8-8&keywords=eren+tatari)

Traducido por Yolanda Sánchez Martínez (yosamar@hotmail.com)