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Offline Reader Questions

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Why Rituals Don't Work
« on: November 11, 2011, 04:35:16 AM »
Dear Brother Joe, Salaam
 
I think those trying to question the traditional definition of different rituals in Islam and particularly Salaat seem to be influenced by it's emphasis in the Qur'an verses what they see in their societies where the objectives of these rituals are failing to give them decent life.
 
I wonder if you have written or thinking of writing an article to explain why rituals are not helping the Ummah not only in this day and age but over the past many hundreds of years of Muslim decline?

Here is food for thought:

[A litmus test for a society to see that their dedication to religion is working or not is to see how people behave.]

Right now in Muslim countries, the situation of human rights, justice for the poor, good governance, is really pathetic and does not suit people who live and die by Qur'an and Hadith/Sunnah. Little they wonder in spite of all their rituals, why their countries suffer from:

-Bad governance

- Corruption, nepotism, discrimination based on ethnicity, bribery, favoritism
- Lack of affordable education
- Lack of affordable health care
- Lack of affordable housing
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Lack of clean streets and drinking water
- Women bashing justified by questionable interpretation of religion
- Lack of respect for those visiting government institutions to get things done
- Child molestation
- Child marriages
- Feudal lords
- Tribalism
- Honour killings
- It is not what you know, who you know syndrome
- Superstition and asking favours from long dead saints
- Lack of tolerance and aversion to healthy debates
- Lack of discipline and aversion to following regulations
- No rule of Law
- Obscurantism and sectarianism runs supreme. Extremism is taken as true faith.
- Lack of affordable justice
- Showing off and tendency to 'œthrow one's weight around'
- Lack of common courtesy
-Lack of contribution towards ethics, science and technology
-Treating minorities like trash and hoping they would be influenced by Islam

As patients belonging to a sick Ummah, we need to sit up and ask the doctors of religion what are they feeding us in the name of a cure? It is not working for hundreds of years!! We need to examine the medicine to make sure it is the right one.
 
That is, as a thinking people, our responsibility.
 
Thanks,
 
Mubashir

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Why Rituals Don't Work
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 04:35:51 AM »
Peace brother Mubashir.

I personally feel that the requirement to pray has nothing to do with the state of the Ummah. Many Jews pray and are arguably one of the most powerful people on Earth if their influence is also considered. Muslim nations have seen tremendous successes "They prayed". The decline of the Muslim Ummah has many factors. Numerous you have already mentioned and there are many more. This has nothing to do with prayer. It is little use praying and then not upholding the values of the Quran, but rather following convoluted and oft contradictory traditions of the 9th century Arabs.
(note 9 not 7 - reference to secondary source canonisation periods).

Prayer is an important part of worship, an extremely fundamental part. But much of today's prayer is ritualised, without meaning and purpose. It is often uttered in a language where majority of Muslims have no understanding of it's meaning (Arabic). Many that do understand the Arabic, have a convoluted understanding of its narratives based on Secondary sources. Therefore in recitation, much 'hikmah' could potentially pass by.

There are many my brother, (probably like me and yourself), that Alhamdulillah are living a full life with God's bounties and thanking Him for it as much as we can. To instil justice, honour and righteousness in our lives as best we can with the hope to improve on our endeavours and in hope of God's salvation. It is a hope. May God help us. However prayer is still a fundamental part of our lives. It gives us spiritual strength as we commune with him at different times of the day with every changing conditions on the ground. I often find I have a new matter to discuss with my Lord. He is our God, our only True friend and listener.

God tells us that He does not change a condition of a people unless they are willing to change themselves (13:11) Unless they change what they want to follow, how will things change?

Why do many in Western countries seem to succeed? Because unknown to them, they seem to adhere to more Islamic values than do those that call themselves Muslims! Trial and error has seen them through intellectual growth, better technology, social welfare etc. But it has taken time and without guidance, they still overstep the mark in many areas. Overt Libertarians, political correctness, injustices for fathers, all this once again part of the trial and error method.

But Muslims have the perfect guidance. But do they use it? Well you and I know the extent of the answer.

However,  I am sure that you do appreciate that this has anything to do with prayer.

I really liked your penultimate sentence which I concur with:

"As patients belonging to a sick Ummah, we need to sit up and ask the doctors of religion what are they feeding us in the name of a cure? It is not working for hundreds of years!! We need to examine the medicine to make sure it is the right one"

On a related matter, please see the following link. I know I have shared brother Yusuf's video with you before, but I've tried to put it in another way for prospective readers to entice them to think, God willing.

Please let me know what you think.

http://quransmessage.com/articles/jewish%20prayer%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Reader Questions

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Re: Why Rituals Don't Work
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 04:37:59 AM »
Thanks for your comments dear Brother!

My issue now would be the reasons Allah prescribed Salah: It prevents us from engaging in shameful and other deeds!
 
Similarly fasting is for developing Taqwa!

We very well know that When Allah prescribes something for us He gives us it's rationale [Unlike a Dictator].
 
Rituals are tools to raise God Consciousness. The are not not an end by themselves, but a means to an end. Why, then are they not working?
 
Muslims love to claim that they live and die by their religion. Well, then excuse me, a tree is known by it's fruits. Islam being a religion of do and invite [Dawah] how in the world Muslims in their present state influence others and win them over?
 
In a medical faciltiy, for example, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are supposed to live up to their training and avoid unhealthy practices.  If they don't, despite claiming to have superior knowlege and training, what kind of influence could they hope to achieve in the field of medicine and better healthcare?   Specially if they remind themselves of basics of their training five times a day and greatly emphasise it?
 
Regards,
 
Mubashir

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Why Rituals Don't Work
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 04:40:32 AM »
Peace brother.

You are absolutely correct. A tree is known by its fruit.

How can one claim to uphold ritual prayers and then go and shoot someone else dead while they are praying in a mosque for the sole reason that they have different sectarian beliefs? What use are their prayers going to be when they read 'Only you do we worship and only from you we ask for help' in Surah Fateha (1:5), and then ascribe prophets, saints, and past personalities to God and His guidance?

It is not the need for 1:5 in prayer which is the problem, it is not acting on it.

They pray, yet do not judge by the Book of God. They may pray, but do not use the spiritual connection with God which should stop one from shameful deeds and injustices. They say 'Show us the straight path', in 1:6, but when one comes along with a message which is closer to the truth, they rebuke him and send him away. So are they really asking to be shown a 'straight path', or are they really saying, 'Show us the straight path, but as long as it does not conflict with our inherited beliefs of our forefathers!?".

What is the real sentiment?

It is not the ritual which is the problem. It is the purpose behind the ritual which has become lost.

Your email was very true in my own humble opinion.

Your brother ...
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell