EP02 – Pillars of Practice – Part 1 of 2
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Foundations of Islam Series: Session 2 – Part 1
Mohammedan Ashraf an MBA one more serene
the Prophet peace be upon him when he went out to his house he used to hang out a prayer he said Allahumma in Urdu began Abdullah Odin oh god I seek refuge in You that I should go astray or be led astray I'll then the olden Zilla
or that I should trip or that I should be tripped. zelos an LLM automatic or that I should have press or that I should be oppressed. Oh, adhan Oh, hallelujah, or that I should show ignorance, or I should be the victim of somebody else's ignorance. So that was a prayer that he made when he began his day.
Today, this lecture, inshallah is going to be on the topic of Islam. And
oh, no, I wasn't reading that. Yeah, that was from the, no, this is a passage I'm gonna look at, but I could write it out for you on the.
To begin, I'm not going to talk today about the Shahada, because that's going to be in the section on a man. So I'm going to really more focused on the four pillars after that, and then look at the shediac. So I would begin by saying, the best way to understand a tradition in my estimation is what they call through the normative practice in comparative religions.
I studied that my undergraduate work was in comparative religion. And I noticed that teachers tended to take two routes one of two routes, they would either use the class as a way of analyzing a teaching, allowing the teaching to speak for itself, or they would use the class
while there, probably more than two, but the basic to where they would use the class to kind of to superimpose their prejudices on the tradition, and really tell what they thought about the religion, instead of allowing the tradition to speak for itself. And one of the best ways to do that, and it will seem like they're being objective, but it's actually quite, and I don't know if there's mal intent, and I'm not going to get into that. But one of the best ways of doing that is to look at a religion from what they termed a descriptive approach, which is where instead of looking at what the religion says, you look at what practice the people who practice it do.
And then you can just explore a lot of problematic aspects of any teaching. You can say, if you if you don't, if you have a bone of contention with Catholicism, you'll really emphasize in your course on the Inquisition, and how horrific the the Catholics were, that's true. But the problem is, to the non believer, one looks and sees that, which is the practice of being practiced upon, you can say that all religions, you know,
preach humility, and love thy neighbor, and all of the things that we consider as positive. But But if you are being harassed, or being told what to do, in the name of God, you know, you tend to focus on how does one get out? Why Yeah, and these are good points. And this is why people will often focus on that, and we live, particularly in an age when secularism has become quite dominant. And the religious worldview, certainly in the West, has taken a backseat. But my point of bringing that out is, is that I would prefer that anyone who, who looked at a tradition and this is my practice with with any religious tradition, is to look first and foremost at how the tradition itself is
articulating itself how the tradition is describing itself, irrespective of how it's been practiced in the past by people, whether it's Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, and then to move into a descriptive examination of the teaching of how has this teaching impacted human cultures? So I think both views are valid. But when there is an emphasis on on one, as opposed to the other, I think that's going to lead to some very serious misconceptions with any tradition and that on top of biases that people might have, so they'll examine certain areas with to the exclusion of other areas. So what I
I would like to do is look at a few verses in the Quran dealing with the idea of Islam the word itself in the Quran and the first one is in the third surah chapter, it'll say s three, it's on page 165 of your blue text.
s three, which means sorta three and then at the bottom, it's the ayah or the verse 83.
It says a vida de la jolla baboon, do they seek other than the Dean
of God? That's what it says. So I want to look first at two words here.
Sometimes you'll see it written like this. Dean in the Arabic language is related to debt. Which is, you know, it's interesting that guilt in German is is the origin of guilt is also debt. And there's an argument that a lot of religion is based on a sense of indebtedness, or guilt
towards God. The word Deen is related to debt and the idea with the word Deen because Islam is called an Arabic Deen, will Islam, the deen of Islam.
Literally, you could translate it as the debt of Islam, the depth of submission. In other words, the idea is, is that we have been endowed or given
blessings by the Creator and the debt that we owe is submission to the Creator. So D Now if you look, the word has many meanings, and it comes from a root word, da ya, da, da, da da.
One of the meanings is to discipline something. There's a tradition where the prophets had men then and if so, who? Whoever disciplines his soul. So Dean is related to disciplining the soul.
Another meaning is the day of judgment. Yo Medina, in this in the first chapter of Quran it says, The Day of Judgment, the word used for the Day of Judgment is Yomi. Dean, the day the debts fall due.
The day the debts fall due the day of reckoning the day of his SAB.
Another meaning is a rain that returns again and again and brings the earth back to life.
That's another meaning in the Arabic language. So Deen from a you know you can you get a semantic field and you start getting a feel for the word what it means. There is an idea definitely in the Koran there is a concept that Dean has there has been an unbroken chain of Dean since the beginning of the Adamic experience on Earth.
an unbroken chain since the beginning. There's an idea that there has been prophetic dispensations to human beings, since time began, or these since the experience of time for the human being. Now the verse says, do they seek other than the deen
of Allah? While all creatures in the heavens in the earth have willingly or unwillingly bowed to his submission?
Now in the Arabic It says, well, ah, who is Lima? Memphis? semiaquatic What are tau and what kernaghan?
So what it's saying there in the Arabic is, do they seek other than this Deen when in reality, everyone is in a state of submission, willingly or unwillingly, and to him is their return. So the first meaning of Islam that we're getting in the Koran
is all of creation
is in submission.
That's the first meaning. Because the the, the word Islam means submission.
It means as a means to submit. Now if we break down the word so this is the first meaning that you will find in the Quran. That the idea that everything in reality is in submission to God, willingly or unwillingly.
We are all in submission. Now there are x, there are areas of submission that the human being recognizes. One of them is the call to nature.
Right, we have to do certain things that we cannot avoid. One of them is to eat that is part of our nature. We get hungry, we must eat or we die.
We have to relieve ourselves once we've eaten or taken drink, we have to sleep. Right? Byron called sleep the gentle tyrant, it oppresses us, but we it's not an oppression that we mind. But sleep comes upon us and we can't fight it eventually, few days maybe go too long, and you go into acute psychosis. So the idea is that there are aspects and then we have submission in our being there are limitations to the physical body, we have limitations, we can only eat so much.
We can only do so much physically before we're exhausted, we have limitations in our movement, given the structure of our bodies, so there is a type of is a submission of the self given that we are temporal creatures, limited to physical
and, and and limited by physical aspects of our nature.
So in the Quran, there is an idea that everything is in submission, and then there is a reminder that we will be returned that, that if you look at creation, things are emerging and then returning into non existence. Everything that has life comes into existence, and then returns to non existence, the plant, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom, and ultimately the mineral kingdom. All of this is going into non existence after it had come into existence. Now the next verse, I'd like to look at is to 133
133, it's page
PAGE 53. In the blue book, Sora two, verse 133.
The verse says,
were you witnesses when death came to Jacob Jaco.
Behold, he said to his sons, what will you worship after me? They said, We shall worship your God, and the God of your fathers of Abraham, Ishmael, is Harker Isaac, the one true God, to Whom we submit. Now in the Arabic It says, When no Allahu musli mon
So here is an idea that the previous tradition because remember this, this, this is the Quran coming. The Prophet Muhammad is teaching this Koran. And there's an idea certainly in in most people's minds that Islam is the religion of Mohammed. Right? This is the idea that most people have. What's being emphasized, here is something else. This is the religion also
of Isaac, of Abraham.
Because they're saying we are submitting to your God and the God of those who went before you, and we are Muslims.
So the second definition is Islam
Islam as guidance from prophets, irrespective of one individual prophet like the Prophet Mohammed or Jesus or Moses, or Buddha, if he was Krishna.
I don't know I mean, there's, there's prophets we don't know about the Quran says some of them, we've told you their stories and others we have not. But there's definitely an idea in the Quran that Islam is the teaching of all of these profits.
Now the third aspect
as the reason
of the Prophet
So, the Quran is telling us that every creature is in submission to God. The Quran is telling us that previous prophets were teaching Islam as a religion. And then the idea that this is the religion because there is a verse in the Quran that says Elio admitted to the company didn't come today I have perfected your dean.
What are the two committees snam Edina and I am content as Islam as your religion
that was on the final Hajj, the pilgrimage of the Prophet, he said this in front of a multitude. So this is that his the final form of this Islam was perfected in the Prophet Muhammad. This is how the Muslims view Islam. Now you will meet many Muslims that might not have this idea, because like many Christians, they've never studied their book. They've never really, you know, they're nominal Muslims. They were born Muslim. They might believe it because their fathers told them that this is true, or because like many people in this country, they have fond childhood memories of Christmas, things like that. So they relate to Christianity or their Judaism, whatever. I mean, many people
this is really bottom line, why they are what they are, because they were born into certain environments. So if you were born in Sri Lanka, you might be Buddhist, if you were born in China, you might be a Dallas or completionist. If you were born in America, you could be a myriad of
teachings following even now, paganism. I know, a woman in Santa Cruz, who's raising her child as a pagan, quite consciously, they, they do they have altars to different gods like the moon goddess and things in the house. And that's how she's raising her child. Right.
And this will become more and more common as,
as people begin to break off, you know, the homogeneity of previous periods is really breaking down, like one of the poet's said the center is no longer holding. Right? we're really seeing a breakdown of what some of them would call the grand narrative of cultures.
That probably is not true in the Muslim world to the extent it is in the west for a number of reasons. But certainly here we're seeing that so
now there is there is a fourth
aspect of Islam that I'm going to add here which is death
because the word in Arabic to die is as lemma
as lama nafsa who he gave up the ghost
right and it's what we we used to say I don't I mean I remember hearing that expression when I was younger he gave up the ghost right the spirit he died right
and it's interesting I had a course from from excellent Professor on death and dying and religions and he had this sheet of euphemisms about death It was about you'd be amazed in this in our culture alone How many ways we can say somebody die, right kick the bucket that's all she wrote.
bit the dust
there's a lot of ways to say you know, the air one of the airports he said, in them to move, be safe and be ready to know what it is but what you do, if you don't die by the sword, you're gonna die some other way. There are lots of ways to die, but death is one.
So this idea here really, I think goes back to to the fact that there's a verse in the Quran in the chapter called the event in which the Quran says what either Bellavita when the ghost reaches the throat, while antamina is in town alone, and you're looking you're watching this thing happen, right want to hear it and Tom gone
a lot then it says in the Quran, make it go back, make it go back. If you're in control, make it go back. So the idea there is and then it says and we are closer to him than you are but you don't see
The idea is that when the ghost gets to that point, the self the soul, there's nothing we can do that is absolute submission. Right? And we can try and we're pretty good now at doing. I mean, I've seen people, you know, I worked in a critical care for about four years and did was in a lot of codes, you know, they call codes.
And it's pretty amazing. You see somebody they're dead. You come in no pulse, no heart, no breathing,
defibrillate, do some CPR, defibrillate? I've seen people come back, start breathing. And it's pretty amazing. But how long can we do that for ultimately, that stuff? And even the success of that is quite small. Unlike television, I think it works. 90% of the time on television works about 8% in the hospital, right? They had all these physicians complaining about that, because if they coded their relatives, they'd say, Well, why didn't it work? It always works on television, right? Welcome to reality, folks, you know, things aren't aren't aren't like, what? Like television, unfortunately, or fortunately.
So the next thing here, I want to go to his
511 I forgot to do that. 511.
Education, we've got
five a 11.
Or Yeah, Amy a means I A. Because, yeah, I think I as a better word than to say verse.
Verse relates to the translation of the Bible.
King James Version, whereas the eye of the tree means a sign in Arabic, a sign, which is very interesting words. The idea of of that we're dealing with us a symbol
Sora means in the Arabic language, it relates to like a gate, or a, something around a city. And the idea is that a sorta isn't, it's, it's
it's a series of signs or meanings that are
that they are there. They're contained within a limited number.
So there you see.
Oh, I'm sorry. 5111. It's five 111. What's that?
The j, where's that?
Okay, good. That's Jews, which is the sixth part. So there's 30 parts to the Koran. And Jews is Arabic for one 30th of the Quran. Jews means apart. So the sixth part means this is one, this is the sixth beginning with the first 123 Yeah, and the last part would be the 30th. So they're 30 parts of the poron. We're in the sixth part. Yeah.
Yeah, page number is 325.
So there, it says on on the top of the page, verse 111.
And behold, I inspired to the disciples to have faith in me and my messenger. And they said, We have faith and do an to you bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims. Now the the disciples there are the howdy Jean or the disciples of Jesus.
So again, here's the idea. We had the idea that that Isaac, who is the the father of the Jewish tradition, we have the idea that Jesus,
the, the prophet, or, or the savior of the Christian tradition, according to the Christians, that they're saying, We're Muslims. So this is, I think, really important to see that from just to understand how the, the Muslims view the matter, they really do view the matter that is Salaam is an unbroken chain, it's not something new and the Prophet Muhammad did not see himself as bringing a new religion, he really saw himself as a renewer. of ancient tradition.
once you've seen those, what we're obviously what we're attempting to do in this two week period, is understand Islam from the perspective of the religion of those who believe in the Prophet Muhammad and his tradition.
Not so much. We're not here to study comparative religion. I'm not here to teach you about your own traditions or anything like that. But just as a starting point, I think it's important to recognize that that is definitely part of the Muslim world view. That Christianity, it wasn't Islam, Judaism was in Islam. And there were many Muslims that we don't know about and don't name. Because the Quran does not mention them. It talks about other traditions simply, and it does not mention them by name. But like Dr. sheffy, I mentioned the other day, there is a tradition from the Prophet Mohammed that that there have been 124,000 prophets, there have been 313 or 14 messengers, there have been over
100 books that have come down. And all were told about his four books, and then the tablets of Abraham and Moses. So there are many things that we don't know about traditions. And this is why the Muslims traditionally have tended not to say we don't believe like, I mean, I, I would say that Hinduism, even though from a Muslim point of view, there are many things in it that are very problematic. Still, I would hesitate to say that it wasn't a prophetic tradition personally. Because it's very ancient tradition. And from a Muslim point of view, the previous traditions have been distorted. That is the Muslim worldview. So the next thing to understand is how is Islam identified
in terms of believing in the Prophet Mohammed? How is Islam How is a Muslim, a Muslim, not as somebody in submission to God, but as somebody following the teaching of Islam, as a word that describes a religion, about one fifth of the world's population,
the best thing to do again, is go to the tradition. And in this book here, the 40 Hadith, there is in the second Hadith, which very famous Hadith. It's a hadith in which the prophets, according to the tradition is asked by gibreel, or Gabriel, and they don't know it's Gabriel yet.
And he asked them, it's the second Heidi page 28. He asks him, tell me about Islam, and Islam. And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said, Islam is to testify that there is no God, but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger. So the first one is what's called Shahada.
The second, he says, and that you perform prayers, so what's called sola,
the third Zakat,
and the fifth Hajj.
So this is how Islam is defined by the prophet Mohammed in this Hadees. And that, therefore, would be the best description in terms of a normative understanding of the tradition. The first one again, I don't want to go into it, but I will briefly mention the word Shahada means witnessing, and it usually means witnessing with the eye, eye shadow means I witnessed I saw with my eye, it also means a testimony. In other words, a person can bear witness. And it's interesting because in Islam, you have to have eyewitnesses.
Right? You can't have testimony, that's not an eyewitness in any of the head punishment. You have to have somebody who saw the act, who saw the person stealing, it can't be there's they're not circumstantial evidence is really hard to hold up in traditional Islamic Courts.
So the idea of Shahada is something that a person sees for themselves,
that there is no God but Allah, that is something from a Muslim point of view, it is something that they witness and see for themselves, and that Mohammed is His Messenger. It's something that they witness that they believe based on witnessing. Now, obviously, many Muslims in the world, they're Muslim again, because they heard this from their parents. Their parents told them Laila him Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah, that's why they believe it, which gets into circular reasoning. You know, why do you believe or really regressive reasoning? Why do you believe you know, Islam is true? My father told me, why did he believe it? His father told him, why did he believe his father told him or why
do you believe in Islam because the Quran says it's true. Well, how do you know the Quran says is true? Well, because the Quran says it's true, right? This type of reasoning that really, in the end is actually quite flimsy. And again, we get into this idea of unreflective, undifferentiated people, people that have not given a lot of thought to their traditions, and the Muslims are as much of this
To that phenomenon as any other people, really, and I think that, and in many cases, it can be actually more exacerbated, you know, because the tradition in this culture now with a breakdown, you know, we're in a kind of post Christian period, there's a breakdown and and it has enabled people to look and examine their own traditions, there's a lot of critical awareness in this culture in the Muslim world, there, there really isn't a critical examination of their beliefs. Why do we believe you know, very, very few people will end.
I think it's actually very difficult in a lot of Muslim countries for for people to do that. But I think a belief that's not rooted in self examination is ultimately very limiting.
Our Allah Mara, who's kind of considered a heretic in the Muslim tradition, that was one of his things about religion, he just felt religion was just something that was you know, was, people just didn't reflect on it at all. Now,
if we look, then I don't want to cover this. But I want to go to this because I'm going to do this in detail on the session on email. If we look at prayer, Sala, the word in Arabic
it's a word that comes from a root word. That means it can mean a few things. One of them is to burn up.
The idea that prayer burns up wrong actions. That is one of the meanings. Another root meaning is a connection of sila, a connection with God, the prayer is a connection with God. Another
idea of the prayer is submission itself that the prayer is a form of submission. Now, the Quran the idea in the Quran about prayer is that all peoples and all creatures have been given a prayer.
If you look in
it would be 954.
It says, Have you not seen
that all prostrate to all law, all things that are in the heavens in the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the trees, the animals, and a great number among mankind, but a great number are also such as unto whom the chastisement is justly due.
So here is an idea that everything is prostrating, everything is in a state of prostration, the heavens, the earth, the mountains, the trees, that everything is worshipping. This is something in the Quran, it says, everything is glorifying God, but you do not hear its glorification. There is a tradition that the Prophet Muhammad picked up some rocks pebbles in his hand, and he held them out. And some of his companions heard the rocks glorifying God.
And then he
he put them away. But so the point is, is that that was an example in the Muslim tradition of the Prophet showing people that everything is in glorification. Now, if you notice, when it gets to man, it changes. It's the way it says it says, and a great number
Now this is where the Quran introduces the idea of freewill. Not everybody. Unlike the rest of creation, not all of human beings are in a state of awareness.
So only only a great number of people are even aware many people are in heedlessness of prayer itself or that they should be worshiping. So there's an idea in the Muslim tradition, that we as human beings can either be conscious of our praising God or we're in a type of unconscious state. And this goes back again to the idea everything is in submission, willingly or unwillingly and also wittingly or unwittingly from the most
In perspective, the body is in a state of worship, the heart is in a state of worship, you know, the movement in and out of the hearts in Arabic is called up and bust in Arabic called is contraction. Boston is expansion. And there are two names from the 99 names of God, Alibaba, and Alibaba, the contractor and the expander. So the lungs, expanding, contracting, the pupils, expanding, contracting, the heart expanding, contracting, the body is always moving in a state of expansion contraction. And this, again, relates to the two dominant attributes where I'm going to talk much more about it when we do with a man of majesty and beauty, Majesty is contraction, beauty is
expansion. And these are the two dominant qualities or characteristics of creation, that are literally displaying for the human being an awareness
of God's presence in his creation. So the Muslim is the one who is supposed to, and I'm using Muslim in its ideal sense in a normative sense, not, you know, the quote, unquote, Muslim world, I really want to get out of that idea of, you know, it's this is I'm not talking about Algeria, or Afghanistan, or Iran, or I'm talking about the Quranic view of a Muslim, not how people believe what they believe, or their diluted states and things like that, you know, there's crazy people all over the world.
You know, I spent a period of time in working in a psych unit. And very interesting, people really believe they're prophets of God.
And you kind of you watched this guy, he's telling you, he said, Look, I've got a message from God, you know, and you say, Uh huh. And he says, and God says that, this, this and this, and you're in big trouble if you don't believe me. And there's a kind of, you know, I used to listen to these people, because that was part of what we were supposed to do. I used to listen to people. And it was kind of, there was something in me that wanted to say, Come on, you know, you're just pulling my leg right, there was really something in me that just wanted to nudge this person. But after a while, you start realizing they're not pulling. They really do believe this condition. And we have a
phenomenal capacity for delusional states. And most of us and I would include myself are walking around with our own delusions. We're just simply unaware of them. And I would really recommend a book if you're interested in this subject. By Gorman, the man who wrote emotional intelligence, he has another book that is actually I think, much better than the first one, the first one became popular. Interestingly enough, they kind of the second one is not as popular but it's called vital
false truth, vital lies, simple truth. vitalize simple truth, the psychology of self deception. Very interesting book. Because here's somebody who's just looking at now what we know about our brain and our delusional states. And I think that religion is is really one of the big opportunities to go into serious delusional states.
gll, ie, ma n.
It was in it only became now it's Yeah, but it's, it's after his emotional talent. See this, what the publishers do? You know, a guy writes a book, nobody ever hears about it, then he writes a best seller and suddenly all his old books are in print, right?
The market, right, the logic of the market.
So, you know, the point being, is it when we're talking about Islam, I really don't want to look at this kind of other phenomenon, which is the phenomenon of delusional religious states that are in every tradition. There are people all over walking around believing that they have the truth, and nobody else does.
And a lot of you quite frightening, you know, especially can president united states and then you're in big trouble right?
Now, he doesn't remember anymore. Yeah. But when he was it was kind of frightening.
let's see now.
So the human being then is, is the individual that can either become conscious
of the fact that everything is in praise, and everything is in glorification and everything is in prostration or they can be heedless of this fact. The idea then within the Muslim tradition, is that Islam is the problem.
process of waking up to this reality. And the Prophet Mohammed said peace be upon him. He said human beings are asleep. And when they die, they wake up.
So there is an idea that we are in a dreamlike state. And I find it really interesting that the word in Arabic for child,
which is who lamb
comes from Luma, which means to lust after, to desire
a child is a hoodlum until they enter into what is called puberty. And the word in Arabic for puberty is talent. The root word comes from a word which means to dream.
Now, when you take the root meaning of this talent, it literally means to internalize the dream.
If you take the word to reach adulthood, it means to internalize or become aware of the dream. The idea that I think, is that children are in a dream world. It's a beautiful world that they're in. And but they're not aware of the dreamlike nature of the world that they're in. And, and it's a gift. And actually, from the Muslim point of view, children have no accountability. And the beginning of discernment is about the age of seven, where you begin to take them to account gently prior to that, traditionally, the Muslim did not encourage any type of discipline for children before the age of seven, the discipline should be very gentle discipline, the idea is that they
literally do not have within them the capacity to, to restrain themselves from their actions. Now, children, obviously, you'll stand, my child is five years old, and he's getting a sense of right and wrong. But the idea there is that really, that their brains, you can tell them don't do this, they'll do it again, oftentimes, not because they're disobeying you. And they might appear to be guilty when you remind them because suddenly they become aware. But there is a type of forgetfulness that takes place in the child's world, because the brain cannot maintain this continuity. And you'll see it children peers talks about this phenomenon when the neural networking is taking place in
those first seven years, that a child at about the age of two and three, the will is developing. And it's a very important time and what he says one of the the tragic aspects is that the will and children is broken at that age, right that there is there's a the the parent will literally want to break the will because they see this child rebelling. They see this child saying me and no they learn no rights, the first word that children really get in contact with very interesting, they do a negation to negate, which is very important in the Islamic understanding, because the first and primary task of the human being is to negate to negate creation. And this is why the Shahada itself
begins with a negation let Allah know God, that that that the human being must learn to negate before it can learn to affirm. And so the child first learns negation, and then it learns affirmation. And it's interesting that a child when it's will is developing one of these apples peers uses is the child will beeline for something, and the parent or the adult will say, don't touch that. And the child will look at the parent and just keep going. And the parent will interpret that as gross disobedience. What Pierce says is the fact is that his will the volition in his very primitive
neuro system, the volition reached critical mass. And at that point, the adult says, Don't touch that and the child's I can't help myself anymore. It can't stop, you see, and it goes, and it does it. Now we can see that in our own lives as adults, right? There's a point when human beings reach a critical mass, you see, you see the chocolate? And you say, you know, I'd really, I don't know, go ahead, just try, I really don't want go ahead, just try it. And then suddenly, it's it gets to critical mass. And that's it, you know, they can't stop. So we see that in adults as well. But in children, it's, it's blame lis, whereas in adults, I think there's you know, come on, you didn't
have to eat it right.
So, the first the second pillar, which is prayer is trying to connect people to God to put people into a state in which they are connected. Now, how is that done? It's done by obligating prayer, prayer is not choice. In Islam. There are prayers that you can do out of choice.
But there are prayers that you have to submit to. So again, the idea of submission comes into the idea of praying, I submit to five prayers a day. That is something that I submit to. That's a rule, I'm being told, pray five times a day. And
I can I just say, No, I don't want to pray, or I'm going to pray. I recognize this as an obligation binding on me. And that's a belief in Islam. Now, there are many Muslims that don't pray anyway, which is another matter. And again, it's like anybody who doesn't follow their tradition, they still might believe in it. They're just not practicing it. Now, the prayer, there are five prayers in a day.
And this is based on that equitorial day. All right.
Here's your meridian point.
Here's your midnight point.
So this is day this is night. Now.
The first prayer begins at dawn.
For people normally, if you ask, you know, what's the first prayer, most people will say dawn prayer. In reality, the first prayer, according to the Muslims, is the sunset prayer. This is also people who know the Jewish tradition are familiar with the fact that the day begins at sunset.
Right, this is the same in the Islamic tradition, the day begins at sunset because it's based on a lunar month, the month begins at the signing of the lunar moon for the Muslims, and the lunar month begins with sunset, that's the first time that the moon is visible when it's new. Now, this, this prayer, last, it's got a short window,
until the red is gone out of the sky.
That's the time for murder. So Muslims are supposed to pray it very quickly. Now, it's interesting that the Quran says in many places that the two ends of the day are the times when people should remember God, particularly, these two ends, the dawn and the sunset. And I think something that many people notice and the Muslims take it. As you know, this is one of these aspects that they take from the Quran of everything being in praise, that oftentimes animals gather at those periods, you'll see birds gather at at sunset, and they'll gather at the early part before the sunrise and chirping away. They literally gather and congregate during that time, and chip away.
The crickets in the evening, start the frogs, that these are all seen as literally praises. That's the way the Muslims view it. Now, I'm sure you know, evolutionary biologists would say, the crickets cooling himself off.
You know, and but it's interesting, I mean, why things in creation, do these things gather and do these things, the Muslims view it as really acts of praise. The next prayer goes from when these the red is gone.
And this is called monster prayer or, or the sunset prayer.
The next prayer is when the sun all the red is gone. And this goes basically until midnight, one should do it. And really, for the first third of the night, if you divide the night into three parts between 6am and 6pm, it should be done in that first third of the night. But after the redness is gone, that's the best time and then after that you're delaying it and the prayers are not encouraged to be delayed, and it's prohibited to delay them till they actually go out of the time altogether. So that is the next prayer. And then this period is all encouraged for people who want to do extra pairs, the nighttime in particular is encouraged. Many Muslims do night prayers, many do not. But
there are many Muslims that do do night prayers some portion of the night. I mean, my teacher, I think minimum was maybe three hours. That was his practice to stand in prayer.
you know, the the man who's here that his practice because I've lived with him for over a year in different places and that's his practice so many Muslims will make it a practice to pray.
At night, it's a good time. It's a time meditation. It's a time of tranquility and stillness.
And also, there's a there's a nice Hasidic tale of why the prayer is a special time. In this Hasidic tale, I think boober talks about it, that,
that the seeker of God is like a thief,
trying to steal something precious, and the thief always works at night.
The next prayer is dawn prayer, and that begins at the first light. Now there's an interesting phenomenon called the false dawn, which is a white light that will show up towards the middle of the eastern horizon, and then it disappears. And then after that, the second dawn comes up. The second Dawn is the dawn that the Muslims are begin their prayer, and that will go until right before sunset, all of that is time that you can pray the preferred time is that the first time but any time before that you can pray? So technically, we could pray anyway, from 430. till about is it time to break?
Okay, sunrise, yeah, sunrise until the sun rises. So we could technically hear pray time from 430 to about probably quarter six or 530. Whenever the sun rises, it would be perfectly acceptable. And as if you if you overslept, there's nothing, there's no responsibility. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him said, the sleeper has no responsibility, the madman has no responsibility, and the child has no responsibility until they reach puberty. So the sleeper has no responsibility. But
there is an idea that if you went to sleep, not intending to get up for for the prayer, then you are responsible, that you that you should intend to get up for the prayer, that if you just say, you know, set your alarm for eight, then that that would be considered something wrong, that you've done something wrong.
the sun comes up.
Now you will notice a phenomenon because all of the prayers are based on the sun.
This the night prayer when this all the red has gone from the sun, the dawn prayer when the first light of the sun comes. And then the next prayer, what you'll notice as the sun is moving up in the sky, and I think this will be a really interesting exercise to give to some of your students if you're interested in doing this, because it will teach them some very interesting things. One of the interesting and fascinating things about human beings is that astronomy is really where we get our mathematics from early man became very fascinated with the sky, and began to examine and watch the sky and watch the movements of the stars and began to discern certain patterns. Right. And over
centuries, an accumulation of knowledge occurs. Right. I mean, this is what Richard Fineman mentioned that. People who are familiar with him six Easy Pieces. And
he he was a Nobel Prize winning physicist from Cal Poly, and got his Nobel Prize in quantum electrodynamics, whatever that means. But he, he said that, for the fifth, that the physicists and I and the astronomers is true, and others, he said, Really, what we're like, is, is, you know, people that are watching the gods on Mount Olympus play chess, and they don't let you in on the rules. So what you do is, you know, you have what, 4050 years of thinking in your lifetime, you start watching the game, and you notice, oh, the bishop only moves that way. And the pawn moves this way. And the Queen moves this way, and you start discerning rules. And he said, and we begin to write those down.
Right, so we're discerning that there's patterns here, but we really haven't been given a whole lot of information. And one of the things he says is that the problem with this is that every once in a while something like castling comes up, and
you have to start all over again. What was that? Yeah. So what happened is people became for some reason obsessed with the meridian point,
determining when the sun reached that meridian point. Now in the Quran, it says that we gave you the sun and the stars, one of the reasons the sun, according to the Quran was given to human beings was to allow you to measure your years and learn mathematics.
I mean, that's literally in the Quran that one of the wisdoms behind that is to learn mathematics. Now.
Just I mean, this is like, they'll probably get maybe a little upset you start bringing geometry into a world history class or something like that, right. But the idea here is that what what what will happen how the prayer is determined is you put us
Click here or you use your body. And if anybody's interested in learning this, I can teach them. Alright, because I really this fascinating, I've done this with children at Muslim camps, they're fascinated by it, they really, they really enjoy it. And it's a lot of fun. What what you'll notice is towards the western horizon,
a shadow shows up that's very long from the early sun. And this shadow will continue to decrease
as the sun's moving up until it reaches its shortest point here. And this is the 90 degree angle, if you're looking at the 180, circumference, right, zero to 180.
The 90 degree angle.
Now, if you're in an equatorial
place on the earth, which is a very small, narrow place where the sun will actually be directly overhead, twice a year like Mecca, the shadow will disappear completely. Sun is literally directly over your head and the shadow disappears for us. You'll notice in the winter the shadows long in the summer, it's short, based on the movement in the winter towards the south of the Sun shifting the earth I mean,
I prefer to look at it geocentric Lee just because that's its phenomenological or experientially, we experience it geocentric Lee. So I'm gonna I'm gonna speak in geocentric terms. Alright, so I'm not trying to, you know,
get out of abstract thinking. But I'm just trying to look at this as if we experienced that as human beings, that instead of looking as the shift of the earth, I'd rather look at as the sun is moving over, because that's how we see it. And that's how young people experience it. The when the sun moves over to the south, then the shadow becomes longer in the winter. Now, as the sun's moving back towards the north, than the shadow is getting smaller and smaller. So you can actually see the movement of the shadow during the year. It's a very interesting thing. And I've been doing it for a while. So I'm very now accustomed to knowing, I mean, I can pretty much work out what time of the
day it is just on my shadow of the sun's out, because I know the shadow pretty well in the winter in the summer. And if you live with Bedouin, who know the sun really well, it's phenomenal, how accurate they can tell you the time based on just looking at the shadow. Now there's an interesting verse in the Quran that I find really fascinating, because when I first read this, and I first began examining shadows, I, you know, I started thinking about what to look in the corner.
There's a verse that said, I'm talking about a bigger keyframe at that, but haven't you looked at your Lord how your Lord moves the shadow.
Now, this gets back to the Tahiti idea or idea that the sun is a means but in reality, it is God that is creating this phenomenon for us.
And then it says what OSHA rabuka Raja hoosac in and had your Lord wanted, he would have made the shadow stationary. So we could imagine a world in which the sun is directly overhead be pretty hot to live in. But the shadow wouldn't really move, right? It would be stationary, but we do experience of movement of the shadow. And then it says,
with the wood and the shrimps, it hit the Rila. And we made the sun as a as a approver, or an indicator of shadow. Now the interesting thing in Arabic the word for shade and shadow, which are related in in English, are from the same. They're the same word, identical word. When I first read that verse, I was really struck, you know, what does that mean? We made this the sun, an indicator of shade or the shadow. So I went to a commentary by Father Dino Razi, who's a ninth century Persian commentary of the Quran. And he just gave this really interesting explanation of that, saying that what the Quran here is doing is it's indicating that that one of the greatest blessings of God that
most human beings are completely unaware of is shade. Now, this is obviously more obvious in in a Hot Country, I admit that. But if you start thinking about it, it actually gets quite profound, because what he said is what shade is, is a mixture of light and darkness.
And the only reason we can see is because of this admixture of light and darkness. If we were in pure light we could not see and if we were in pure darkness, we could not see. So shade, in fact, is everywhere, and it's happening all the time. Right now there's a mixture of light and darkness in this room, which is enabling us to see and what the Quran is saying, had it not been for the sun, you wouldn't even thought about the shade. It's not something that you would give it a whole lot of thought to. So there's an idea of learning about the shade and seeing as as literally a proof of the existence of God. That's how Razi uses it. And the other thing about shade which is interesting, is
that the the Paradise is described as shades.
Spread out, shades spread out. So what will happen is in a northern climate in the summer, the shadow will reach its shortest point. And what you can do is get the students like to put a stick up with a with a piece of paper, and they can measure it with a ruler. So they can watch the shadow going closer and closer until it reaches the shortest point and then they'll see it start increasing again, they're at the point when it reaches the shortest point that is the meridian point. So they can actually learn to determine for themselves the meridian point, which is the 90 degree angle. Now, at the point at which the sun moves one,
one altitudinal degree away from the center of the earth, from the center of the sky, which is here.
That is the beginning of the whole prayer, and the sign of it is the shadow begins to increase towards the east.
Now, that is the first prayer that was given to the Prophet Mohammed. And the idea there is, according to the commentators, is, the interesting thing about the beginning of the sea, what's happening is the sun is rising, it reaches the midpoint of the sky, and then it begins its decline. And the idea is, is that that is an indication for the human being,
that just as we are like the sun, we rise up, we reach our full strength and power and then we begin to decline. And sunset is cosmologically seen as death,
the idea that death is imminent, that death is coming. And so the shade itself is seen as an indication of our own lives. That just as as, as, as we rise in the east, we will also set in the West. And so that the day itself, has been traditionally by the Muslims dis described cosmologically they say that the the mid morning is like spring, it's like the child coming into existence. And spring is a fun time. It's it's a time, you know, generally where there's the you know, it's it's a time of renewal. And, and it's a time of innocence, right. And traditionally, you know, there's a lot of just folkloric things about people falling in love and spring and doing the same because it's
an innocent time. That's how we associate it folkloric Lee. And then summer is seen as when youth coming into youth, right, and it's, it's a time of work, it's a time of harvest youth is when you have a lot of energy to to begin to harvest your crops. So it's a time of study, it's a time of dedication, it's a time of exerting a lot of effort. And then the Fall is seen as the moving now into maturity. And this is the time when you benefit from the fruits of your youth that you harvested, that your mind begins to mature in a way that you now become conscious. And you begin to use the wisdom of your youth in ways and this is interesting. I think Erickson's models is
interesting that he talks about this period being productivity versus stagnation, right that people begin to think beyond themselves as they reach into this mature period of around 40. And, interestingly, that the Muslim worldview does Denmark the year 40, as this year, where where perception begins to change where one begins to get outside of one's egotistical youth, and begins to really look beyond one's personal welfare and benefit and really looks, how can my life be meaningful, and ultimately, meaning in life arises out of service, out of going beyond the self out of looking at what is what is my contribution going to be to my society, to my family, to my
culture, to my tradition, and this is this period of the fall. And it's a beautiful period, because it's a maturing, and it's when there's variation in color, right? You're getting the the changing of leaves, and all these things a very interesting time fall, and then winter, which is
moving into that last period of life, the dryness, the leaves fall, right, the body begins to wear, and we enter into that last period of our lives, and then death.
And then according to the Muslims, rebirth in the next world, right, which would be the renewal and spring is the sign of that. So you can see how in the prayer there is this cosmology embedded here? I think we'll take a break now. All right, is that good? And then what we'll do is we'll come back and I'll open it up for some questions about the first section, and then start on the second section. Okay.