By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
At nearly every mosque, at nearly every prayer time, we hear the words â€œstraighten the linesâ€ and whether to put your heels, or toes on the line. This request brings an almost instant response as brothers and sisters look to the right and left to make sure they are in compliance and as much order as possible is produced. If we think deeply, this simple command can have far-reaching positive effects on our lives.
I was in Los Angeles, California recently and had lunch at a very nice restaurant run by an equally nice gentleman named Ali. As we were talking about every Muslimâ€™s favorite subject â€“ Islam â€“ we got on the subject of rituals. This brother made a very profound point when he pointed out that when brothers and sisters straighten the lines at salat, the thought and spirit of that action is supposed to be carried over into our everyday lives.
He pointed out that it does no good to stand shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot at salat, and not take that concept outside and get close to your brother or sister while you are away from the mosque. Standing shoulder to shoulder means we should stand as a cemented structure in our daily lives so as to strengthen each other, our families, and our community â€“ which ultimately will strengthen Islam. I couldnâ€™t agree more.
The rituals of salat, wudu, and even coming to the mosque, all have higher meanings that go beyond â€œjust doing it.â€ In wudu, why do you wash your right hand first and then your left? What does washing the face mean? What is the meaning of bending in ruku or prostration in sajda? Imam W. Deen Mohammed explained the higher meaning of the practices of the religion decades ago but many people still are not aware.
In the Christian Bible, Nabi Yahya (as) (John the Baptist) is credited with saying he is baptizing you with water (moral consciousness) but one is coming behind him (Nabi Isa Ibn Maryam (as); Christ Jesus) to baptize you with fire and the Holy Spirit (bringing you the knowledge of God).
Interestingly, in the gospel of John, Jesus Christ tells his disciples that there are many things he needs to tell them but they canâ€™t bear to hear it now. Therefore he says he must go away so the comforter (meaning wisdom and understanding, represented by Nabi Muhammad Ibn Abdullah) can come to you. John: 16: 7-16.
Jesus says that when he (the Comforter) comes, he will lead you into ALL truth. He will speak only that which he hears (Revelation). He will speak highly of me.â€ In other words, Jesus is saying he (Jesus) is not bringing it all. Someone else will come later and lead you into all truth.
Our imams, scholars and intellectuals need more than mere knowledge. Thatâ€™s the level where, according to the Bible, Jesus (as) left off. We also need the wisdom and understanding to apply that knowledge so the human spirit can grasp it and use it to enhance our humanity with the message the prophets brought. (Peace on them all.) This is what Christ Jesus (as) meant when he said something, or somebody, was coming after him. To practice rituals without a higher meaning and application means you are being shaped and programmed as a robot.
The Mosque Cares of Chicago (Association of Imam W. Deen Mohammed) has ample material about this and many other subjects of religious practices.
The religion is perfect. It does not now, nor will it ever need â€œreformingâ€ as these so-called Muslims, being paid to masquerade as â€œprogressive Muslimsâ€, are saying. These people only want to change the religion to suit their low-life desires. And they are paid handsomely to come and talk to audiences that already agree with the negative, biased, and false statements they are saying. So the only reason for these groups to sponsor and pay them is to continue to spew hatred and fear, by any means necessary.
Let us look deeper into the religious practices of our religion and apply them to our consciousness. If we do that you wonâ€™t see a group of Muslims acting contrary to the directives of the Qurâ€™an; nor will there be room for the â€œreformersâ€ and the haters to practice their arts.
ALLAH loves the Muslims but He will not bless us to come into full fruition of His Blessing until we live and practice our way of life as He desires.