Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Piety

I have always considered myself a pretty religious guy. I take my church responsibilities seriously. I try to strengthen my testimony of the Savior daily by reading the scriptures (The Book of Mormon and the Bible) and by continual prayer. However, I have come to find that my piety, in many ways, is overshadowed by the people here. It has been an incredible opportunity to be here and to observe how many of these, our brethren, interact with God and how seriously they take their relationship with him. I would like to focus on some ways they have done it and see if I can apply anything they take from this to my life. These three things are prayer, reading the scriptures, and missionary work.

1. Prayer
Most everyone has heard about the Muslim and their 5 prayers. 5 times a day, ranging from 4 in the morning to 9 at night a man can be heard making the call to prayer. Not every Muslim prays at this specific time. Many make it up later, things like their job prohibit it. However, I have been immensely impressed as I have seen their fidelity in praying. I have seen men set aside their fishing poles, kneel down in their Shell Gas Station uniforms, and take a break from teaching all in order to prayer. During the call to prayer I have seen people turn down barely audible music, stop conversation and stop games in order to listen to the call. In order to perform these prayers, one must enter a state of ritual purity, thus, they will wash themselves and get mentally ready to perform this prayer. In addition to those 5 prayers, Muslims perform prayers in their head, much like we do. For example, I have seen men on the Metro reciting prayers as they hold their prayer beads. If only we as members of our church took prayer with more of a devoted frame of mind. How often do we say a quick, rushed prayer in the morning and before we go to bed and expect God to bring to pass all our fanciful imaginations? Maybe we can take this more seriously.

2. Scriptures
Muslims focus an incredible amount on the listening to and reading of their holy book, the Holy Qur'an. They listen to recitations of it, memorize it, play it in Taxi's, stores, loud speakers, on their cell phones out loud on the Metro and get so excited when you can recite it to them. Often you can find people reading while they ride on the Metro. Cars will have it in them, I found a copy of it in my teachers computer bag, it is everywhere. In order to read from it, you have to be clean and have declared your intention to follow God. The book cannot touch the ground, nor can it have any other book placed on top of it. They, in many ways, view this book to be the earthly representation of God, and accord it much more respect. How much more faithful of members would we be if we found occasion to read this book en route to our destinations, listen to the audio tapes, ect?

3: Missionary Work

They LOVE to talk about their faith. They have no qualms whatsoever about discussing Islam. They do not shy back, they do not feel shame. They know in what they believe and will share that with you. I often find myself nervous to bring up religion, but they have no such reservations. I often wish I had the capacity to share what I know to be true like they share their beliefs. It is an inspiring thing.

We have so much to learn about this faith. Often, and unfairly, they are negatively portrayed in the media. Granted, many crimes have been perpetuated in their name. Lest we forget the black marks on Christianity: the Crusades, Inquisition, Protestant revolution, treatment of Mormons, bombing of abortion centers, killing gays, and the KKK. The banner of Christianity has been stained with as much blood throughout the years. I have lived among Muslims, I have worshiped, eaten and laughed with them. I know that these people are good, honest, loving, generous, but above all, pious people. I stand with my enlightened Christians who will extend the hand of friendship to them to heal the many wounds that we have inflicted upon ourselves in the name of religion and politics. Only God can help us now.

2 comments:

  1. this was a great post, thanks. i can do and be better.

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  2. I agree with you. Thanks for a great message. It's amazing what we can learn from different cultures.

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