Chapter Denier part 3-
Question: If I don’t follow the physical aspect of fasting, then am I still fasting?
This is a similar kind of question to someone who doesn’t physically prostrates in the ritualistic prayer and just stands. These questions stem from the misunderstanding of rituals.
Ritualistic prayers have reasoning behind their physical actions. The physical actions must be used to remind ourselves that we live in the physical world and we practice belief in this physical world just as we intellectually know that the Nourisher is God but when we are hungry, we eat physical food. It may not be possible to keep the awareness of rituals and fasting all the time but that is what we need to try, keeping the consciousness alive in the physical acts. And so, we need reminders such as 30 physical days of fasting so that we will establish the certainty in our belief that food belongs to its Creator, God. We can benefit from the food only with the permission of its Owner, the Creator of everything, including the food, not that I can eat it as if it is my property. We gain certainty on the belief that everything belongs to their Creator by fasting and not consuming the food anytime I want.
Ritualistic prayers need to be put into physical actions, they are the means to put my worship into practice. The physical forms are the vehicle in these physical conditions of this world. Understand the ritualistic acts, praying, fasting, charity (giving away from your property), and going to a physical place and be in the presence of God (Hajj/pilgrimage) etc. We should keep in mind what we are doing and what we are acknowledging as much as we can because that is how we establish the connection with our Creator. These acts are all opportunities to put ourselves into practicing the consciousness.
- Develop your ability to learn the reality of this world while you are given the opportunity.
- It is the decision of the One who made the conditions such knowing that human beings are in need of these physical practices.
- If one is unable to physically perform an act based on health/physical situation then one is not responsible for the physical rituals.
Understanding rituals such as prayer (salat), fasting (saum) or pilgrimage (hajj):
- Why do I have to go to a physical place and be in the presence of God for I can be in the presence of God anywhere?
- Why do I have to deprive myself from food and all other worldly/bodily pleasure for certain amount of time?
- Why do I pray the 5 times ritualistic prayers?
Fasting takes place during hajj as well for some days while the pilgrim is in “ihram” (two pieces cloths worn during performing the pilgrimage) where I am fasting from not being concerned with anything else but only aspects of the Creator and be in His presence with no interruption.
Our understanding capacity must always be in check with us as much as possible. Example while doing your shopping in the grocery section, you see all bounties of the Creator, and you feel that you are at a banquet. This physical condition may give you a better opportunity to be in the presence of God.
Our understating of ritualistic prayers is reduced to only physical aspect of it and the reason behind it is mostly ignored i.e. “why am I doing this physical action?” Behind my mind, this understanding must always be working. These are occasions and opportunities for us to put consciousness/belief in physical form.
Example: When I am prostrating, what am I doing physically? Physically, I am telling my body in congruent with the conditions of this type of creation, but I am reminding myself that I have nothing to claim before the Creator. For instance, while fasting I just wait until the permission is given to come into the banquet from the Owner of the banquet. While in prostration that means that I am zero as compared to an Absolute One (infinite). Every number represent the value of infinite but the best number representing that is zero as it gives a full contrast between a number and what we refer to as infinite.
- Prostration represents zero in order to make infinite appear with full brightness in its existence. That realization is expected to be alive and brighter than ever, that is worship, practice in physical terms.
Why are the physical ritualistic prayers prescribed for us?
To remind us what we truly are and provide us with an opportunity to practice my mental and emotional conclusions within my bodily existence. All commandments reminded in the Quran are valid within these physical conditions of this universe which are needed by human beings because we keep forgetting what we truly are. We must acknowledge that we are living in this physical world. The ritualistic requirements are presented to us here to be practiced and there is no sign in the Speech that in Paradise there will be no prayer and fasting but praise and enjoying the manifestation of His Mercy and Glory. After all, how can we know about the conditions of another type of existence? What we can imagine is that consciousness must be practiced in the physical term of the new conditions or type of existence, and it must be not a place to make further development in one’s human qualities.
- While it is not over yet (i.e. death is not given yet), use your ability to develop more of your reality.
We have misconceptions of ritualistic prayer because we reduce it to physical actions. Physical actions are dropped when it is not possible to do them due to personal conditions, example illness. In that case, one cannot do physical actions but emotionally and intellectually, one can remember the meaning behind any kind of ritualistic prayer. It is our mistake to understand ritualistic practice in the wrong way.
“109:2 “I do not worship what you worship,”
Addressee here are deniers, not negligent people who need to be reminded what they are neglecting. We defined what denier is, someone aware of the truth and does not want to acknowledge/submit to the truth.
Traditionally, the deniers don’t worship.
What is worship? What do we understand from the word?
“’Ubudiya, ‘Ibadah, ma’bud, ‘abd” are words used in Arabic.
Is it wrong to say that only believers worship?
- Everyone worships something, either nature, causes or themselves.
What is worship? What do we understand from the words given below?
- ‘Abd– the one who performs worships (‘aabid).
- ‘Ibadat– act of worshiping
- Ma’bud– the one which is worshipped, God. In the context of the Quran, “That which is worshipped.”
What defines worship of God?
- Answer: Way of thanking God, acknowledging that He is the One Who gave existence to whatever we are experiencing here in this world.
Is that an answer? Thanking God is unknown as we don’t know how we define worship.
- Who I am worshiping is called God? First let’s try to understand worship.
What is the one that is worshiped? Let’s understand what that means.
If worship is not known, then thanking God is not known as well. Example: If x=y, then what is y and what is x? x represents y and vice versa. Explaining one unknown concept with another unknown concept. This becomes a circular reasoning where I say that x=y and y=x without knowing the values of either x and y. If you do not know what worship means, then you cannot thank God.
- What am I worshiping really? Am I confirming what I am?
If a thing has a certain quality, then that quality will help me understand worship better. The qualities manifested in the universe somehow help me understand one aspect of worship. That is, these qualities represent for me a One (Source) that I owe everything to, that is my object of worship.
What do my human needs look for? That source that gave me those needs must satisfy my human questions: Why am I in this existence, where did I come from and why am I here, what is the purpose in my existence? What is the source of my existence? I can ask this source why did you give me this existence?
- If one doesn’t ask these human questions, it will be hard to be called a human.
- If someone does not get a glimpse of why s/he is in this world, then s/he does not benefit from anything.
If one sees concept of nature as the source, then that is what one attributes all the values to that source and worships that source. Whatever I see value of existence is due to, that source is what I worship. That is, what is worthy of being the source of the qualities is what I will worship. Attributing all the values to a source and being appreciative of the source, my existence is from that source and I am happy with it, that is what constitutes worship.
What is the value of my existence? The essential is to explain what existence means, what does my existence mean? Where did I get it so that I communicate with the Source?
First stage: What am I worth?
I am valuable. According to the value of my existence, I realize the value of the Source of my Existence and I will consider my own self as a precious valuable being, that is human honor. How much value am I assigning to my being? Accordingly, I will be respectful to the One who provides this for me.
What is worthy of worship?
Everyone attaches some values to his/her existence that is why we do not commit suicide.
The reason for suicide: There is one problem which makes the rest of my existence worthless i.e. the pressure of existence. If there is such a problem, then there will be no point in my existence. This problem of life related to the pressure of existence is so heavy that people do not want to go on carrying it as a burden and as a result, they throw it away by ending their life. The reason being that they haven’t found the solution to understand the mystery of existence and so they fall into despair and commit suicide. If one glimpse of hope to find a solution remains, then they keep their life. Example: “I am grateful to mother-nature.” This is enough evidence to live in this world for this person. Also, by propagating such understandings to justify themselves: “some people agree so I am right!” What does the concept of nature represent here?
- The value of my existence is due to this one.
Second stage: What is the right attribute of a worthy quality?
Attributing all values to a Source and it is worthy of praise. Practically speaking, suicidal people are despair for satisfactory source of answers to their existential questions and when they fail to receive it, they say that it is not worth living.
Example: If this phone is worthless for me, then will I pay one dollar for it? No. We do not even try to keep it.
Attributing value of my existence to a source and as a result communicating with that source as worthy to my communication.
Example: At a store, I look for a valuable tool. If I find it, then I attach value to it and pay for it.
Object of worship represents the object that I attach value to. The more value I attach to my existence, the more I am made to realize that these are important valuable qualities and tools in my existence.
Example: Eye vs the power of sight. Something goes wrong with the eye, one asks for the tool to be given in order to practice the power of sight.
Third stage: Can I give a price to such a valuable existence?
How did I get my existence? From where? Now, I start searching for the Source of Existence (SOE) of this priceless existence, what can it be? What can be the SOE of my priceless existence? Atoms? Nothing in this world can be the SOE of this valuable existence (lailaha). I am in a despaired position now. If an object is valuable, then it must have a Source that can give value to that object.
What do I pay for my priceless valuable existence? My payment would be acknowledgment.
My payment is only the appreciation of Its work and thanking It. Payment must be in the sense of appreciation at least. Appreciation requires acknowledgment of the Engineer of the phone for example. I must acknowledge the Owner of my Existence! It is not in the universe what should I do? I am given the sense to appreciate the Engineer of my existence.
There have been primitive people in certain parts of the world who did not have the concept of worship within a set of certain “religion” based on revelation but realized that everything is given to them and so they cannot claim ownership over anything including a piece of land.
- Verse: Allahu malikul mulk – the One who gives existence to the whole world is the only one worthy of praise. Nothing can be the SOE of this universe. “I owe my existence to that One.” As compared to the atheistic approach to the universe, it seems that the most developed people are the most primitive tribes. At least they acknowledge that the creation is a “gift.”
Worldly conclusion vs my personal conclusion-
If I am convinced as a human being of what my reality is, without imitating a culture, then I can start a communication with my true Object of worship and be consistent in my reasoning.
Since my existence is priceless and I cannot find the SOE of this precious existence within this universe, I have to acknowledge that the Source of Existence (SOE) is nothing of this universe. No one can show me the SOE of this universe within the universe. This SOE is a self-subsisting One, not subject to space-time, usually referred to as “God”.
What do I mean by God?
The SOE of everything. My priceless existence belongs to It. Nothing belongs to you. Your beautiful hair, can you say that it belongs to you? Nothing belongs to anything of this universe, everything belongs to its Source of Existence. This realization is called worship, ‘ubudiya.
Hence, the verse 109:2 can be interpreted as: I do not attach my existence to what you attach existence to. I am not connecting my existence to what you are connecting my existence to.
I witness that there is no God within myself and yourself. (Lailaha illallahu). It means that I am arguing with myself. Witness means that I am sure of my stand/conclusion as in physically experiencing this reality.
Keep checking yourself: What do I attach value to?
If you attach value to something other than the owner of the universe, then I do not worship what you worship. You must be worshiping the Owner of the universe. Again, several ways to interpret the verse under discussion.
Do I own the tree in my backyard? Do I own the earth that I am standing on?
Since I cannot attribute my existence to anything but an Absolute Source, I am sure that this Absolute Source must exist and consequently, the tree and the land belongs to It; I am just benefiting from them.
Tags: Al-Kafirun, Full Satisfaction, Kafirun Series, Needy, Orphan, Security, Source of Existence