Saturday, April 14, 2007

Favorite Passages from "In the Footsteps of the Prophet"

An Education, and Nature (pg. 12)

Ramadan writes,

"The spiritual teaching that can be drawn from [nature] is essential, both for the Prophet's education, and for our own education throughout history: being close to nature, respecting what it is, and observing and meditating on what it shows us, offers us, or takes from us requirements of a faith that, in its quest, attempts to feed, deepen and renew itself. Nature is the primary guide and the intimate companion of faith.

...Far removed from the formalism of soulless religious rituals, this sort of education, in and through its closeness to nature, fosters a relationship to the divine based on contemplation and depth that will later make it possible, in a second phase of spiritual education, to understand the meaning, form, and objectives of religious ritual. Cut off from nature in our towns and cities, we nowadays seem to have forgotten the meaning of this message to such an extent that we dangerously invert the order of requirements and believe that learning about the techniques and forms of religion (prayers, pilgrimages, the different fiqh, etc.) is sufficient to grasp and understand their meaning and objectives. This delusion has serious consequences since it leads to draining religious teaching of its spiritual substance, which actually ought to be its heart."

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