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Prayer And Fasting: Traditions That Cross The Barriar Of Religions

1501 words - 6 pages

In today’s world there are hundreds of religions with thousands of traditions and practices. Many of these religions share the same roots, but have diverged so much over the years that the only thing in common is the God they worship. When observing two major religions of India, Hinduism and Buddhism, one can see that there are several similarities, such as the polytheistic worship, but to the uneducated, the two religions may seem very different and distinct with little in common. In fact the major thing that Buddhism has in common with Hinduism is its roots. Buddhism traces its roots back to Buddha, who followed the Hindu faith and they chose to break away from it because he did not agree with what they were teaching. Other religions that have the same ancestry are the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. These three religions trace their heritage back to Abraham and believe that God revealed himself to the patriarch. When one takes a closer look at these religions, one encounters that there is more in common than just the common ancestry. Take Islam and Christianity, Islam is founded on the five pillars of: confession of faith, canonical prayer, charity, observance of Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Mecca. Christianity is founded on Jesus Christ and the faith of the apostles, but both have teachings on prayer, and fasting. These two religions are very distinct and sacred in their own practice, but virtues are universal and not restricted to any particular religion.
Prayer is important for all religions. It is one of the few things which all of the religions of the world have in common. Though prayer is a common factor among religions, the way in which the faithful of the religions pray is what varies so much.
In the Islamic faith, prayer is called Salah and is extremely important. As previously mentioned it is one of the pillars of their faith and is given that respect. The reason why Muslims pray is twofold, the first is, “in response to life’s natural impulse to give thanks for its existence,” and the second, which is the more important than the first is, “to keep life in perspective – to see it objectively, which involved acknowledging human creatureliness before the Creator.” Muslims are required to pray five times a day at: sunrise, noontime, afternoon, sunset, and at night and there are very specific guidelines for how a person is to pray as well. While praying they are to face in the direction of Mecca as a sign of their unity with God. This idea of praying in the direction of Mecca “creates a sense of participating in a worldwide fellowship, even when one prays in solitude.”
Before Muslims begin to pray there are strict guidelines in preparation that they must follow. A major part of this preparation is cleansing the body and soul. First the Muslims must wear the proper attire for prayer and make sure that the place of prayer is clean. The garments which are to be worn for prayer are to be loose fitted and...

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