The Difference between Salat and Du’a: What is Prayer?

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When most people think of “Islamic prayer,” they picture rows of worshippers bowing and prostrating in unison, usually inside a mosque, facing Mecca (Makkah). But the act of worship pictured is salat, a specific act of worship with geophysical as well as body-language physical protocols, requiring a ritual ablution, preferably in water, prior to its performance. The word du’a, on the other hand, is equivalent in meaning to the English word “prayer,” which is simply “supplication.” To refer to salat as “prayer” is convenient, because there is no English equivalent, but inaccurate. Continue reading

The Green Quran

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The Quran has much to say about what we call environmental issues, about taking care of the earth. Fasad fi’l ard is usually translated “corruption on earth,” and one of its meanings is in fact corruption in the usual moral sense: cheating, bribery, promiscuity, abusive behavior, theft, oppression, political corruption, spree or senseless killing. But the term “fasad” also can refer to spoilage, as in spoiled vegetables or fruits. Or to something adulterated. Or pollution, such as environmental pollution. Why else would it be constantly called “corruption on earth?” Why mention this? We know corruption takes place on earth already. Continue reading