Spiritual Seekers

My life has been a journey of spiritual seeking. Because of that orientation, I’ve read writings, analyses and biographies of many spiritual seekers of many traditions. There is one glaring hole in my search–Muhammad.

My wife and I watched the documentary / biography of Muhammad that aired over PBS last weekend. Didn’t learn a lot. But it did start some interesting thinking.

Muhammad’s sayings were written and collected by his followers and compiled in a book called the Qur’an or Koran. Essentially these were teachings on the many revelations he received from God–the God of Abraham. Because of these, he is revered as a prophet of God.

Since I’ve studied philosophy and religion at the university, I have a certain attitude toward scholars in that area. Many try to maintain some sort of scholarly skepticism toward that which they study and teach. None in the documentary came out directly skeptical about Muhammad experiencing revelations, but I picked up some of that attitude during the interviews.

I’m not suspicious of revelations in general, they just need to be tested. There are too many so-called revelations that are delusional. From what I picked up from the series plus what little reliable commenting I’ve read make it seem like his revelations bear the test quite well.

The world was multi-cultural back then. Medina’s residents included Jews, Christians and pagans, as well as Muhammad’s followers. Not that it isn’t now, but we really seem to have adopted the rural attitude that everyone should be just like us. They all lived together quite nicely until economics entered the picture. What is the saying, money is the root of all evil?

The early Christians were very aware that there were many people unlike them in the world and that they needed to interact and get along with them, too.

An interesting thing to pick up from the program was the role of the mosque. Not just a place to come occasionally to hear preaching, his was open to everyone to come and discuss, and it was like a community center. This not like most Christian churches–and an idea we need to pick up.

I’ll have to read more. I’m interested in details such as how did they pray or meditate, how did they communicate, what challenges did they face. These are useful for our own edification.

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