Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brainwashing through Salat

What did Muhammad seek to achieve with the salat? Is the muslim prayer devised to brainwash the individual into unconditionally sumbitting to Allah and his messenger?
I was inquisitive as a boy. I would always ask questions that grown-ups never seemed to have an answer to.
Looking back at my childhood I remember asking my mother a very interesting question. I wanted to know why we said Assalamu Alaikum at the end of the prayer, turning our heads to either sides and gazing down at our shoulders. Of course, I knew what the phrase Assalamu Alaikum meant and when to appropriately use that greeting. It was all too common for me to see my parents greet guests or strangers who came home with Assalamu Alaikum(Peace be with you) while they replied back with Wa’alaikum Wassalam.(And Peace be with you too)
To answer my question, what my mother told me was that there were two angles, each sitting on our shoulders. Their task was to record all the deeds we do and things we say. The nasty things we say are recorded by the guy on the left shoulder, while the good things including prayers and supplications were recorded by the guy on the right. Apparantly, greeting the angels would earn their pleasure. The idea was to please them so the guy sitting on the left shoulder would erase some of the things he had written!
This was not something she made up just to shut me up. A few years later I got the same reply from my madrassa imam when I raised the question.
So if this ridiculous notion is accepted in Islamic traditions there must be some hadith about it. So today, all those years later, out of curiosity I started seaching for it in the internet. And here’s my find.
To Complete the Prayer:
Look over right shoulder (toward the angel recording your good deeds), then the left (toward the angel recording your wrongful deeds); say each time:
As Salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatulaah 
Peace and blessings of God be upon you.

It is clear we are sending salat to the invisible angels on our shoulders.
I find it embarrassing that even as a child of 10 or 11 years of age I could be duped so easily. The power of indoctrination was so strong that it took me many more years to see the absurdity and stupidity of it all. I dont think I could ever come to terms with the fact that my own parents had to feed me lies so that I could keep my faith. The fact that over a billion people still believe in these asinine fairytales is little consolation for me. I expect parents to act in the best interest of their child. But I was fed lies.
If you thought the idea of having angels residing on your shoulders was ridiculous, you will find these wise words of the prophet even more amusing. Muhammad actually believed that mythical creatures straight out of pagan arab folklore like jinn, angels and satan could invade a human body and make a dwelling place out if it.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 516:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “If anyone of you rouses from sleep and performs the ablution, he should wash his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it out thrice, because Satan has stayed in the upper part of his nose all the night.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 492:
Narrated ‘Abdullah:
It was mentioned before the Prophet that there was a man who slept the night till morning (after sunrise). The Prophet said, “He is a man in whose ears Satan had urinated.”
Volume 2, Book 22, Number 323 
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “When the call for prayer is made, Satan takes to his heels passing wind so that he may not hear the Adhan and when the call is finished he comes back, and when the Iqama is pronounced, Satan again takes to his heels.
You would have thought that people usually grow out of all these ludicrous and absurd tales they are taught as children. But as this Q&A response from prominent scholars on a popular Islamic website shows, there is no end to the absurdities muslims are willing to believe, if they could defend the “wise” words of the prophet.
“Muslim scholars explain that the nose is one of the ways to one’s mind and thoughts. Satan tries to put his ideas and suggestions into the mind of a person during his sleep as well. The best cure is that after waking up one should clean one’s nose, make ablution for Prayers and seek God’s protection. “
Now lets look at salat or the obligatory 5-times a day prayer in some detail. Although muslims are taught to perform the prayer at a very young age, not many outside of the Arabic speaking population would know the meaning of what they mindlessly parrot several times day in and day out.
The recital at the completion of every second rakah needs particular mention.

At Tahiyyaatu lilaahi was Salawaatu wat tayibaatu
As Salaamu ‘alaika ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmatul laahi wa barakaatuh
As Salaamu ‘alainaa wa ‘alaa ‘ebaadillaahis saaliheen,
(Hands on knees, raise right forefinger:) Ash hadu allaa ilaah ilallaah
Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhuu wa rasuuluh
Lo and behold, did you(muslims) know what they meant? I didnt. I was taught in arabic and never knew what they meant.
All greetings, blessings and good acts are from You, my Lord.
Greetings to you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.
Peace be unto us, and unto the righteous servants of Allah.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
And at the end of the prayer, at the final rakah, the recitation goes:
Allaahumma salli ‘alaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa ali Muhammadin
Kamaa sallaita ‘alaa Ibraaheema wa ‘alaa ali Ibraaheema
Innaka hameedun Majeed
Alaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘alaa ali Muhammadin
Kamaa baarakta ‘alaa Ibraaheema wa ‘alaa ali Ibraaheema
Innaka hameedun Majeed
O Allah, bless our Muhammad and the people of Muhammad;
As you have blessed Abraham and the people of Abraham.
Surely you are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.
O Allah, be gracious unto Muhammad and the people of Muhammad;
As you were gracious unto Abraham and the people of Abraham.
Surely you are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.
What does this tell us about the psychology of this man Muhammad. Isnt this the mechanism of indoctrination at work, through repeated use of a phrase to reinforce the idea into ones subconscious mind? The narcissist Muhammad not only demands praise from his followers but also accomplishes to instill fear of Allah and respect and adoration for His prophet. This unusually high regard for the prophet demanded of every muslim, ensured that he remained above crticism and accountability. If the Quran is riddled with verses like the one below, threatening believers with hell-fire for disobeying the prophet, Muhammad must have a very good reason for including them in the Quran and passing them off as God’s word.
Qran 4:115
If anyone opposes the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!
In fact, there are hadiths and verses in the Quran that elevate the rank of Muhammad to that of a demi-god, who should never be questioned(as you would not question god), but be loved and respected unconditionally.
Sahih Bukhari Vol 1, Book 2, Hadith No.013
Reported Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: “By Him in whose hands my life is, None of you will have Faith until he loves me more than his father, children and all of mankind.”
Quran 3:31
Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Quran 33:56
Allah and His angels are praying on and praising the Prophet; O believers! pray on and praise him and salute him with utmost respect.
Quran 4:69
Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are with those whom He has favored: the Prophets (peace be upon them all), the True Saints, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. Ah! What an excellent company.
Allah’s Apostle sure knows how to feed his Narcissistic cravings. Not only does he manage to have his over-inflated ego massaged five times a day, he also succeds in keeping unwanted questions at bay. You woudnt want to doubt or question the prophet if it meant earning the wrath of Allah, his messenger and his companions, would you? That would be disastrous- in this world and in the hereafter!

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