Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Continual Reminders of Other


Five times a day the call sounds from the minaret: time to pray. Although I see very few people stop at those moments to pray, the calls begin to govern the hours of all who live in Morocco. It is a constant reminder from 4 or 5 directional speakers at once that 98% of those around us are believers in the Koran and the Prophet and the Five Tenants. Intellectual ideas for us; consuming ways of life for them.

There is no way to discuss without defense our different beliefs. We both have answers for each other’s questions which make so much sense as to not be discussable. I suppose I would be as successful explaining the mysteries of real body and blood in Holy Communion as they were initiating me into why Jesus did not die but was replaced in the tomb by someone who looked like him. The Westerners listen without contradiction. The Moroccans do not ask any questions they cannot answer.

The key to the faith as it was explained to me, and as it makes sense now in day to day life in Morocco and world events, is the individual’s relationship to Allah at the center of the faith. One is required to give to charity, to pray, to keep the Ramadan fast, to believe in God and the Prophet, to make a pilgrimage. Having done that, responsibility is fulfilled: one is right with Allah and anticipates heavenly reward. Duty to family is culturally key, as is modesty in women. But central tenants Christians hold close such as forgiveness by God and each other, compassion and gracious giving are just not in the motivating conscious mind of those I met.

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