manfred wrote:That is a rather profound statement from the priest who wrote this part of Leviticus. God created man, and that gives him the destiny to be "holy", close to God. Man can become is one sense LIKE God, and that is the true purpose of man. Man, the last creation, the special being with the ability and destiny to be almost "god like"."You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy"
Now, eagle, how is such an incredible thing achieved? How should a man embark on that journey back to God, the path to "holiness"?
There are many answers given to that, and many paths all leading to the same destination.
But of all those answers, the idea of that holiness is achieved by washing your feet, face and hands on a specific way has to be the most ridiculous. Holiness is not related to magic.
meaning God is not only above all material limitations, but even above the limitation of metaphor. This also carries the meaning that even the "how" of His being different than the rest of creation is beyond the category of human thought. Similar principles are stated in the HB by the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah Jer10:6,Isa40:18.42:11"there is nothing like a likeness of Him"
Pure monotheism denies the notion of being God like in anyway.
How is holiness, righteousness achieved? There is no mystery nor secrets. By firstly integrating one's position as not more than a servant of the Creator in constant need of his physical and spiritual sustenance, and the ultimate form in which this is manifested is by accepting the revealed law, in letter and in spirit, not by inventing one's own convenient rules and irrelevant mysticisms.
We've discussed in another thread the Quranic concept of ingrained spiritual guidance, making one capable of deducing the existence of a Creator by the signs in nature and the universe, as well as recognizing the basic moral requirements of that Creator.
When one uses this faculty correctly, in the absence of external guidance (revelations) he will remain yearning and feeling lost despite his awareness in those fundamental principles, ineffective in his search for an explicit guidance to know his obligations, how he should discharge them, how he should direct all possible aspects of his life in total subservience to God. Such person remains wandering in perplexity in search of the truth until he is shown the utlimate and precise manner in which his Creator is to be served
It is important to note here it doesnt speak of being lost from the straight path. One can be on the straight path all the while yearning and unsuccesfully looking for the best and ultimate way to progress on it, until it is shown explicitly. The difference between a prophet and philosopher is that the former, after seclusion and deep insight gets the truth and wisdom from God whereas the latter arrives to a glimpse of it or sometimes falls short of it by himself.12:3,42:52,93:6-7"Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? And found you lost and guided you?".
Consequently, we find that the books of ancient philosophers, and of those that developped their theories after them, could not stand the test of subsequent criticisim, resulting either in exposing flaws or entirely discrediting their lines of thought. As to the branch of philosophy that claims to investigate the realm of metaphysics through rational thought, the Quran categorically denies these attempts since it states that the concepts of God, Hereafter and revelation are parts of the knowledge of the unseen/ghayb, meaning beyond the reach of human perception. That knowledge is only imparted through revelation and thus all true metaphysical endeavors depend on it.
Although the Quran continuously encourages humanity to inquire into and reflect upon the visible world to aqcuire knowledge, and understand through it the rational need for the resurrection, judgement and hereafter (the "signs" not pointing to "islam" but to the aforementioned concepts, often spoken about and derided by those, including in this forum who do not perceive their purpose), in the case of knowledge of the unseen, it aims to guide the individuals during that process
Any philosphy that is not guided is in great error when dealing with the metaphysical realm, a realm transcending our sense-experience, making its direct intuition or experience impossible.96:4-5"He taught mankind that which they did not know".
That condition the prophet was in, of seclusion and desperate seeking of the truth, as well as God's remedies to his concerns, inner questions and difficulties, is captured in sura duha and sharh. So, just as God, in answer to Ibrahim and Ismail's prayers, showed them the manner in which they and those after them should engage in worshipping Him 2:124-131, as was done to Adam who was taught the manner in which to invoke God and seek forgiveness 2:37,7:23,20:122 God showed the true rituals to Muhammad in answer to his spiritual quest, restoring them to their true form and purpose after they had been disfigured with time.
There is a lesson of humility, for a servant to reverently ask his master for the best way to please him, as Ibrahim asked his Lord, and to not be self-conceited in thinking that one knows best how to outwardly behave when addressing the Lord of creation just as one wouldnt disrespect the basic conduct to have when facing a mere wordly ruler. The form of a ritual is just as important as the sincerity in its execution.