Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today I pressed asparagas fern in preparation to make holiday bookmarks.  I have signed up for a holiday bazaar at the Children's Advocacy Center in Medord. This center does incredibly important works in giving abused, neglected and traumatized children another chance at childhood.  My booth fee will go to this very worthwhile organization.  In my next blog I will give instructions on how to make my unique pressed flower bookmark recipe.  So stay tuned.

I am also continuing to prepare for the "Islamic Mandala" Workshop that Louise Pare and I are offering on November 13.  I went to the website "Islam 101" and read about the 'Five Pillars' of Islam which are the foundation of Muslim life.  I will share some of my notes with you:

1.  The first pillar is Iman or Faith
      The only pupose of life is to serve and obey God and is achieved through the teachings and practices of
      Last Prophet, Muhammad.

2.  The second pillar is Salah or Prayer
      Obligatory Prayers are performed five times a day and are a link between the worshipper and God. 
      Prayers are said at dawn, mid-day, late afternoon, sunset and nightfall.  Prayers contain verses from the
      Qur'ran and are said in Arabic.  They can be said in a Mosque or most anywhere. Prayers are central in
      daily life.

3.  The third pillar is Zakah or Financial Obligations
     An important principal of Islam is that everything belongs to God and wealth is held in human trust.  
     Zakah means both "purification" and "growth".  Possessions are purified by setting aside a portion for
     those in need and for society in general.  Each Muslim calculates his or her Zakah individually.  It
     involves an anual payment of a fortieth of one's capital, excluding primary residence, car and professional
     tools.  A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqu-h, "voluntary charity".

4.  The fourth pillar is Sawm or Fasting
     Every year during the month of Ramada-n, Muslims fast from dawn until sundown, abstaining from food
     drink, and sexual relations with spouses.Those who are sick, elderly, menstrating, pregnant or nursing,
     or on a journey may break a fast and make up equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy
     and able.  Children usually begin fasting from puberty.  Fasting for Muslims is mainly a method of
     self-purification and self-restraint so one can be constantly aware of the presence of God.

5.  The fifth pillar is Hajj or Pilgrimage
      The Pilgrimage to Makkah(the Hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially
      able to do so.  Makkah is located in Saudia Arabia.  Over 2 million people go to Makkah each year.
      It begins in the 12th month of the Islamic year which is lunar and not solar so sometimes falls in Summer 
      and sometimes Winter.The close of the pilgrimage is marked by the festival the 'Id al Adha' which is
      celebrated with prayers and exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere.  This and the 'Id al
      Fitr, a festive day celebrating the end of Ramada-n, are the two holidays of the Islamic calendar.

Again, I am struck by the devotion of the followers of the Religion of Islam and how the virtues of  love, charity, and humility are stressed. It requires a great deal of personal commitment. It has been very interesting educating myself on 5 Pillars of Islam and seeing how devoted and commited Muslims are to serving God.  As I study the Islamic Designs I can see how the religion has influenced their look.  More Later.

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