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Do Muslims Pray Like Babbling Pagans?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 21, 2018

Question

“On my way to Islam, I am having several doubts, and I would like to clarify them if possible. -Jesus says in Mathew 6:7: ”And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” If Jesus was a Muslim and preached Islam, why he said that, when Muslims pray repeated words 5 times per day? I thank you in advance, hope my questions are going to be answered, and I’ll become a true Muslim.”

Consultant

Answer


babbling

Short Answer: Please understand that these words do not refer to the sincere prayers of a Jew, Christian or Muslim. These words refer to the ways of the hypocrites and pagans. Jesus means: Do not be like hypocrites and do not babble in prayer like the pagans. No Muslim will resent these words. Rather they will accept them into their hearts with utmost sincerity. Muslims do their worship (obligatory act of ibadah) called salah five times a day. This is a compulsory act of worship from our part offered to none other than our Creator. Neither Jesus nor any of God’s prophets would disapprove of such worship. Rather they would only urge their followers to perform it. But of course Jesus disapproves of all forms of hypocrisy and all practices of paganism. What he warns against is his followers imitating the hypocrites and pagans.

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Peace be with you brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

The Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible and the Quran share a large number of basic concepts that form the foundation of the Religion of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Muslims (literally “those who submit to the Will of God”) believe that the above-mentioned scriptures were revealed to mankind by the One and Only God of the universe, called Yahweh in the Bible and Allah in the Quran. To them believing in the One God and in all the scriptures revealed by the same One God – Allah, as well as in all the prophets sent by Him is a fundamental duty.

Thus Muslims accept Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and all other prophets mentioned in the Bible as God’s own prophets; and they consider Muhammad as the Last of the Prophets in this line.

All these prophets gave their respective peoples basically the same divine message and taught the same religion of God.

Whatever differences that exist among these religions today are owing to bad preservation of the earlier scriptures, errant translations, priestly interpolations, exegetical differences, and deliberate distortions by selfish handlers and custodians of the older scriptures.

But God Himself has guaranteed us that the Final and the Complete Scripture will be protected from all kinds of interpolations and errors. For that reason, the Quran is the only pure and perfect Book of God existing in the world.

God has decreed that the Quran will be the final Criterion of Truth, on the basis of which all doubts about religion and spirituality could be cleared and all points of difference settled.

Let us come specifically to the question you have raised:

-Jesus says in Mathew 6:7 ”And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” . If Jesus was a Muslim and preached Islam, why he said that, when Muslims pray repeated words 5 times per day?

Answer: I would like to put those words of Jesus in their right context. Please read the verses attentively from the beginning of Matthew Chapter 6 up to verse 8:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:1-8)

Please understand that these words do not refer to the sincere prayers of a Jew, Christian or Muslim. These words refer to the ways of the hypocrites and pagans. Jesus means: Do not be like hypocrites and do not babble in prayer like the pagans. No Muslim will resent these words. Rather they will accept them into their hearts with utmost sincerity.

Muslims do their worship (obligatory act of ibadah) called salah five times a day. This is a compulsory act of worship from our part offered to none other than our Creator. Neither Jesus nor any of God’s prophets would disapprove of such worship. Rather they would only urge their followers to perform it. But of course Jesus disapproves of all forms of hypocrisy and all practices of paganism. What he warns against is his followers imitating the hypocrites and pagans.

Also it is worth noting that in the particular context Jesus is not speaking about acts of worship. By prayer he means supplications, not an ibadah like salah. Supplication stands for our asking God for the fulfillment of a need here and now, such as a poor man asking for wealth, or a sick person asking for health etc. That is why Jesus adds: “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

That is to say, God knows your needs; you only need to raise your heart or mind toward Him in prayer. There is no need to raise your voice or go on babbling. This is what Jesus means and this is the essence of submission to God or Islam.

Remember Jesus’ prayer to God: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

“Not my will, but yours be done” – Only a Muslim – that is, a person who wholeheartedly submits to God’s will – says this to God. And read the verse that follows this: namely Luke 22:43: An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him”. That is, God heard Jesus’ prayer and sent him consolation. And what is more, this obviously means that Jesus is not God; if so why should he pray to God in the first place? And secondly, how can an angel strengthen God?

Dear Brother, our request to you is to prayerfully think over the Christian creeds and the Muslim creeds, examine the sources of those creeds and come to a conclusion. Pray to the One and Only God Who created us to guide you to the Truth. And insha Allah (God willing) you will be a good Muslim.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Dhikr – How Should We Remember God?

5 Prophecies of the Quran Addressed to Muhammad

Scriptures of People of the Book

 

 

 




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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