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Switch to Forum Live View Question re recitation of Allah'u'Abha 95 times...
5 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2010 - 5:32PM #1
Upstream
Posts: 71

Hi all,


I don't think I've asked this one before so here goes.


What is the relevance for Bahai's of saying allah u abha 95 times each day? My understanding is that it is something that is mandatory.


Can anyone shed any light on this as I wonder whether it may be more of a tradition (ritual) than something which is relevant today.


Thanks in advance,


George.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2010 - 3:36AM #2
Sen_McGlinn
Posts: 102

The 95 x Allah'u'abha is a devotional practice; its purpose is to show obedience, and your own spiritual development.


The Sufi equivalent is called dhikr, remembrance. Each Sufi tradition has its own formula(s) for recitation (a few are almost universal, such as "there is no god but God") and its own advice about the breathing, the posture, the visualisation that accompanies the saying.


In Islam, there is the mosque with its prayers in rows behind a prayer leader, especially Friday prayers, on the one hand, and the Sufi lodge with its sheikh or pir, and sama' (the listening), the service where they say dhikr (remembrance of God), on the other hand. There has at best been a certain tension between the two.


Baha'u'llah made both obligatory prayers (without a prayer leader) and dhikr (without a sheikh) obligatory, and he placed at the centre of his community the institution of the Mashriqu'l-adhkar, the rising place of dhikr. Adhkar [pron. azkar with a thick-tounged 'z'] is the plural of dhikr. In other words, he combined the mystic and orthodox approaches to religion, the sufi lodge and the mosque. And by providing one dhikr for all Bahais (and anyone else who wants to use it), he is doing away with the different sufi organisations making themselves distinctive that way.


'The Remembrance of God' is also one of the titles of the Bab, so maybe the practice and the name of the Mashriqu'l-adhkar alludes to the nature of this Faith: two religions that are nevertheless one.


Recite the Greatest Name at every morn, and turn thou unto the Kingdom of ABHA, until thou mayest apprehend my mysteries.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 674)


Obligatory prayers and supplications are the very water of life. They are the cause of existence, of the refinement of souls, and of their attainment to the utmost joy. Exercise the greatest care in this regard, and encourage others to recite the Obligatory Prayers and supplications.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, published in The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting)


 


Mashhadi Fattah ... passed his days, perfectly content, in the Most Great Prison. He was utter selflessness; from him, no one ever heard a syllable to indicate that he existed. He was always in a certain corner of the prison, silently meditating, occupied with the remembrance of God; at all times spiritually alert and mindful, in a state of supplication.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 48)


 


and my favourite:


 


All is to be yielded up, save only the remembrance of God; all is to be dispraised, except His praise. Today, to this melody of the Company on high, the world will leap and dance: 'Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!' But know ye this: save for this song of God, no song will stir the world, and save for this nightingale-cry of truth from the Garden of God, no melody will lure away the heart.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 93)


 

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2010 - 12:40PM #3
world citizen
Posts: 5,596

Can anyone shed any light on this as I wonder whether it may be more of a  tradition (ritual) than something which is relevant today.


George ~


The obligation of repeating the Greatest Name, Allah'u'Abhá, 95 times daily is not a manmade tradition/ritual.  It will be relevant as long as there is a Baha'i Faith and until the appearance of another Manifestation (Who may or may not abrogate the obligation) because it is one of the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Book of Laws).

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2010 - 7:19PM #4
Kalzera
Posts: 260

While this reply doesn't specifically answer your question, I think it is relevant for those who wonder about it:


Jesus said, in Matthew 5:6-7, not to pray like hypocrites do. One of the markings of a hypocritical prayer is "vain repetitions." Some feel that Baha'u'llah is in direct opposition with Christ by, not only having revealed obligatory prayers, asking his followers to repeat Allah'u'Abha 95 times a day. 


From the Christian viewpoint, this might be true. It all sort of depends on how each Christian looks at it. But from the Baha'i viewpoint, it isn't. Jesus taught laws necessary for his age, while Baha'u'llah has revealed laws necessary for this age. It's the whole Progressive Revelation concept. Laws aren't static, and can be changed as and when God sees fit.


And that's besides the point that Baha'is in no way feel that our Obligatory Prayers or Allah'u'Abhas are "vain". As long as you mean what you say and actually think about what your saying, I don't think the Obligatory Prayers could ever be "vain."


Besides, having a set prayer and the Allah'u'Abha's is another characteristic that spiritually unifies Baha'is all around the world. In that sense, this is something that is necessary for both spiritual development and mankind's unity. 


 


[But I'll also be honest: I'm terrible about praying and repeating Allah'u'Abha. But, someday it has to grow on me. Innocent ]

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2010 - 8:49PM #5
world citizen
Posts: 5,596

Kalzera ~


You'll find saying the 95 easier if you have Baha'i prayer beadsWink


 

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 07, 2010 - 6:30PM #6
Kalzera
Posts: 260

I've always wanted Prayer Beads but I never thought I'd have a valid reason for buying them. Now I know why other Baha'is have them. (Maybe if I used logic?) That's definitely where my next free $26 is going. Laughing

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 07, 2010 - 9:15PM #7
world citizen
Posts: 5,596

Hello again, Kal ~


$26 might seem a lot for prayer beads but they're beautifully made and will last a long time.  I've had the same string for years now.  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 08, 2010 - 3:16PM #8
maxmar
Posts: 104

A Persian friend showed me a simple and easy way to keep count of the 95 Allah'u'Abha's without beads.   Each hand has 19 points (fingertip + 3 knuckles).   I usually start with my right hand, then do my left, then my right hand, then my left, and ending with my right hand (5 hands x 19 points = 95).     For the most part, it keeps me on track, but occasionally I do get carried away.   Smile

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 08, 2010 - 3:59PM #9
world citizen
Posts: 5,596

Hi maxmar ~


Thanks for that reminder...  I used that technique in the hospital when I didn't have my beads.  Worked great!  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2010 - 9:29PM #10
Kalzera
Posts: 260

Haha, I would've never been able to figure that out. Thanks Max Laughing


 


In fact, while reading your post I was counting on my hands just to make sure there really was 19 points. Sure enough, there really is.

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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