Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section B: Wash My Tired Feet!

As was stated in the last blog, Christians are not the only ones who wash their feet in a ritual setting.  Muslims do it as well, but for a very different reason.  Instead of the foot washing being an act of submission, it's an act of hygiene and literal and symbolic cleansing.  It is also performed on one's self instead of by one person to another.
Real sexy, huh?

The act of washing the feet and other body parts is called "Wudu" and is done in preparation for salat, which are prayers.  According to the Islamic Center of Charlotte's website, “Prayer for a Muslim involves uniting mind, soul, and body in worship……In the ritual prayers each individual Muslim is in direct contact with Allah. There is no need of a priest as an intermediary.”  Sounds kind of Pagan. 
"For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Al-Baqarah, 2:222) is the verse from the Quran that is commonly used to support wudu.  There are many rules surrounding what kind of water can be used for ablutions, but the most important rule is that the water must be clean and pure.  The more natural the source the better.  While performing wudu, the participant should not only think about how the water is getting them literally clean but also on how the water is symbolically cleansing them as well.  It sounds like sympathetic magic at its best.  
As Pagans, we can incorporate the practice of wudu as a shorten form of a ritual bath.  Magical and medicinal herbs that promote cleansing and purity could be added to the water for a bath tea or oils could be substituted.  Herbs and oils that promote deity consciousness would be another good choice.  Gem stones could also be added to make gem elixirs
Wikipedia has a lot of what I assume is good information on wudu, but I called the Islamic Center of Charlotte to double check some facts.  Instead of answering my questions via the phone, the gentleman that I spoke with invited me to Friday prayers where I'll be able to participate in wudu with the ladies.  When I get that all arranged, I'll post a supplemental section detailing my experiences.