Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Texas Faith - Should we pray for rain?

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.
Dallas Morning News
Texas Faith, September 13, 2011

Should Texans or for that matter, others afflicted by drought pray for rain? If so, how would you pray? And what would you expect? If not, why wouldn’t you pray for rain?

Rain is a major source of life-giving water. It fills the lakes, runs the rivers, grows the food, tends the plants which produce oxygen and facilitates all that we consume for nourishment and survival. Lack of rain brings disasters.

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.

We have not had rain for a long time, what are our choices? When our intellect does not produce alternatives, we turn to the creator; it is our only hope.

Gov. Rick Perry’s proclamation to pray for rain may have its origins when he was a Commissioner for Agriculture. Indeed Jesus had made frequent references to it, in Matthew 13; four parables were mentioned relating to agriculture.

Doesn’t the creator know his operation has gone bonkers and needs fixing? He does, the mother knows what her children want, the employers know what the employees want, yet we have to ask for it. So, we pray!

The Native Americans felt the need to appease the creator and initiated rain dances. The Egyptian prayed for rain so the Nile can flow and they can get their water for sustenance.

Moses declared in Deuteronomy 11:14 " I will give you the rain of your land…" and laid a condition, “to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Lord Krishna says, “Beings are nourished by food, food is produced by rain, rain comes from sacrifice, and sacrifice is performed by action” and in chapter 19 of Bhagvad Gita he says “O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought.”

Indeed, it is a routine in India for the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains to gather up and sing songs for rain. Even eminent scientist like C.N.R. Rao has inaugurated festivities to Goddess Chamanudeshwari to bless the State with bountiful rain.

James 5:18, “Then, Elijah prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops”

Martin Lings, a Muslim scholar writes, “In Quraan the ideas of Mercy and water, in particular rain are in a sense inseparable” he compares that to the idea of revelation and the rain, both sent down by all Merciful God and both are spoken of as life giving. He adds that “the divine mercy reaches the uttermost confines of creation.”

In April this year, the Council on American Islamic Relations urged Muslims in Texas mosques to offer special Islamic prayers, called Salatul Istisqa, simply meaning asking God for water. This prayer was offered by Prophet Muhammad during times of drought. Muslims pray 2 units of optional prayers either personally or in congregation, it is in the same format of daily prayers except the supplications for rain.

As a pluralist, I want to assure that this piece is meant to represent all religious traditions even though they are not mentioned. May God bless us with rain now, Amen.

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The weekly column called Texas Faith at Dallas Morning News asks the religiously oriented to write about the issues facing the nation from their faith perspective. I have been blessed to be sharing my take for over a year now. At the morning news, you can read at least ten other takes on the question.

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at and you can find all of his current articles at

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.