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The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
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  Seeing God everywhere—the sanctity of nature Back to the List of Slideshows
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Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in “The Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of the Environmental Crisis,” explores the significance of religious rituals in establishing cosmic harmony—an idea that is alien to the modernist mind:
This idea is meaningless in the context of modern thought, where ritual seems to have no relation or correspondence with the nature of physical reality…how could rites establish cosmic harmony?  From the modern scientific point of view such an assertion seems to make no sense at all.  But it is not nonsense; it is a very subtle truth that has to be brought out and emphasized.  From both the spiritual and the religious perspective, the physical world is related to God by levels of reality which transcend the physical world itself and which constitute the various stages of the cosmic hierarchy.  It is impossible to have harmony in nature, or harmony of man with nature without this vertical harmony with the higher states of being.  Once nature is conceived as being purely material, even if we accept that it was created by God conceived as a clockmaker, this cosmic relationship can no longer even be conceived much less be realized.  Once we cut nature off from the immediate principles of nature—which are the psychic and spiritual or angelic levels of reality—then nature has already lost its balance as far as our relation to it is concerned.…

Rituals, from the point of view of religion, are God-made.…  According to all traditional religions, rituals descend from Heaven.  A ritual is an enactment or rather re-enactment here on earth of a divine prototype.

Now, these rites, by virtue of their re-enactment on earth, link the earth with the higher levels of reality.  A rite always links us with the vertical axis of existence, and by virtue of that, links us also with the principles of nature.…From a metaphysical point of view a ritual always re-establishes balance with the cosmic order.

In the deepest mystical sense, nature is hungry for our prayers, in the sense that we are like a window of the house of nature through which the light and air of the spiritual world penetrate into the natural world.  Once that window becomes opaque, the house of nature becomes dark.  That is exactly what we are experiencing today.  Once we have shut our hearts to God, darkness spreads over the whole of the world.
A woman performing her rites in a sacred space between household and the natural world
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