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The Culture of Bowing in Japan and in Jordan

091008 It seems that when the Japanese bow endlessly in front of their houses, it feels strange to people living in Arab countries. That is because for Muslims,  bowing  is only done for Allah to show on’s devotion.

Muslims practice their religion by bowing and praying   toward the Kaaba temple at Mecca in Saudi Arabia five times a day. They go to Mosque on Friday, which is their religious holiday of Islam and pray, even  if they pray regularly in their house . Here in Jordan, weekend consists of two days, from Friday to Saturday including the Muslim holiday.

The timing to pray are 1) dawn, 2) sometime between dawn and  noon, 3) sometime until when the size of their shadow reaches the size of the actual body , 4) sometime between sunset until dusk, 5) dusk.

The praying method is very precise. First of all, they wash their hands and face in prearranged order. Sunnis are required to wash  feet as well. Then they stand upright facing toward the Mecca. Then they  repeatedly say “Allah is great” while moving your open palms to your ears, bowing, kneeling down to the ground and bowing forward until the forehead touches the ground, in veneration. Finally, kneeling and facing down, they pray for blessing of Allah to Muslim and the Prophet. In the end, they will recite their final words, “peace be upon him” while swinging your head from side to side.

Bowing is in fact a very important part of their religious practice  Of course, they also have culture to respect older persons like Japan. However, people do not bow in front of the elderly to show respect It is one of the many moments to feel the  cultural differences.

October 8, 2009 in Iraq |