The Book Upon The Altar

Discussion in 'Poetry and Words of Wisdom' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Kareem had only been a Mason for a few years. He had joined the fraternity while he served the Military in Korea. He was made a Mason in a military lodge that was properly recognized by a regular Grand Jurisdiction. He had just moved to the Midwest because he had been hired at a networking specialist for a university in the region. The friendly atmosphere of the Midwest was a nice change from the hostile inner-city streets where he had spent his childhood and he was glad that the change of scenery would benefit his young children.

    One of the first things he intended to do in his new city of residence was find a Masonic lodge to attend. So he gathered his dues card, brushed up on his modes of recognition, and grabbed his Koran to visit a lodge after work. You see, Kareem was a Muslim and wished to have his book of faith open on the altar, with the lodge's permission, of course. It had been normal in his military lodge to see multiple Volumes of Sacred Law at the center of the lodge and he assumed that this lodge would be no different.

    Kareem arrived at the lodge and walked in the front door. The Brethren noticed him immediately and asked what they could do for him. He explained that he was there to visit and told them about his Masonic history. The Brethren were quick to tell him how they had accepted PHA as regular a long time ago, but Kareem explained to them that he was not a PHA Mason. They didn't seem to understand and continued to talk about how they had come to recognize that group of Masons. They were quite proud of their tolerance. They examined him in usual form and found him to be worthy of entering lodge. While Kareem adorned his apron, he asked the Senior Deacon of the lodge if they would mind placing the Koran on the altar alongside the Bible. Suddenly, the lodge's friendly atmosphere changed.

    The Master of lodge didn't know if the request could be granted by the statutes adopted by the jurisdiction. The secretary informed him that Grand Lodge by-laws did allow any Volume of Sacred Law to be placed on the altar. However, two of the most vocal Past Masters in the lodge spoke up in opposition to the idea.

    "I just don't understand the reason for it, is the Bible not good enough for him?" said one.

    "Would his people open the Bible for us?" said the other.

    The Brethren seemed to be evenly split, half were perfectly fine with placing the Koran upon the altar, but the other half decided that it was certainly not Christian and probably un-Masonic. Kareem felt bad because he hadn't realized the trouble that his request would cause.

    Feeling like a trouble maker, Kareem quickly apologized for his request and informed the lodge that he would be satisfied with the Bible alone on the altar. The Master thanked him for his willingness to avoid such a controversial subject, in which the Master did not want to get involved. Kareem sat down in the north part of the lodge, alone, and enjoyed the meeting. When the time came for education, one of the Past Masters who were against the Koran sitting upon the altar got up to speak. He proceeded to teach the lodge why the Bible sits upon the altar and no other book. Then he turned towards Kareem.

    "And obviously you understand that the Bible is the greatest book since you came to the decision to not have your book upon the altar," he said with a smug smile.

    "Actually, if I may address that comment, Worshipful Master" Kareem looked towards the Master, who gave him a nod. "The reason I decided to not place my book upon the altar, was to preserve the harmony of the lodge. I am proud of my faith and find it meaningful to have my book of faith on the altar. However, while in lodge I am a Mason and not a Muslim, we are all Brothers who are seeking the same thing. We may have different paths, but our goals are the same. If the presence of the Koran deprives me of the Brotherhood I share with my fellow Mason, I would prefer its absence."

    The lodge fell silent, the Past Master giving the education lecture seemed to be struggling to find something to say. Suddenly, the other Past Master who had opposed the presence of the Koran spoke up.

    "My Brother, earlier this evening I had boasted about this jurisdiction's willingness to accept Prince Hall Masonry and I guess I thought we were pretty great for doing that. But it appears that perhaps prejudices of skin color pale in comparison to prejudices of faith."

    He walked across the lodge to Kareem and asked him for the Koran. Kareem handed it to him and he placed it upon the altar, resting the square and compasses upon it. Then he returned to where Kareem was seated and sat next to him.

    The Master, realizing the significance of the events which had just taken place announced, "I don't think I have ever learned so much during a lodge meeting." He rapped his gavel and proceeded to close the lodge.

    Kareem did return to the lodge and became a contributing member and he was allowed to do so with his book upon the altar.
     
  2. appzdude

    appzdude Registered User

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    What an awesome illumination!
     
  3. Every man has his right of beleif i have read the quean in english language and by god i stand by it as it is a glorious true book of wisdom knowledge detail of history present and future and a chalenge to mankind by god himself a book of guidence in this life preparing for our death that will come to every being every breath we take is closer to our death yet we are arrogant to remember our grave and our punishment after this life as the quran gives man the greatest teaching of death snd after what we will experience as a soul of deeds an eye opener for all is it too late for some yet they rejected his signs as they the jew and christian

    What is amazing is prophet abraham submitted to his creator and bowed to him in the same way muslims today bow to him yet why dont the jew and christian follow the tradition of abraham misrs and jesus .did jesus as an isralite yet they too are cousins of arabs did jesus eat pork and did he teach christians to eat it they rejected jesus learn knowledge its the greatest gift to know god know yourself
     
  4. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    The Book upon the Altar represents the Sacred texts within our hearts. Exercise any behavior that conflicts with what you profess this Book to be and your Library is surely empty.
     
  5. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    This was an excellent article, Bro Bowden.....It speaks volumes about the value of knowledge; knowledge of self, and also the fulfillment that comes with investigating that which we have little or no knowledge of. I think that is the greatest value of this website; any Mason who is recognized within a regular and duly constituted Lodge/Grand Lodge may join in on the exchange of ideas. Although I am a proud Baptist Family Man, I have read and studied the Quran in college courses I took over 20 years ago. There are some parallels to Christianity in that it teaches Man to be submissive to GOD. There are some other views with which I do not agree, such as their recognition of Jesus as only a prophet, along with a few other issues, but I would definitely welcome a Brother and his Quran in my Lodge, in order to preserve the Harmony we all cherish as Masons. Freemasons struggled during the establishment of the modern version of this Order to preserve the rights of Man to be a FREE thinker, and free himself from the veil of the Papal Governmental Rule which was the order of the day in some areas of Europe. The principles that some in our Country take for granted, such as the Free Exchange of Academic Ideals (Math and Science), 1st Amendment Right of Free Speech, Democratic Rule, and separation of Church and State were etched in stone by our Brother Masons as predominant values on which these great United States were founded. These were simply mirrored values already being practiced in their Lodges. Thanks again.........Bro Jones
     
  6. sands67

    sands67 Premium Member

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    A fantastic post. This should be required reading for all new brothers.
     
  7. promason

    promason Registered User

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    Spiritual muslim mystics and esoterists teach and remind that Koran has an interior spiritual meaning,completely different of the galvauded by extremists "apparent sense" and that interior is a manifestation,with others and among others,of the divine book which lies in every human and every other creature and that divine book lies in Bible,Thorah and every spirituality and that book is love of God and of creation,what wicked islamic extremists want to deprive the populations they terrorise from
     
  8. promason

    promason Registered User

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    An accomplish spiritual muslim mystic will tell everyone that an accomplished muslim,who understands the spiritual real face and essence of religion,will be an accomplished Christian and an accomplished Jew and can be an accomplished son of Solomon,an accomplished mason
     
  9. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    To be a Muslim, one must deny that Christ is God. One must deny the Son and the Holy Spirit. There have been groups within the very broad tent of Christianity that have done these things, but they are far from the main current of Christianity. I am far more comfortable acknowledging real, substantial differences and meeting a Muslim as a brother despite those differences than trying to pretend there is no difference.
     
  10. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    ... and, regrettably, a considerable number of those not so new to the order.
     
  11. promason

    promason Registered User

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    Behind official islamic dogma,lies and,through absolute secrecy,survives through centuries,a more spiritual,more esoterical,and more mystical way of searching and discovering divine.One of the most eminent and illustrious representants of that spiritual theophany is the Aga Khan,spiritual guide of ismaili esoterical way,and,before him,martyrised mystic Hallaj,who,basing on spiritual verses and esoterical teachings given by prophet Muhammad to a spiritually elevated circle,proclaimed union with the divine and the divine essence and charachter of prophets and confirmed that through Jesus God manifested,what caused him to be crucified by "official" scholars,but his oecumenic teachings survived and continue to be secretely passed in spiritual ways,from generation to generations,until now,and culminated with Bahai faith and similar spiritual and esoterical ways.In esoterical islamic initiations,central symbols are the stick of Moses,the Seal of Solomon,and the Beauty of Joseph,but it of course impossible to develop them outside initiated circles due to intolerant atmosphere which,since centuries now,rules in muslim world and tries to ban every spiritual and gnostical approach or version of religion
     
  12. promason

    promason Registered User

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    A good reference,regarding that matter,can be found in mystical Diwan of Hallaj and The Wisdom of Prophets,of mystical master Ibn Arabi,who reminded quranic verses which say that Solomon Kingdom and divine Wisdom and power,including upon spirits,were unique and developed a deep interpretation and gnosis of Solomon divine knowledge and mystical power,as soon as I can I,if allowed,will post some of those definitely masonic texts
     
  13. promason

    promason Registered User

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    In esoterical islamic writings and initiatic teachings,wisdom and esoterical solomonic symbols,powers,developed in quranic chapter Saba or Sheba and ostracised by obscurantist muslim scholars since centuries,teachings are an ultimate,or more,the ultime way of intellectual and spiritual accomplishment,and esoterist muslim initiatic schools always stressed that Solomon was,and remains forever,the fundamentally divine spiritual father and way to God of every accomplished initiate
     
  14. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son, a member of the Trinity, eternally begotten of the Father, 100% fully God in a way that none of us are or ever can be God. God did not "manifest through" Jesus. Jesus is God. That is what I believe. Islam is not Christianity, Christianity is not Islam. They cannot be united into a single dogma without exterminating the fundamental doctrines of one or both of these two faiths.
     
  15. sands67

    sands67 Premium Member

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    I think the light as perscribed by the article in question is being lost in a debate of Christianity and Islam. Someone please tell me if I am wrong, but the article appears to say that on the floor of the lodge your religious background does not matter for all Masons are brothers. That is very much paraphrased, but the meaning is clear. At least in my mine.
     
  16. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    I would agree that individual faiths should not interfere. However, it does not mean we are expected to pretend that individual faiths have no differences. What is better, to sweep everything under the rug or to meet honestly?
     
  17. sands67

    sands67 Premium Member

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    Bryan...it is most certainly not about sweeping anything under the rug, but quite the opposite. To put those feelings aside while in open lodge so as to not disturb the peace and harmony of the lodge and to gather further light into Freemasonary. That, in my opinion, is what makes Freemasonary unique and treasured. To gather brethren from all backgrounds and religions where we meet in open lodge and put aside our differences for the betterment of Freemasonary. We are all level on the square whether you are rich, poor, Christian, Muslim and everything in between when you aspire the the principles of Freemsaonary.
     
  18. Raymond Walters

    Raymond Walters Premium Member

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    W Br. Bowden,

    Thank you so much for sharing & posting this paper. I have posted this link on other PHA group pages I AM member of because I feel there will be others who enjoy reading it as well.
     
  19. Cigarzan

    Cigarzan Premium Member

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    I heard the same story except it was a Christian white guy trying to get a lodge of Moslem guys to open the Bible on the altar.
     
  20. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Given that Islam recognizes the Bible, except that it considers it "incomplete" and "erroneously altered", such a "reverse" scenario would be highly improbable.
     

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