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Salam Alaikum Namaste! This concept that we find in eastern countries is surely that we as Muslims can benefit from. It basically means that "i bow to the divine in you". This is such a beautiful concept and way of thinking. The philosophy is based on the concept that God is everywhere and all-encompassing, which includes the inside of all creatures. So when one greets this way, one addresses the divine within all of us. God exists in all of us, which some refer to as the super-self. It is this immortal part of ours that existed before we were born, and will keep existing after we die. It is the eternal aspect of us. This painting shows how one can see Godhead in all creatures, with mini krsnas being a symbol for this divine. The holy book of the Vedas is called the Bhagavad Gita, and there are lots of parallels in it with the Quran, Bible and other holy books. The verse relating to this is: BG 5.18: The truly learned, with the eyes of divine knowledge, see with equal vision a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater. more .. The idea is that this kind of mentality and spiritual connectedness not only makes us respect all creatures, but it also makes us not arrogant. It goes hand-in-hand with Quranic verse such as: And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. 2:115 The idea is also that one sees God everywhere and always keeps the connection ( aka sala in Arabic). Ayas or signs are not just verses of one holy book, but signs can be seen everywhere. A dog can be a sign, or a cat, or a person too. Also, it keeps us in check and avoids us from looking down at other creatures. One should not view everyone and everything around us as differently ranked, and especially not as inferior to ourselves. From an Islamic point of view a cockroach might be more pure and close to Allah than us. The reason being that perhaps the cockroach will live and die serving Allah, while we could end up in hell for being hypocrites, or rejectors of truths. We may not take our own status for granted, nor anyone else' that we come across. Therefore, it makes sense to see everything and everyone around us as equal, and as manifestations of Allah's being. Allah is everywhere and nowhere at the same time ( Al-Zahir, Al-Batin ), and when greeting or looking upon creatures, the most respectful way is certainly to address their highest reality. Namaste - or bowing to the divine in people and dogs around us - is surely a great way of maintaining humbleness and peace within our souls. It avoids grudges as well. Namaste is in tune with Quran verses such as: و لا تستوي الحسنة و لا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي أحسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel by that which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity as though he was a devoted friend. 41:34 or the Hadith as follows: To bear enmity towards the people is the worst provision for the journey to the Hereafter. -MUSNAD AL IMAM REZA (A.S.), VOL1, P 292 It also reminds us that everything and everyone who was created, was created by Allah, and that in itself brings great respect to each creature. Anyway, i love the bowing to all creatures part, and i myself make nods with my head each time i greet humans at least, and i will start doing the same with animals too in sha Allah, and trees and every creature. In respect for the divine within them. It will increase the chances of bringing the best out of them . Namaste!
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