Prophet’s Hair

Note Dec 10, 2014

One’s relationship with religion can manifest in many forms. Often, religion serves as the gateway to spirituality, allowing the believer to transcend the physical universe through heightened thought and communal thinking.  Spirituality can also be a very personal exercise, so people look inside themselves for inspiration, using their physical senses to go beyond and reflect on the real state of the world. Therefore, given its potential to transcend the physical side of the world, how can religion inspire people to be more materialistic and superficial? The Prophet’s Hair centers around a religious family and the father who stumbles upon the coveted hair of the prophet Muhammad. Although the father originally adhered strictly to the moral guidelines of his religion, he soon becomes obsessed with the hair and so defensive over it that he (unknowingly) murders his entire family to protect it.
It seems that a large reason why this happens is that although religion allows you to transcend the physical senses, one often needs the physical senses in order to go past them. Therefore, having some sort of relic or physical connection with one’s god heightens the sense that there is a metaphysical connection with that higher power. At this point, one’s spirituality becomes less about personal growth and discovery, and more about the gratification of having some sort of connection with one’s deity. Therefore, the danger of the physicality behind religion is that it can strip spirituality of its spontaneity and inspiration, and instead replace it with greed and coveting.