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Throw away a piece of paper with a prayer written on it?

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:09 am
by jakeyryrutu
I have got lots of pieces of paper on which prayers are written.

I wrote them in order to memorize prayers, but now I need to get rid of them.

Once, I've been told it wasn't respectul to just throw them, and that you had to burn them.

But it is very difficult in my place to completely burn anything, so what do you thing I should do?

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:51 pm
by Jonah
Hi, Can

I'm wondering if the person who told you not to "just throw them away" was from a Muslim background? I know that Muslim traditions require that written copies of Sacred Text have to be disposed of properly, especially by burning, and not just thrown away. However, there is no such requirement in the Baha'i Faith. As the saying goes, "the map is not the territory." I.e., we shouldn't confuse a simulacrum of the Sacred Text (the paper on which it's written) with the Teachings themselves, and paper or old damaged books can be discarded without worry.

I suppose you could always do something symbolic and of your own choosing, to better respect the prayers. Like, instead of tossing the paper in the trash, you could rip it into tiny pieces first and throw that away, so it's not like you're discarding an actual prayer. Or you could soak the paper in water until it dissolves, "from dust to dust" returning to its source, so to speak.


Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:28 am
by jakeyryrutu
Thanks for your suggestions Jonah, I'll thing I'll do as you say.

The person who told me that was actually my mother, which is from a Baha'i Persian background. In fact she told me it was better to do so, but she didn't said it was a sacred rule or something.

But I remember clearly one of my aunts taking back a prayer from the trash, after having thrown it, and saying "Oh, what I did was so stupid!", and she then burnt it. You can imagine that it has marked me alot.

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:27 pm
by Dorumerosaer
I was raised Catholic, and in the church where I grew up there was a special sink, to be used for disposing of various sacred liquids such as old holy water. This sink was not connected to the sewer system, but went directly to the ground.

I recall reading, but do not have a copy, a statement of the House of Justice that such documents as you ask about can be disposed of as the individual sees fit. Myself I would tend to use a shredder, then discard the shredded paper in the trash.