By the grace of Allah,I try to offer all my Fard Salaat [or namaz] in congregation, in a mosque. I do not deny that, sometimes I wish that, if I had the liberty to skip going to the mosque, may be I would have taken that opportunity. But I am convinced that, it is a great obligation on all Muslim males – and the obligation ranges between Wajib and Fard. Stricter scholars of Islam hold that, the difference between Wajib and Fard is only of a linguistic nature. However, my usual day to day feeling about the affairs in the mosque is very sad. During the Fajr, the strength of the congregation is about one and a half row, while during Maghrib, it is about 4 rows. The local mosque I go to, may accommodate at least about 15 rows in the ground floor, I believe, and about the same numbers in the 1st floor.
Couple of years ago, on the onset of Ramadan, I went to our local mosque for, Isha and Tarawi. Being new to the locality, that was my first Ramadan here. I discovered that, the mosque was full and I had to get a place at the Veranda, in an odd position near the stairs. It was obvious that, the “yearly devotees” out-numbered and out-smarted the daily ones. I felt happy in one way, because of the fact that, the crowd which had flocked to the mosque must have been one comprising of the believers – who believed in reward from Allah. I felt sad at the same time realizing the failures of the “daily devotees” – like us – to reach out to the huge numbers of the “yearly devotees”. Particularly, I was ashamed that, I could not reach out to make them understand that, if they prayed Tarawi in congregation for the whole of the month of Ramadan – still it would not compensate, if they missed out just one of the five daily prayers once. Like many other things in our surroundings, here also, our priority has become “inverted” – that what is of less importance, has got more importance.
Likewise, in our vicinity every year there is a “Gorur Haat” [cattle market], just before the Eid-ul-Adha. When I walk past the “Haat” on my way to the mosque for one of the five daily prayers, I see hundreds of individuals – “buyers” and “sellers” alike – are just hanging around, apparently to materialize “the trade”. I would always like to think that, may be they would offer their Salaat on their own. But during Fajr and Maghrib, I can not avoid understanding: “No, they wouldn’t”! I feel sad again thinking that, most of these people are possibly believers – particularly the buyers must have come here to buy an animal to sacrifice it to please their Lord [though I do admit that, there may be some SHOW-OFF involved in the “trade” of some of the buyers] – but, how the priority got inverted: if a person buys all the animals available in the market and sacrifice in the name of Allah, still he can not compensate missing just one out of the five daily Fard Salaat [i.e. namaz] once.
In order to remind my fellow Muslims about our priorities, I would insha’Allah present a series of writings on this matter. I say again “to remind” and not to “teach”. By reminding others I do get reminded at the same time.
We were discussing about the “inverted priorities”. If we take some time off to think about our priorities and try to contemplate on the reasons behind our “inverted priorities” it would go back to things like our lack of knowledge and/or reflection. Why do we give priority to our “Tarawi” prayer which is sunnah and do not give proper attention to the Fard prayers? When you see people fighting for a good place in the Eid congregation, you would wonder where all these individuals were during the Fajar prayer of the Eid day, early in the morning? Isn’t it also a clear example of “inverted priorities”?? Scholars of Islam agree that, all the “wrong doings” can be traced back to “lack of knowledge” as the root cause. In Islam, priority wise, gaining essential knowledge (of course religious knowledge) comes even before Iman. Because, if you don’t know what are you going to have Iman on, it can be useless.
My bother was killed in the BDR incident. So, on the 27th February, I went for the Janaza which was to be held in the Army HQ mosque after Salaatul ‘Asr. To my surprise possibly more than half of the people were just wandering and hanging around while we prayed ‘Asr inside the mosque. So, you see, so many top brasses of our defense forces, so many leaders of our political parties and so many distinguished citizens possibly did not know that, Salaatul Janaza is “Fard Kifaya” – meaning if a portion of the society prays, others are absolved of the sin of not doing it. While the ‘Asr Salaat is “Fard Ayn” : individually obligatory for every Muslim – no one can do it for others – exceptions are insane people, senseless people and [unintentionally] sleeping people (these are only valid excuses of not offering Fard Salaat for a Muslim male). Unless they just went to fulfill some protocol, having no feeling at all or no faith at all – they got their priorities “inverted”.
When we were growing up, our parents religiously sent us to “hujurs” to learn reading and reciting the Holy Qur’an and also to learn the basics of our religion. But neither our parents nor the “hujurs” really knew what the basics of our religion were. They taught some formulae and rituals without even telling us the purpose of life or creation. And who were/are the “hujurs”? They were/are from the worst portion/strata of the society with respect to intellect, knowledge and up bringing. Here also our priority got/gets inverted. If you believe that: there is a God, there is something after death, the Jannah and the Fire are true, the Qur’an is true, Allah’s promises and warnings are true and so on – how can you send the worst of your society to become “hujurs”? You should have sent your best of the bests to become religious scholars [‘Alim] and teachers so that, they teach the most important things in the best possible way. Going farther back it is possible then that, we Muslim never understood the purpose of our life from an Islamic perspective and that is why our priorities keep getting inverted. We will insha’Allah discuss about that next!
-by sheikh Enamul Haque
Filed under: ইসলামী প্রবন্ধ