Sunday, March 11, 2012


God, you are Light.

Let your Light be in the feelings in my heart, in the vision in my eyes, in the hearing in my ears, and in the speech from my tongue.

God, surround me with your Light from the left and from the right, from front and back, from above me and below me.

God, let your Light be in all the particles in my body, in my bones, and in my muscles, let it flow in my blood and penetrate my hair.

God, enlighten my soul with your Light, and increase your Light in me evermore.


Ibn Abbas is quoted in the Book of Bukhari that Bilal told him that once Prophet Muhammad  (pbuh) having prayed during the night fell asleep. When morning came, Bilal woke him for prayer and in his supplication the Prophet spoke thus.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Mosque Should Welcome Everyone Who Wants To Pray

Mosques are places designated for prayer and should welcome everyone who wants to pray irrespective of how they want to worship. Sura 2, Aya 114 says:

And who is more unjust than he who prevents people from the mosques of Allah so that His Name is celebrated there? --whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It is not fitting that such people should themselves enter the mosques except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment

 We should recall that although the Quran repeatedly urges people to pray, it does not specify any particular format for prayer. This is because Allah hears all prayers, irrespective of the manner in which prayers are said, and hence places designated for prayer should welcome all worshippers irrespective of how they pray.
 Individual Muslims follow the rules for prayer prescribed in the madhahib (or schools of thought) of different scholars such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Malik, Imam Jafar Sadiq and others. The followers of each imam pray differently, and at somewhat different times. Furthermore, followers of different Prophets pray still differently. All of them should be made welcome to pray in a mosque, as long as they do not disturb other worshippers.

Of necessity, each mosque is managed by the followers of one school of thought and therefore their method of prayer is the announced mode of worship in that mosque. But, the aya (2:114) quoted above reminds us that we are on the wrong path if we prevent others from using our mosques.

At this time the wisdom taught in this aya is ignored in the majority of mosques around the world. And this indicates the deep distrust among Muslims for their fellow Muslims who follow different interpretations. This intolerance is often manifested in job discrimination, economic disruption, political conflict and sometimes in violence against those who are in minority. This pervasive prejudice is a major factor in the backwardness of Muslim culture  

A fundamental principle of Islam is that every religion based on the worship of God is to be respected, no matter how much one may disagree with their particular practices. A well known illustration of this principle is that when members of the Christian Najran tribe visited the Prophet (pbuh) in his mosque in Madina in the 10th hijri year, the Prophet (pbuh) invited them to perform their prayer service there. This is striking because the purpose of their visit was to argue with the Prophet (pbuh) about their belief in Trinity and Jesus as the son of God.

What does your prayer mean?

Over a period of four Fridays I did an informal polling of people who came to the mosque for prayer. The question I asked everyone was:” What did you say in salaat today, and do you know what it means?” Out of the twenty people I interviewed, twelve had no idea about the meaning of their salaat. Four could say the meaning of parts of Al Fateha but not completely. Two others remembered the meaning of Al Fateha but nothing else. Two people remembered the meaning of at least one sura they had recited in the prayer.
But none could say what the words signify for their life.
How can prayer help us if we don’t even know what we are saying in it?

I think a mosque should make arrangements so people can learn and understand what they say in salaat and why? They should have an opportunity to think about the meaning and its relevance so they can feel connected to the words of prayer.