Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh Ummah, please stop fighting over trivial matters

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Say: "If the whole of Mankind and Jinns
were to gather together
to produce the like of this Quran,
they could not produce the like thereof,
even if they backed up each other
with help and support."
(Bani Israil 17:88)

RECENTLY I attended several ‘Maulidur Rasul tazkirah’ (talks or lessons in conjunction with Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) birthday. Some interesting points raised by speakers caught my attention and I would like to share them with readers.

One ‘ustaz’ (a religious teacher) said it’s no point to get involved in ‘Maulidur Rasul’ processions but ignored and going against Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) teaching. He said among those who were jubilant when the Prophet’s was born was Abu Lahab, but 40 years later when Prophet Muhammad revealed that he was the Messenger of God, this uncle of the Prophet started war against him.

He said when Abu Lahab heard news that a baby boy was born to Aminah who was his brother’s (Abdullah) wife, he was full of joy that he circled the Ka’abah seven times (tawaf) and proudly paraded in the holy city.

But when Muhammad (pbuh) was made a prophet, Abu Lahab dan his wife, work continuously to make it hard for the Prophet; in the Qur’an, there is ‘Surah al-Tabat’ mentioning about Abu Lahab and his wife horrible fate in the Hereafter.

In another function in a masjid near the writer’s home, a preacher, Dr Rozey Baba, said its high time Muslim ceased fighting over trivial matters but concentrated their efforts to raise the living conditions of Muslims; whether regarding faith or daily life.

He said year after year Muslims held celebrations such as ‘berzanji’ (reciting the life story of the Prophet) and held talks in masaajid (plural of masjid), but the condition of the ‘ummah’ was getting from bad to worse.

“What’s the point in fighting over trivial matters in ‘solat’ (prayer) such as how high to raise the hands during ‘takbiratul ihram’ (reciting al-laa-hu ak-bar – Allah is the Greatest) and where to put one’s hands while praying; whether under the navel, on the left side of the stomach or just leave the hands straight,” he said.

Recently some Muslims were subjected to dispute between those who prefer saying ‘dhikir’ (remembrance of Allah) and supplication of the ‘du’a’ in mass after prayers and those who were against it saying it was ‘bid’ah (things that was not done by Prophet Muhammad pbuh).

In his talk, Dr Rozey said, Muslims should avoid such trivial matters; there are many things to do to upgrade the status of ‘ummah’. “Look around you,” he said, “the faces you see are always the same, why are young men not around in masaajid?”

He then lambasted certain masjid officials, saying they were only interested in getting positions; a few secretaries only keen in heaping huge amount of money derived from public donations, in bank accounts.

“There’s no point in piling up those money. It should be used to finance masjid’s programme for various groups of society; i.e. for the veteran, middle age group, women, youth, boys and girls,” he said.

“Masjid officials should think on how to improve society, if not they should step down,” said Dr Rozey. “And please don’t talk about trivial matters that could undermine society.”

In Islam, differences in opinion on trivial matters should be dealt with open hearts. For example it is a common knowledge, that the majority of masaajid in Perlis, hold ‘solat subuh’ (dawn payer) without saying ‘du’a qunut’.

While I was in Meulaboh, West Aceh, a few years back, I noticed the people there said their ‘subuh prayers’ without the ‘du’a qunut’.

And in Masjidil Haram in Mecca and Masjid Nabi in Medina too, during ‘subuh’ (dawn) prayer, the iman does not recite the ‘du’a qunut’ but gives ample time for congregators to say a short du’a – al-laa-hum-magh fir-liii yaa gha-furr – (O Allah, the most Forgiving, forgive me for my sins).

I received this e-mail from a friend, AHMAD KHAI in Kuwait; telling about his experience mingling among the local during prayer times.

“I have learnt quite a bit about the practicality of Islam as a way of life since I started working and living in the Gulf. It is also where I have actually seen the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) being literally practiced as a way of life. Not that I was not aware of it previously at home but being here actually is for me like being lunged into the manifestation of what Islam is all about.

A simple illustration – it doesn’t normally rain here in the Arabian Gulf region. So when it does rain, it is a big thing such that what would be otherwise routine will now have to be configured to take into account the occurrence of the rain, and its consequences thereto.

Rain fall here in the Gulf normally occurs when there is a change in the season – somewhat a precursor of the incoming season. When autumn was about to transform into winter recently, it incidentally occurred when we were celebrating the Eid Al Adha. I remembered that it was a Friday when we celebrated the recent Eid Al Adha. The Eid morning prayers were held about 15 minutes after Shurq (sunrise). By the time I had completed the Solat Eid, it began to drizzle.

Clouds had begun to gather by the time it came for the Solat Jum'ah. This being a Friday, a fatwa by Sheikh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) from the Grand Masjidil Haram of Makkah says that it is legislated for Muslims if the Eid coincides with Friday; they are to perform the Eid solat and the Jum'ah solat in the masaajid where the Jum'ah solat is (normally) held. And it is also permissible for one who had attended the Eid solat to leave off the Jum'ah and instead perform the Zuhr prayer.

And so it happened that we did eventually perform the Jum'ah solat and whilst the khutbah was being delivered, the rain outside began to increase.

Immediately after the Imam had given his salam to mark the conclusion of the Jum'ah solat, he got up and walked towards the window to size up the rain fall outside. He then returned to his original position, announcing somewhat nonchalantly that he will now lead the Asr prayers, which will now be performed collectively (jama') with the just concluded Jum'ah prayers.

I thought to myself then, this was cool! I had only been used to performing the jama' wal qasr prayers when travelling but suddenly realized that herein lies what Islam is all about – and the verse from the Holy Al Qur’an comes to mind, with the meaning: "Allah wants to make things easy (facilitate) for you, and Allah does not want to cause difficulties for you."

I had already personally experienced the jama' prayers almost a year earlier but at that point in time I had thought that what was going on then seemed to be an exception rather than the rule.

As I gradually began to understand how things are done here insofar as mu'amalah is concerned, I soon began to understand the real meaning of the ayah (verse) as described above. On first impression, one could be forgiven for thinking that the locals were just prone to take the easy way out but one gradually realizes the significance of adopting the practice described above – a manifestation that Islam is a way of life that takes into account the welfare of its subjects, the Muslims.

I wondered then if such an approach would have been practical back home, notably when rain in the monsoon season is a matter of course. Would the folks balk at the thought of the Imam making such a seemingly brash decision?”

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