Do You Worship Allāh (Ta Aala) or Do you Worship the Musjid?

Do You Worship Allāh (Ta Aala) or Do you Worship the Musjid? 1600 1067 Shaykh Faheem

All extremist responses can be sent to –

  The last time I checked, the God of Islām is known is Allāh (SWT) and even though there are more than 99 other attributes by which He is known by, “Musjid” is definitely not one of them, yet some minorities are behaving as if worshipping Allāh (SWT) is impracticable unless it is in the Musjid? And in some cases, the manner in which these false notions are perpetuated, makes me wonder whether people are worshipping the Musjid, or worshipping Allāh (SWT)?

This succinct article is not for the quidnuncs out there, but has been composed to appeal to our ‘God-given’ intellect as a call to come to ‘reason’. Furthermore, it must be stated at the onset that no Muslim –particularly this writer-, wants to see the Musjids closed or the congregation suspended, but given the circumstances, the erudite from amongst us understand the dynamics of the situation and have understood the basic reasoning in the verdicts of the scholars for the temporary closure of the mosques.

   Given, that the situation is unprecedented in our era, and has therefore presented a major challenge in every sector of industry as well as religious thought, it does not mean that Muslims should begin behaving like ‘online gangsters’ and ‘hooligans’ who ‘demand’ people to follow their subsidiary-related views in a manner that is unbefitting of the prophetic character. Yet, the very same people are ‘fighting’ for the Musjid to be opened are telling the people that if we do not have access to the Musjid, how then will be propagate the teachings of the Messenger k?

Well, a good idea may just be to actually refer to the historical record with view to drawing the inferences from the life of the Messenger k prior to engaging in ‘fatwah wars’ which further promotes dissent in the Ummah?

Retrospectively, I am yet to see a verdict from the extremist minorities calling the Saudi Wahhābī’s as ‘hypocrites and disbelievers’ as a result of the suspension of Ramadān Umrah as well as the closure of the Harams for periods of time?

   How sad it is, that in a ‘life-threatening’ situation -the likes of which the Covid19 epidemic has presented us with-, that Muslims are becoming the laughingstocks of the 21st century, from both inter and intra-related discussions as a consequence of unnecessary argumentation, at a time when the collective power of the Ummah is suppose to rise to the occasion and be ‘the’ example!

   How is it that a religion which contributed to the field of education by establishing the very first degree-awarding university in Fez, Morocco has reached such a state of academic and spiritual inertia?

   How is it that a religion which contributed to the field of science by introducing the world to the modern scientific method by the likes of Ibn Al-Haytham has reached such a deplorable state of intellectual stagnation?

   How is it that a religion which contributed to fields of mathematics and algorithms from the likes of Al-Khawārizmī, be unable to compute simple problems?

   How is it that a religion which created the means of spectacles or glasses to world, cannot see the difference between the need to attend the musjid Musjid when weighed against the value of human life?

   How? How?! These are merely some of the questions which I find myself lamenting upon after witnessing the comments, views, articles, expositions and general discussions from Muslims today.

   Some minorities are behaving in a manner unbecoming of an intellectual people, and are labelling others as hypocrites or even out of the fold of the religion itself just because they share a view in opposition to theirs? Madness! This extremism is causing further confusion and stagnation and as a corollary of this ‘cat and mouse’ game which the puppeteers they fail to realise is contributing to the confusion of the masses and stands in contradiction to one of the primary objectives (maqāsid) of Sharī’ah, viz. ‘to create ease’.

   Instead, these argumentations are stirring up emotions and causing Muslim homes to become split with divisive views of an extremist nature and consequently leading the Ummah into a quagmire of utter disrepute in the process.

Where was the Musjid in the Entire Meccan Period of the Sīrah?

   For 13 years of his da’wah, the Prophet Muhammad k did not establish a single musjid in the city of Mecca, and this is a fact for which anyone who has ever visited the holy lands will convey, that whilst on ziyārah tours, we are taken to a famous mosque called Musjid Al-Qubā. It is here that the tour guide will proudly inform the visitors that it is the ‘first’ Musjid of Islām, which was established after the Prophet Muhammad k was commanded by God Almighty to leave Mecca and migrate to the city of Medīnah due to the intent of the Meccans to assassinate him.

   For those 13 years in Mecca, why wasn’t a Musjid established by the Prophet k? The simple reason is because the ‘situation’ did not allow for it, as the Quraysh were the dominant force and the religion of their pagan ancestors was the dominant religion during that time! If we are to follow the wayward path of the incogitant few in society, they will have you believe that those who have suspended prayer in the Masājid in order to abide by the lockdown regulations are merely ‘scared’ and are lacking ‘faith’.

   Well, if that is the case, then are they also saying –Allāh forbid- , that the Messenger k too was afraid and therefore did not establish a Musjid? No sane Muslim would ever think such putrid thoughts! All Muslims agree that everything from the blessed life of the Prophet Muhammad k is to be ‘considered’ as a means to develop strategic lessons, and thus, Allāh Y exhibited to us via His Messenger k that the situation must be ‘considered’ or else the Ummah will be placed in grave peril.

With this knowledge in mind, let us place the current dilemma of the ongoing debacle regarding the suspension of congregational prayer in the mosques, with view to an inquisition of whether or not its re-opening to the public is beneficial or detrimental to the well-being of Muslims?

 Why did the Global Muslim Populace Agree to Close Mosques to the Public?

Now, I am certain that the reasons are ‘elementary’ enough for even primary school students to explain, but for all intent and purpose, let us revisit the situation. The Covid19 virus is one which has caused thousands of deaths worldwide and the rate of infection seems to be on the rise in most regions. Consequently, governments decided to initiate a global lockdown in hope of quelling the curve of its growth as the virus depended on the movements and interaction of people in order to spread. The lockdown was a logically inevitable decision which has already heralded positive results, and the statistical curvature is in evidence of that decline.

Now, remember, that the Qur’ān was also sent to induce thinking (12:2), and that many people would be regretful of their inability to exercise reason (67:10) and are therefore experiencing punishment. Logically, if a virus of this nature is spreading due to human interaction, then the best possible means of survival is to ‘limit’ human interaction, hence the lockdown!

Now, it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that the Musjid is a place of ‘congregation’ and therefore stands to become a possible ‘hub’ for the spread of the disease because Covid19 does not differentiate between religions and will spread wherever and however it can.

The Musjid is a place where Muslims are;

  • ‘shoulder to shoulder’,
  •  and who are prostrating on the carpets,
  • and shaking hands,
  • utilizing communal towels,
  • gargling in the ablution facility, etc.

And considering all of the above, it sparked debate amongst scholars as it was definitely a means of great concern for the ‘well-being’ of the Muslims who frequented the mosque! In the end, the lockdown was initiated and as per the presidential decree, the mosques are to remain closed until such a time that the virus is under control.

What most of the extremists who oppose this view have not understood, is that Salāh is ongoing in majority of the masājid by the Imām and Muazzhin, and the ‘closure’ is mainly to the general public and not a complete closure of the Musjid itself!

Furthermore, the current situation of the lockdown does not impede on our ability to worship Allāh Y at all, whilst still allowing us the opportunity to help quell the spread of the virus. Anyone who claims that Muslims cannot ‘fulfill’ their religious obligations without a functioning mosque, is indeed uneducated on the basic religious obligations of a Muslim.

Alhamdu Lillāh, whilst the 5 daily prayers are even more meritorious in congregation at the Musjid, its recitation in ‘congregation’ at home is not less virtuous at all. We should be grateful that we are living in a country which is not oppressing us Muslims, as other regions in the world are undergoing grave oppression.

Furthermore, hypothetically, if the musjids are reopened and –Allāh forbid- if the virus is traced as having been spread from a single mosque to any non-Muslim local, then I fear that it will give rise to a host of bigots and Islāmophobes out there who are awaiting like vultures to a carcass ready to attack Islām and Muslims in any way they can. If that happens as a corollary of its spread from the Mosque, then those involved will have to take responsibility for acting in contradistinction to the objectives of the sharī’ah by causing more difficulty to Muslims than creating ease!

All of this brings us back to the original question…Do you worship Allāh (SWT), or do you worship the Musjid? If the former is the answer, then you will realize that regardless of this temporary situation, the permanence of worshipping Allāh (SWT) is not impeded upon and is easily achievable, even during lockdown!

Those who worship the Musjid, and who believe that it is a pre-condition for being a Muslim, without which Muslims cannot function, then that wayward ideology need to be reminded that in the end, Allāh (SWT) does not reside in a Musjid, and even when the two sacred sanctuaries of Mecca and Medīnah are temporarily suspended, and the third, forgotten haram is also closed, He is All-Seeing, All-Hearing and ever aware in His infinite Wisdom of our deeds!

May Allāh (SWT) guide us all during these testing times and may we be able to lockdown all avenues of shaytaan’s entry into our hearts and minds!