Its been a while since I last visited, so it was refreshing to hear the multiple calls to prayer from masjid speakers across the country breaking the constant drone of blaring horns and bustling trade. The masaajid themselves were beautiful, colossal buildings and accessible at almost every street corner, even in the jungles of busy marketplaces.
The country still preserved the Islamic practice of Friday starting the weekend, with most businesses and schools closed nationally. With the masjid being so embedded into popular society, it was surprising to see that the prayers were sparsely attended and in the cities, even the Friday holiday was not enough to ensure full attendance – in fact, it seemed that despite the accessibility to purpose-build prayer facilities and routine structure of the adhaan, there was a lazy complacency to worship, relegating punctual commitment to the rare “molvi” in the community.
This made me worry. The whole nation slows while the Mu’azzin repeats Hayya’alas-ṣalāh, (come to the prayer) and they acknowledge that their fundamental purpose as emphasised in the Quran is
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)
Yet, the overriding narrative seemed to be that it is enough to have good intentions and wholly rely on Allah being Merciful and forgiving us. This lax attitude didn’t seem to be consistently applied to bosses, families or peer groups.
Furthermore, the attitude towards those who prayed was that they were an interference to getting jobs, marriages and ceremonies completed with a cursory mention of doing a qadha (delayed) prayer later.
Rather than ranting about this, I wanted to ask myself how I could take care not to fall into complacency which I think comes down to:
- Appreciating what we have. Even in this country, prayer facilities can be found in malls and at airports. Many even have custom made wudhu facilities. We need to value this, use it and promote their usage.
- Fight procrastination through planning, good company and habit-building.
- Work to build a schedule around prayers and take time to zone into the prayer rather than diving in and back out again into other matters.
-By Usmaan Pervaiz