Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|When the Lights Go Off in the Masjid|
|08/24/00 at 22:11:30|
I didn't write this, I thought it was interesting.
When the Lights go off in the Masjid (Part One)
*Masjid (Arabic word meaning "place of prostration" In this case it refers to an Islamic Center)
Raymond had been studying Islam for months. When he first learned of it, he was unsure. Determined in his search for Truth, however, he diligently studied the Qur'an and Islamic books. Finally, on a crisp autumn day, in front of 30 MSA members, Raymond publicly said the shahada for the first time. "Allahu Akbar (God is Greater)" echoed everywhere from the prayer rugs up to the small dome of the masjid. The love and Iman (faith) swelled in the prayer area until the believers were seemingly outnumbered by angels.
A handful of brothers stayed that evening with Ray until the latest hours of the night discussing salaat (obligatory prayer), Qur'anic recitation, life, marriage, and adab (manners). Then, around 2AM, the lights in the masjid went off, and the people went home.
As Ray went home, his spirit was soaring. He bathed as soon as he got home and made the special night prayer. The next day, there were no activities in the masjid. Ray went to all 5 prayers, but only 3 or 4 brothers were there. The same thing occurred on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As soon as prayer was over, the few people that were there dispersed. Even on Friday, the Muslims greeted each other and said kind words, but that spark, that light was still off in the masjid. Ray had so many questions, but everyone seemed busy and unapproachable.
Ray began to struggle with his prayer. Many people took the time to teach him the movements and even the Arabic pronunciation, but he had no idea what it all meant. He began to see the Muslims getting involved in petty disputes. They argued over the most frivolous things. One person even said to him that if they were all to sit down and discuss the Oneness of Allah, they would still disagree.
Ray's struggling soon turned into depression. Sisters who took off their hijabs as soon as they left the masjid, brothers who only prayed on Fridays, and a community that seemed to only agree on being disunited began to take its toll on Ray's morale.
He felt so alone. He prayed to Allah every night to show him if he was on the straight path. He soon began to question everything. Finally, Ray had enough. He left the masjid one Friday afternoon and vowed never to return again. He never did. For a year or so, he still prayed, fasted, and lived an Islamic lifestyle.
Gradually, however, he grew a longing to belong to some group..any group. He was sick of his isolated little world. He began hanging out with people who drank, smoked, and fornicated on a regular basis.
One day, one of the brothers from the masjid passed Ray on the sidewalk as Ray was on his way to a party. He completely forgot about the party and became overcome with joy. "As-salaaaaaamu 'alaikum!!!"(peace be upon you) Ray shouted as he approached the unsuspecting brother. The brother turned bright red, looked to either side of the street at the passing pedestrians, and replied, "Hi, how are you?" Ray shook his head in disgust.
He never uttered those words of peace again.
When the Lights go off in the Masjid (Part Two)
"Look, it's simple, just say SubhanAllah 33 times, al-hamdulillah 33 times..."
"Wait a minute," said Patricia, interrupting her new friend, Radia, "I need to practice it. Is it alhamdilah."
"Listen ukhti," replied Radia, "Al-hamdu...lilah, Al-hamdulillah."
Patricia was trying so hard to keep up with all
the Arabic terms, "Now what's an oktee?"
"You're not paying attention, sister. Perhaps you need a break," Radia said.
The events of the day had not yet even settled in Patricia's mind. 2 hours ago she was Christian. Now, she was a hijab-wearing, arabic-quoting, masjid-going muslimah. She had to try hard even to remember what all had taken place during what seemed to be the busiest day of her life. She was only 19, so the she had seen many busy days in college...this, however, topped them all.
It was well worth it, though. She pondered about how she had come to the realization that Al-Islam was her path. It made her almost come to tears remembering the beauty of the Qur'an. "Al-hamdu-lillah," she said softly to herself. She spent 3 more hours at the masjid learning salaat and talking with the sisters. It was sisters' night, after all, and Radia was the one who had invited her to come talk with them. Patricia never would have guessed that she'd leave the masjid that night as a muslimah.
Patricia couldn't believe she had been blessed to meet such wonderful people and learn such a wonderful religion all in one night. It almost seemed like a dream. Slowly, however, she started to come out of that dream. What would she tell her mother? How would she explain this? Will it be hard to wear hijab? The more she sat in the masjid, the more questions that arose. It didn't seem like the appropriate time to ask. So, she went home that night without asking any questions. Her hijab went into her book bag until she could get the courage to tell her mother.
The following night, Patricia awoke from a dream terrified. She immediately called Radia and asked for suggestions. "Radia, how should I tell my mother that I'm Muslim."
"Why are you worried about her, ukhti? You should be nice to your mother, but she is kaffir. Just tell her and invite her to Islam. If she says no, leave her alone."
"But I love my mother," Patricia replied as her voice trembled, trying to hold back the tears.
"You should not love kaffir. Who is more important, Allah or your mother?"
"Allah is, of course."
"Then, do what you have to do," Radia said confidently.
The next morning, Patricia told her mother of her acceptance of Islam. Her mother, usually the town talker, was literally speechless. Her mother finally told Patricia that she was free to do whatever she felt was best, but that she did not like her associating with Muslims. Patricia told her mother she should accept Islam for her salvation. Her mother quickly told her no. Patricia became saddened by her mother's rejection.
Later that week, Radia met Patricia in the park for lunch. It was a quiet, breezy day. The somber expression on Patricia's face, however, indicated to Radia that something was bothering her.
"What's wrong, ukhti?" Radia asked.
"My mother wants to remain a kaffir," said Patricia.
"Well, you have done all you can. Forget about her."
"But she's my mother!"
"The Ummah is your mother now. Like I said, respect her, but do not let her influence you."
Radia said sternly.
Patricia nodded, took at bite of her sandwich with her right hand and brought her can of juice up to her lips with her left hand.
"No!!!" screamed Radia, "Only your right hand ukhti."
"Why does everything have to be so complicated with you?" Patricia said in a fit of frustration.
"Ukhti, you must learn to do things exactly as the Qur'an and sunnah has shown you."
Patricia again nodded and then quickly turned to Radia. She thought for a second, wondering if she should question her Muslim sister. Then, she decided she needed answers, so she set down her food and said to Radia, "So, where in the Qur'an and Sunnah does it say I'm supposed to 'forget about' my mother?"
Radia chuckled, "Ukhti, you are new to Islam. You should listen to those who are more learned than you. You are not ready to interpret the things you read."
Later that day, Patricia went to the university bookstore to buy a book for her sociology class. The lines were long, and the bookstore was crowded. She modestly approached the "express line" and quickly found herself sandwiched between a woman she didn't know and a young man who was listening to a walk man. She said, "Excuse me" loud enough to get the young man's attention. He removed his headphones and said,
"Hey, are you Muslim?"
"Yes," she replied.
"What's your name?"
"Patricia. What's yours?"
"Ray," the young man said, "I used to be Muslim."
Patricia frowned at Ray, "Why on earth would you leave this wonderful Deen?"
"Man, so many of these Muslims are hypocrites. Besides, Islam was too hard," said Ray.
"I don't think so," said Patricia, "I've only been Muslim a week, and I can tell you that a lot of the Muslims who give us a hard time are not really practicing Islam. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that He does not wish to place any difficulties upon us. Islam should not be hard. You should study Islam for yourself and not let the actions of other people influence your life. You do not need other people to practice Islam."
Ray couldn't find words to express his feelings. Actually, he was quite unsure what his feelings were. He suddenly realized how far he had strayed from what he knew was right simply because the Muslims around him did not accept him. He realized that he had not done any good nor harm to those people by leaving the masjid never to return.
"You're right," Ray said, "I just don't understand why no one cares what happens when the lights go off in the masjid."
"Allah knows best, brother," said Patricia.
"Yes, He does," Ray said with a smile.
|Re: When the Lights Go Off in the Masjid|
|08/24/00 at 23:35:47|
SubhanAllah, this story is very, VERY deep! It's filled with lessons and heavy stuff. Unfortunately, I wonder how many people will turn these words into action instead of simply reading another article in amazement and going on to the next one.
Several things are clear here. First of all, every Masjid needs to have an established system of dealing with the new Muslims. That means organizing special, regular halaqahs for them, and making the general public aware that they are not to educate these new Muslims with random Islamic ideas, lest they may frustrate these newcomers. Everything should be done in an organized, planned manner, THRU these halaqahs, keeping in mind what the specific new Muslim exactly needs at a particular time.
Secondly, I think the article makes a very interesting point that Islam is most easily and effectively spread to a people by their own brethren. An american will do a much better job in reminding another American than a foreigner will. The language is different (recall slang 101 from the Oasis folder!), the culture is different. Heck, an Egyptian (no offense to egyptians here, just an ex.) may talk with an American thinking he's explaining something to him, whereas the American will think the Egyptian is getting angry at him! Raising of voices is part of many Eastern cultures when *explaining* things earnestly, and in discussions. In America, it's considered bad manners and *rudeness*!
May Allah give us the *hikmah* when doing da'wah work. Many of us have the knowledge, but very few have the wisdom (hikmah), because knowledge is something that can be gained, but hikmah is something that is a blessing from Allah to whomever He chooses to give it.
If you wanna turn this beautiful article into a reality in this country, I would suggest that tomorrow (which happens to be a jumu'ah!) you go and talk to your community president/imam, and push him to organize a halaqah system for the new Muslims (if they already don't have one). Maybe you can give a copy of the article to him to read as well, so he might understand where you're coming from!
|Re: When the Lights Go Off in the Masjid|
|08/25/00 at 00:06:02|
|Br. Arsalan stole the words write out of my mouth: Subhanallah! This is a very touching article. The Muslims are in a sad state these days when it comes to dealing with new Muslims. In my masjid alone, I can recall countless # of people making shahadah but then only are never to be seen again. Br. Arsalan's suggestions are practical; and inshaAllah I will take them to our ameer. This halaqah that the brother speaks of sounds like a great opportunity for the bro/sis to clear up any doubts or questions that they may have. Organization, what many Islamic communities lack, is the key.|
Our da'wah effort in this country needs lots of work. Until we realize, that each and everyone of us is responsible for propagating this Deen in America or anywhere else, we will always be coming up short.
May Allah strengthen the Iman and Da'wah effort of Muslims everywhere.
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