religious bigots and masjids
On a chilly morning of May 2012, as the thin, frail teenager imam (a stop-gap arrangement) finishes with the fajr in the recently built ‘Masjid-e-Omar, Hanfee’ of our locality (have you ever seen a Masjid dedicated in the Name of Allah…? Masjid-e-Allah = Allah's Masjid) a group of nouvaeu-nimazees suddenly goes berserk. It isn’t many minutes before the masjid turns into kind of fish market. The cacophonic arguments and abuses that a section of nimazees hurl on each other fill the atmosphere. It soon turns into a scuffle. The protesting nimazees blame the Masjid intizamia ‘khadpenchs’, the-front-row-nimazees-without-exception, for making the stop-gap arrangement of their dislike. Quizzical fence-sitters attempt to pry into the raison d’être (of the brawl). Teeny-bopper (imam) seems to have blundered; he’d offered last Juma nimaz in the Ahl-e-Hadith masjid situated across Doodh Ganga in the old mohella.
Religious bigots–greedy for approbation—having known(tidbits) Quran and Sunnah in their literal form, without much insight and understanding the inner meaning, are what dominate our social circles (and the masjids that have proliferated in our cities, towns and villages in geometric progression). As they claim to be the authority (what-so-ever) on religion, intolerance of these fellows isn’t limited to their relations with people of other faiths. They’ll never cease to fight even among themselves as to the ‘real’ Islam. Each of them considers his own sectarian interpretation of Islam to be the sole true one. The upshot; Sunnis, Shias, Ahl-e Hadith, Deobandi, Allahwallays, Wahhabis, Barelvi, Salafi etcetera will never give up fighting among themselves and breaking each others’ heads, each claiming to be right. Trivial differences such as how many ‘nawafil or sunna’ a Muslim must offer during prayer; should knees be touched the ground first or palms; should one raise index finger or not; should ‘Ameen’ be recited loudly or silently; should a male have moustaches and beard and issues similar to them weigh more as per their convictions. Imagine a Hanfee masjid, right next door (about 5 meters apart) of which is the Ahl-e Hadith masjid in one of our posh uptown localities.
The breed of nimazees that attend our masjids is something interesting to watch. The fellows that wear beard & skull cap, 24*7, should normally be treated as pious…. as if they draw inspiration directly from Allah. For they want to be in public eye, many of these enthusiasts love to parade their wares; they get off on it and doll up. These visitors-to-Masjid may go kind of wild-and-weird. Perhaps because they offer prayers five times in the masjid (invariably in the first suff), observe fasts regularly( nawafil too), pay Zakaat and charity, have performed Hajj and numberless Umras, remember ‘n’ number of Quranic aayat/surahs, Hadith, awarad-e-Fatah, dua-e-subah, kibrat-sharief, Darood o azkar, khatmats, and wear outfit of piety, they get to the feeling that they’re licensed to correct you every time you confront them…. like a bat out of a hell they’ll pounce on you with Hadith, sharah and all that. With zero doubts about their being the know-it-all-experts, they’re the kind of credit-grabbers that are out to outsmart everyone. Zealots, as they are, they view the world in melodramatic, black and white, good and evil terms. They’re good and anyone who opposes them is evil. They ‘excommunicate’ him, he who fails to share their interpretations of the Quran/Hadith. They denounce him as an unbeliever for any criticism directed at them.
As if the indices of an Islamic awakening in personal life, increased attention to religious observances, if these chauvinists believe they’ve evolved all this transformation through religious/moral ingenuity and honest toil, let me tell you’d that been the case, then courtesy, decency, politeness, honesty, understanding ‘halal’ and ‘haram’, sin and virtue, care, and sacrifice; tolerance, selflessness, compassion etc won’t be ruthlessly mutilated by these religious bigots. Suchlike people bear grudge not only against living beings, but also against lifeless objects such as a stump or a post. They’d beat or batter a stump when they stumble over it. When they bump against a post, they’d deliberately bump their heads again and again against it. If a thing topples or rolls away or falls down, they’d break or throw it away in a rage.
The cause of vanity is ignorance; the cure for it the knowledge. Gradual deterioration in the moral-spiritual fiber, as a result of extremism in regard to ritualism and legalism, is the reason why people with half-baked knowledge, grow very particular about window dressing piety but least caring about Haqooq-ul-ibaad kind of dealings. For these know-it-all-experts such actions is part of the scheme of their life….commit sins and then seek a wash off. In their frenzy to quote ‘dinyat’ every now and then, you find them always restless. They’re antsy to get into people’s hair. They won’t hesitate tell imam how to perform his imamat, muezzin how to shout azan and nimazees how to read nimaz. Idiosyncrasies of these people divide community into sects (maslaks).
As ‘megaphones’ when they talk your ear off and indulge in high decibel (splitting eardrums) recitation of Awarad o azkar or things heavenly or things earthly or things scriptural; things sacred or things profane it is then the masjids become cause of misery. ‘They built a Masjid out of mischief to promote disbelief and sectarianism among the believers, and as an outpost for those who made war against God and His Messenger before. They’ll swear, “We’d but good intentions”, but God bears witness that they are liars. You’ll not stand in such a Masjid! That Masjid whose foundation was laid from the first day on righteousness, is more worthy that you stand therein. And the Masjids, one and all, belong to God alone.’ The Prophet (saw) was categorically advised by Allah.
Masjids = Mosques = Places of worship = Collective acts of submission = Ways of adoration = Obedience of Divine Commands = Centers of administering the Divine System. Prophet Muhammad (saw) didn’t like Muslims to attend the masjid, which tried to be a source of dividing Muslims into different sects (maslaks).