Monday, July 19, 2010

Please Stay and Pray

Have you ever been sitting in a class at the masjid scheduled around the prayer time? Like, it lasts until asr, or until maghrib, for example? It tends to happen a lot, I think, since the call to prayer necessitates a break in the class and makes for a good stopping point. More importantly, it gives you the advantage to pray that salah, at least, in the masjid. That is, if you don't have a habit of performing prayers in the masjid, it gives you a reason to do so.

In my time as a Muslim, I've learned that it's not appropriate to leave the masjid after the adhan is called unless you have prayed with the congregation. Why? Here's why:

Abu Hurairah (R.A.) said, "The prophet (S.A.W.) ordered us, when we are in the Masjid and the Salah is called for, not to leave the Masjid until we pray." [Ahmad]

See? And when I took the Fiqh of Salah class from AlMaghrib I learned that you should pray that salah with the congregation even if you've already prayed it! (For example, if you're travelling, or if you follow a different opinion for asr.)

But I have at times been sitting in a class or halaqah which lasts until a prayer time--at which point nearly everyone gets up to leave. I'm not sure if I think it's bad timing or bad etiquette--I'm sure that they don't know about this hadith, or else they might be inclined to stay. After a few years, I've learned to adjust my schedule to the prayer times, and absent any extenuating circumstances, will stay for the congregational prayer if I am there for the adhan.

But what's the best way to tell people, when they are getting up to leave, if they figure that the class is over and they need to get home. Will a few more minutes (20-30 max) make that much of a difference, at 9:00pm? Do many people just not know about this hadith and etiquette? I wonder, and also wonder the best way to share it. Thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not officially Muslim (yet), but in the Presbyterian Church, we are called to "give at the level of our commitment." Usually, this is in reference to the basket that is passed for the monetary offering. I think, however, in our everyday choices, these words are more a statement about a person's personal commitment to their relationship with God/Allah (swt).

When we give at the level of our commitment, we demonstrate our devotion with something more than lip service, we demonstrate it with actions that don't shortchange our visit to our place of worship, that don't shortchange our time with God.

It's understandable that parents may have to get children to bed early for school the next day, or prepare clothes for work. There are many reasons to leave, but people should be aware that being right there for classes, and then having this opportunity to pray together with others, it's very special, very powerful -- because all opportunities are gifts. This is a a personal gift from God/Allah (swt), an invitation to sit down and be together, and they shouldn't miss out unless they truly cannot stay.

Staying for prayer is not really about a breech of etiquette, not about what anyone else will think. It's between you and God/Allah (swt). What are you going to do with the gift of this opportunity? For each person, the pressures are different, and God is most merciful, most understanding and knows what is in our hearts, what will hurt more than help or what we can fit in. Just tell them this is their gift, and to pray at the level of their commitment.