June 14, 2003

O Muslims, Where Do You Disappear?



The population of Muslims in Canada is growing
at a rapid pace. According to the last census, the number of people who identify
themselves as Muslims has more than doubled in the ten years from 1991 to 2001.
There are now at least 579,640 Muslims in Canada out of which about 300,000 are
in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The fact that the GTA has such a large number
of Muslims was apparent on Eid-ul-Fitr last year. I prayed the Eid prayer at a
convention centre in the GTA (which was only one of the many places in the GTA
where Eid prayers were being held). The large number of Muslims who had come to
the same place to pray was apparent from the fact that there was a two-kilometer
long line of parked cars on the main road, the parking lot for the convention
centre was full and the side streets were filled with parked cars (there are
usually no parked cars on that main road and hardly any on the side streets). It
was a spiritually enriching experience to pray with so many other Muslim
brothers and sisters. However, seeing so many Muslims having come to pray also
got me thinking as to how the mosques are relatively so empty in normal days,
especially at Fajr time. Sometimes, in the masjid closest to my house, there are
only 4 or 5 brothers praying Fajr in congregation. This thought was rather
distressing since praying the five daily prayers in congregation is as important
for the Muslim brothers as praying the Eid Prayers.


The following sayings of the Last Prophet (SA)
give us an indication of the rewards that we are missing out on by not attending
congregational prayers as much as we can:


Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “The prayer offered in
congregation is twenty five times more superior (in reward) to the prayer
offered alone in one’s house or in a business center, because if one performs
ablution and does it perfectly, and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole
intention of praying, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque,
Allah upgrades him a degree in reward and (forgives) crosses out one sin till he
enters the mosque. When he enters the mosque he is considered in prayer as long
as he is waiting for the prayer and the angels keep on asking for Allah’s
forgiveness for him and they keep on saying: ‘O Allah! Be Merciful to him, O
Allah! Forgive him?, as long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and
does not pass wind.? (Sahih Bukhari)


The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)
is reported to have said: ?He who observed the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation, it
was as if he prayed up to the midnight, and he who prayed the morning prayer in
congregation, it was as if he prayed the whole night.? (Sahih Muslim)


So, the following is a reminder to myself and to
all Muslim brothers and sisters. Let us not miss out on all the rewards that we
can attain without much hardship. Let us not make our beautiful religion into a
part time affair by only praying twice a year or once a week. Let us visit the
mosques as much as we can and not only twice a year or once a week (if we can do
better). Let us not be negligent of ?salah? which is one of the pillars of our
faith. Let us not prefer activities such as watching television which will not
really benefit us at the end over praying and over praying in congregation which
will benefit us greatly. During the call to prayers, we hear the words ?come to
success?, so let us ?come to success? by visiting the mosques as regularly as we

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