Just wondering if this was really necessary. Please see link and share your take.
We have our own designated places of worship i.e. mosques. We could use open fields if we can’t find a place. This kind of trend will only breed confusion and squabbles. Another day Christians will ask or demand to use a mosque for prayers. This is another eye opener to the challenges we face today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
America (USA and Canada) being what it is one can understand. The type of Islam being propagated in that area is spearheaded by a certain sect of Islam which is highly organized, sophisticated, hides in the shadows and blends some Jewish or Christian messages with Muslim ideas. The very messages that have been at a point of departure for ages are what the sect tries to blend. If you interact with very good Muslims of Ugandan origin who live in that continent you can readily pick their disorientation in Islam. I must say that the same sect has achieved a similar goal in several European countries where they own most of the mosques.
My appeal goes to the Muslim parents in the diaspora to create sometime and pay attention to what kind of Islam their area Imams or schools are teaching their children. Before you know it our children may be brainwashed to belong to another sect while we the parents also belong to another sect. The challenge then is introduced of reconciling our beliefs. The fact remains that some of these differences in beliefs between Muslim sects may be irreconcilable untill judgment day. That is why I don’t waste my time on these differences. What is important is to have your children belong to where you would wish them to belong.
And by the way such incidents are not innocent as they may appear on the the surface. They have an agenda. As already pointed out they may be organized by those claiming to Muslims yet sleepers (non-Muslims) planted to destroy Islam or at least dilute or pollute the Islamic principles. We can not claim that the organizers are misguided Muslims. I want to believe these are people with an agenda …..
The timing of the incident is also suspect. Why lead an unsuspecting group of Muslims to pray from a Cathedral at this point in time when on another part of the globe people are fighting for a holy Mosque. What I try to read from this is simple. The organizers are trying to tell the world that if it is OK for Muslims to pray from a cathedral in Washington, then it is OK for Christians or Jews to pray from Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. They want the holy Mosque to be shared out between the Muslims, Christians and Jews. When you read statements like the custody of the holy Mosques being in the wrong hands, then you know where we are heading to: pollution of Islam, dilution of Islam and eventually to a bottomless pity. That incident is a cause for worry for those with far vision. One who wants to destroy you pretends to accommodate you first.
That is the message I can read from this prayer incident in Washington. I know I have opened a Pandora box. But trying to open up people’s is not crime nor a sin.
If a believer tries to call upon brothers and sisters to purify their Islam and worship ALLAH (SWT) in the true sense of the word “worship”, it would then be wrong to refer to such an individual as not being open minded or being extremist. This just puts you in a western stereotype which I know several disoriented claimants to the Muslim faith admire a lot. Other cadres like Pastors, Rabis call their sheep to their perceived purity on a daily basis and they are never labeled as being closed minded or extremist. Islam is in danger because of people who are planted in its rank and file and proudly identify themselves as Muslims all the time but perform acts that put Islam into disrepute. While other perfom violent acts that put Islam into disrepute others use unpalatable ideas and incorrect theories to discredit Islam. I personally put all them in the same boat. And such people are heavily funded by those opposed to Islam. In my thinking there should be no opposition to any religion. And there should be no opposition to any places of worship. And I am record to have supported the preservation of all places of worship (Bhudists, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian e.t.c) where ever they may be. That position on preservation of the places of worship as you can recall was challenged on this same forum but I stood my ground. I still hold that view. That is what the The Prophet (PBUH) practiced. He did not destroy any place of worship. He also commanded his followers never to do so.
I am not a supporter of those loaded with money who buy other places of worship (such as churches and synagogues) and convert them into mosques or places of prayer for Muslims. It would also make me sad to hear of a rich man who buys a Mosque and converts it into a church or synagogue. Are we short of buildings in the world? Hell noooo. Every day new buildings are constructed in their millions. If we can not build our own mosque we are better of performing prayers in an open place, field or our homes. That is better than igniting simmering tensions. Performing prayers in other people’s designated places of worship should be a no go zone as far as I am concerned.
I think you saw that woman in the link who was demonstrating the Muslims presence in her cathedral. She went ahead to preach about “Jesus” before she was restrained. She was only one in view. But I am sure the incident stirred similar emotions in others. People who support such unpalatable arrangements can only work against Islam. Can you imagine a scenario where Christians go to a Mosque and say or celebrate their “service” or “mass”. I don’t think that situation would pass without an incident of violent proportions. I am sure some Muslims or some youths would mobilize to attack those people. After that they would then be labeled extremists, radicals or fundamentalist or any derogatory term you can think of. Please note in the video no one labeled that lady as extremist. If it had been a Muslim demonstrating the media would “correctly” label that one a Muslim extremist. It is only Islam that teaches that if one sees something wrong (or a sin) he or she should remove it with his or her hand, tongue or hate it with a passion (but hating a sin without removing or curtailing it is considered the weakest of faith). I am not sure what other denominations preach, after all that is not my business. The choice is among the three on how a Muslim would react to provocative situations. A Muslim will choose an option depending on his knowledge, physical strength or position in the Muslim society. Encouraging such unfortunate incidents of crossing to other denominations’ places of worship will only breed confusion and intolerance in long run. I am of the strong opinion that such behavior should not be encouraged by us the Muslims. I wonder whether other places of worship even face the Kaaba in their construction. Of course I am aware of some Muslim sects who think that building Mosques facing the Kaaba should not be the issue (I find those confused arguments but I don’t wish to dwell in that); the issue should instead be erecting a building. Possibly it is such Muslims who will encourage us to perform our prayers in churches and cathedrals.
The pillars on which Islam is built are simple and very clear and familiar to both Muslims and non-Muslims:
1. To testify by your mouth and heart (read mind or soul) the oneness of ALLAH and that MUHAMMAD is his Prophet
2. Establishing regular prayer
4. Paying Zakat
5. Visiting the Kaaba (only for those who are able) at least once.
Observing the above pillars is what should define who a Muslim is. Starting with those pillars and one can then add on the several prescriptions from the Quran and Hadith. What you add on is then what should define one’s level of faith in Islam.
But look at what the other sects (with ideas that pollute Islam) tell us to do:
1. Observe other Prophets (messengers) came and are yet to come after Muhammad (PBUH)
2. Prayer or know prayer does not make a difference and does not matter. As long as you go to the Mosque after your day’s toil in the evening that is enough. In essence they are negating the five daily prayers a day and substituting it with one single prayer in the evening (very much like what other denominations, Jews or Christians do)
3. Fasting or no fasting does not matter; it is not an issue as long as you know your God.
4. The beneficiaries of Zakat are well categorized in Islam, but some sects suggest to their followers to pay the Zakat to only their relatives diluting the essence of Zakat.
5. They have so many theories about the Kaaba even to the extent of suggesting that one should not strive to visit the Kaaba. With such weird suggestions somebody would not be doing anything else except polluting Islam because that is debasing Islam.
Beyond the debasing of Islam from her pillars: these people of such sects claiming to be Muslims go on to suggest the following:
- wearing a Muslim cap or veil is not part of Islam. It is instead something in the Arabic culture. They encourage us to wear the way we like (possibly suits and ties) and the women the way they like. They are not in agreement with any proper way of dressing in Islam
- having a mark on your forehead as a sign of establishing regular prayer to them it is described as the devil’s sign
- no need to separate between sexes during prayer; all that matters is between you and your ALLAH.
For lack of time let me cut short my list. All we can see is a people bent on diluting Islam if not destroying it from our hearts. These people are by the way very, very well educated and form part of the lobbysts in Washington. They are the ones who share with the global political players what Islam should be and what Islam should not be. They very much fall in the category of a people the Prophet (PBUH) described: those people will “follow the Christians every where they go so much that they even follow them up to the smallest niches.’ But even if you please them (the non-Muslims) they will never like you. If you negate all the foundation on which Islam is built is not better for you to be called a Christian or Judaist? But such people will vehemently disagree with you. They will claim to be the perfect Muslims and will even amplify it for every one to hear. Looking at their lifestyle there is nothing Islamic about them from the way they eat to the way they conduct themselves in society. They dress like Christians and want to hide among them. They eat everything including pork, they don’t fast and they don’t establish regular prayer. They go on to claim all the time they are the best among the Muslims. They deserve this, they deserve that. Their theories never end.
Once again my appeal to the brothers and sisters in the diaspora, please take time off to pay attention to the kind of religious knowledge the Imams or Islamic teachers out there are teaching your children. They may be teaching them to become pastors. By the time you wake up it may be too late. The basic or primary knowledge a child gets while the brain is still empty plays a very big role in shaping the child’s personality and level of faith in future. I am not saying that all Imams are a problem. But certainly several Imams or Islamic teachers we find in the developed countries have many issues. I personally do not understand the kind of Islam they teach our children. All I can say is that they teach a form of Islam that is unknown to me. That would not be a problem if they came out in the open and told me what they want to teach our children. Unfortunately, they don’t. I would be happy to know what you believe in and allow to teach that to my child or not. Hiding is just being dishonest. And dishonesty is for the disbelievers not for the properly guided ones.
Sorry for being long winded. Allow me to conclude by saying that we Muslims should live other people’s places of worship alone like the Prophet (PBUH) did during his lifetime. Let them (non-Muslims) to their religion and do not antagonize them. Let the Christians go to their churches and cathedrals. Let the Jews or Judaists go to their Synogogues. And let us Muslims go to our Mosques. Have not even the slightest attraction to other people’s places of worship. Live and let live. Stay away from stirring up confusion. Should places of worship fall to disuse let them become artifacts or Museums of the respective religions. Please don’t take them over.
May THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH have mercy on us.
May ALLAH (SWT) guide us all.
Brother Ibrah, With abundance of salam to you, all in the family, I do not think we need to be strict on the matters of sects as these are not clearly delineated nor desired for being a muslims who are increasing in numbers with the grace of Allah SwT across the globe. What sect should I have chosen when I found the debate in village. I just examined all. Now, I realise the futility of Wahabism and KUFR embedded in the name of call of PURE Tawheed. I find Shia Ismail Imami perfect in obedience. What does it mean to me on a day to day basis. I am regular in salaat, missing the salaat in the luminous hours, appreciating the giving of USHR and Sadaqa. I need to be racing in virtues and obedience in the light of verse 4:59. In the global comity muslimeen recognising all to be the posterity of Adam PBUH and HF, I think ,I need to be just humble in accepting personal deficits in obedience. If we realise this, we would be able to ensure our children receive the best learning and foundations of the standards that a muslim upholds or s/he should be upholding.
We are using Kaaba that was cleaned and therefore, there is no harm if the synagogues and churches are being used for salatul Juma in locations where there is nothing that would provide a place for Wudhu. We also need to recognise the verse where protection of masajids, churches, synagogues, monasteries are assured by Allah SwT. We need to know that Jesus PBUH and Moses PBUH and HF and all are receiving salam of us. More and more people are learning on the value of being a muslim. More and more people are learning the value of righteousness that muslims espouse. I think, till such a time when, masajids are built , use of cathederal as a place where there is much rememberance of Allah SwT is perfect. Many of the churches have been transformed and many churches that were lying defunct have been given to muslims. Muslms have offered Jews place for prayer and so have been the case of Jews. The places where muslims are a micro minority having no masajids of their own need to have space for mandatory Jumaa salaat. At the same time, there are instances, when Synogogues are made open for muslims. Allah SwT is witness to all we do. With best prayers for having more and more inclusive masajids and Jamaatkhanas globally with hopes and prayers for all to have the grace for being on the path of blessed ones.
May be ,I am wrong, but at this stage, we need to be most open and clear without being rigid on matters where there is no clear decree.
Jazaak Allahu Khairan, Br. Ibrah
You have hit the nail on the head in your analysis of the reality faced by Muslims in the Diaspora. I really wish we could all take a moment and think about the concept of “Live and let live”; for if we did, I trust there would be very few conflicts among mankind.
It goes without saying that I fully share your view that holding Salaatul Jum’ah in the Washington National Cathedral (WNC) was not necessary. Those familiar with the city would note that the magnificent Islamic Centre of Washington is less than 10 (ten) minutes away from the WNC. Additionally, there are many small and medium-size prayer areas around DC, including church basements rented out to Muslims for the same purpose (and mostly due to logistical challenges).
I should be the first to acknowledge lack of full background information regarding the exact context in which the Jum’ah in question was held, however, I couldn’t help but notice how small the number of congregators was for the function and venue. In terms of Muslim ethno-racial diversity that I have always known, it was a bit disheartening not to see much of it at the Cathedral Jum’ah. One would understand if we were not talking about DC, but to have a Jum’ah congregation there (in the name of Islam and Muslims) with virtually no black faces around is mindboggling.
A low level of participation could be indicative of lack of local Muslim community leadership buy-in for this type of Jum’ah. On the other hand, this could have been a ‘by-invitation-only’ congregation, which flies in the face of the spirit of Jum’ah as we know it. I have checked out the Cathedral’s website and found a blurb on this first-ever Salaatul Jum’ah in one of DC’s major architectural marvels: http://www.nationalcathedral.org/events/Prayers20141114.shtml). The write-up seems ordinary in approach, but we may need to think about the implications of the last paragraph therein, which you have intuitively spotted and addressed in the 5th paragraph of the response to Br. M. Mukhtar Alam. Based on current indicators, it may not be farfetched to anticipate a request for permission to celebrate an international, interdenominational Sunday mass in Makkah; after all, the argument would go, we have accommodated Salaatul Jum’ah in our cathedrals and similar places of worship in the West and elsewhere. The majority of Muslims would most certainly object to the invitation, but that is exactly the point. Indeed, the objection would be all grist to the mill when it comes to intensifying Muslim bashing, especially Sunni Muslims for that matter.
In conclusion, I recall one brother on this forum who, quite some time back, reminded us not to confuse conformity for uniformity. In our current context, all I can say is that a handshake could be for all, a hug for some, and a kiss for the very special ones. Any time the fine line between is blurred, we are most likely headed for serious confusion, if not trouble outright.
1) Key Masjids and Prayer Areas in Washington, DC:
2) The Islamic Centre – Washington, DC
*** *** ***
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have taken at least one hour trying to follow the discussion by all contributors on this issue, in addition to watching the video. I must say that I have been highly enlightened by the posts from Br. Ibrahim Ssendagire and Br. Yunus Lubega, particularly regarding the existence of a particular sect with a questionable approach to teaching and practicing Islam as well as the general Muslim environment in the United States.
My humble contribution is to put before the readers on this forum, a message from the Qur’an which was revealed to address circumstances similar to what is before us now. I have relied on the Tafsiir of Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb, known as (Fi Zilaalil Qur’an which means In the shade of the Qur’an), and meanings of the Qur’an given by “the noble Qur’an”. First, I begin with a brief background;
When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) started to propagate Islam in Makkah, the Arabs raised all sorts of excuses to reject the new faith (you can refer to the books on seerah). Particularly, when he (SAW) declared his religion to be the religion of Ibrahim (AS), the idol worshipers argued that there was no reason for them to forsake their beliefs and follow Muhammad (SAW), since they too were followers of the same religion.
In the meantime, they sought a sort of compromise with him (SAW), proposing that he should prostrate himself before their deities in return for their prostration to his God, and that he should cease denouncing their deities and their manner of worship in reciprocation for whatever he (SAW) demanded from them. They thought that an agreement was somehow possible to allow the two camps to co-exist in the region and by granting him (SAW) some personal concessions.
To clear up this muddle, to cut all arguments short and to firmly distinguish one form of worship from the other and indeed between one faith and the other, the surah (al- Kafiruun) below was revealed in such a decisive and assertive tone. It was revealed in this manner to demarcate monotheism (tawhid) from polytheism (shirk) and to establish a true criterion allowing no further vain arguments.
I do not think that there is any need for us to face difficulties in understanding the current issue. It is obvious. Someone wants to strike a deal with you (Muslims), in exactly the same way as the idol worshipers sought to enter into agreement with the prophet (SAW) on matters of worship. Allah gave us the answer to all such schemes from the disbelievers. Like our brothers have already observed, if they invite for Jumah prayers in their cathedral today, you may (blindly) think that it is “good” for whatever reasons you may wish to justify your actions, but the day they seek to conduct their “own prayer” in your Masjid, will you think of it as a “good” idea? Please see what Allah has to say:
Say O disbelievers (1) I do not worship what you worship (2) Nor are you worshipers of what I worship (3) Nor will I be a worshiper of what you worship (4) Nor will you be worshipers of what I worship (5) For you is your religion and for me is my religion (5).
Twaha Ahmed Kasule