A few days ago I went out with my sister and friends for eftar at this place in Riyad. After we broke our fast we took turns to pray on this mat on the abandoned top floor of the restaurant. I waited for a couple of guys to finish, then took my sandals off and stepped onto the mat. Then a young girl appeared and asked me where the bathroom was for wudu (ablutions). I recognized her as one of a couple sitting at the table next to ours, and taking in her heavy makeup, perfume and shiny hair, I wondered at her bravery for wanting to wash her face. Usually, if you’re going out and know you’ll have to pray at some point, it makes sense to go prepared. And there’s no point of going out for eftar without praying maghrib. Anyway, the bathroom on that floor was dark and didn’t look like it worked, so I told her there should be one on the floor below us, at which point she disappeared. I forgot all about her and took my time and finished my prayers, then went back downstairs again, only to find the girl back in her seat, makeup and hair in place. She was right in front of me and jumped guiltily when she saw me, and looked down at her plate in embarrassment. I ignored her and went to my table and sat down, laughing to myself at this girl’s ignorance of who it was she should be embarrassed of. Obviously not me, cuz I couldn’t care less who she was and whether she prayed or fasted or even bathed or not.
However, I wondered about the fact that there are still people these days who don’t pray. I mean, I know a lot of kids don’t, but I don’t really understand why. And it’s so lame and primitive, not praying, like, inta lisa min zaman alnas ma bisalo? I mean, really, why don’t they pray? Is it because they don’t believe in God? How is that even possible? I always wondered about people who don’t believe God exists. Especially people who are in a field even remotely related to science, and especially medicine. I mean, how could you see how intricately every tiny being in this humongous universe is built and designed and functioned, and believe that all that was created by some freak accident? How could you study about gas exchange in the lungs and neurotransmitters in the brain and how the scents that you smell trigger memories that are in themselves electricity and chemicals stirred together, and how a child is conceived and put together cell by cell to form a heart and a brain and a spine, then a whole human being, and delivered to the world to walk and talk and poop, and believe that there could be no One behind that? How could you know that 80% of all beings are water, but you still end up having cucumbers and tomatoes and caterpillars and sunflowers, all grown from the same water pouring down from the sky and sprout from the same dirt in the ground, but all so different, and believe this is all just coincidence? How can you not believe in God after everything you see around you day in day out? If you don’t then there’s just something wrong with you.
Or don’t you pray because you believe in God, but don’t think you need to do anything about that belief? I’ve met and heard of dozens of people who explain that their belief in God and their worship for him is purely spiritual, and that they don’t need to actually do anything about that belief, and it’s between them and God. Its people like these that truly test my faith sometimes, because they explain with utmost ease and certainty and confidence that faith and worship should be simple spiritual, and that God doesn’t need us to go through routine bowing and bending motions to prove anything. One person actually went so far as to tell me that actually, the whole Islamic nation has had it wrong for years, that there’s really no such thing as praying and fasting and such, and that somewhere along the way all this was a misinterpretation of what God and the Prophet (SAWS) actually said. Really? I mean, really?? These people can go on for hours and its actually a waste of time bring their attention to things like the 5 pillars of Islam, and convincing that, actually, without ALL FIVE of these pillars, there's kind of no point of your Islam at all. And one of those pillars is praying 5 times a day ON TIME. Newsflash ya 7abba: قال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) "أول ما يحاسب عليه العبد يوم القيامة الصلاة فإن صلحت صلح سائر عمله وإن فسدت فسد سائر عمله" رواه الترمذي والنسائي
Bala spirituality ma3ak bala bi6eekh 3alek Allah.
I guess most kids don’t pray simply because they’re too lazy to, or don’t realize how dangerous not praying is, or because it’s just not cool cuz none of their idols with their pants down to their knees do it. But who ever said that not praying or wearing hijab or reading quran and seera lessens any bit of what cool you have? You don’t have to grow a beard and wear short pants you know, you can still rock your Converse and even those ridiculous pants and headgear but still step into a mosque when it’s time to pray. And hijab is way more cooler than it used to be, it’s not about walking around in a shapeless sack anymore. There are loads of cool young Muslims who are like a breath of fresh air, like Ahmed Alshigeiri, Mustafa Davis and Leila Aboulela. Just look at regular people like you and me: bloggers, writers, photographers, film makers, graphic designers, fashion designers, etc. I used to think it’s the family’s fault for not raising them right, and many times it is. But kids reach their teenage years and start doing things their own way no matter how right their parents teach them, so we can’t always blame them. The biggest problem is who they make friends with at this point, cuz they’re the ones who’ll drag them down or pull them up. And how someone could hear just one aya describing Hell and all its horrors, or 3athab alqabr with its crushing darkness and terror, and still have the nerve to simply ignore such a huge and yet easy thing like praying, is just beyond me.
To be honest, I think Muslims who ‘believe’ in God but don’t pray for whatever reason or excuse, are shallow and ignorant, for want of a better word. It’s not about the praying routine itself, it’s about doing what you’re told and trying your best to make yourself a better person with the ultimate goal of rida Alla SWT. Yes, you give to the poor and you don’t lie. But why? Just because? Or because that’s the ‘right’ thing to do? Doing good things for the sake of God gives your work a third dimension, makes it more meaningful, because you’re doing this out of faith, knowing that you’ll get more blessings than you can imagine just for intending to do good. Or when you work really hard in your job or studies, because part of being a good Muslim is to seek education and put as much effort as possible into whatever it is you do.
Anyway, I’m probably not doing the best job of encouraging people to pray and wear hijab and stuff. What I want to say is that people who don’t pray are lame. Bas. Shape up, people, this isn't a joke. And its never too late to start, but it's also never too early. God is really nice, but His wrath is also something you don't even want to know about.