Asalamu alaykum! Peace be upon you all! Today I’d like to share a lesson from Surah Yunus (Jonah). In this surah, Allah mentions the story of Musa (Moses) and Haruun (Aaron) and the Pharaoh’s brutal oppression of the Children of Israel. Allah tells us:
“And We inspired Moses and his brother [saying] take dwellings for your people in Egypt, and make your dwellings as places for your worship and establish prayers and give glad tidings to the Believers” (10:87).
Through Musa and Haruun, Allah commands the Children of Israel to create places of worship within their homes and to establish salaat (prayer). In other words, they are commanded to worship privately by setting up secret masjids in their homes where the people can pray in congregation. Keep in mind that they were living in extreme oppression from Pharaoh. Yet! They were expected to pray in jama’ah (congregation)! Imagine that!
From this verse, we learn the importance of salaat and the importance of praying in jama’ah. It’s clear that times of persecution and great difficulty is not an excuse to stop our worship of the Creator. A way must be found! The Children of Israel were told to worship privately.
For those of us living in times of freedom, what is our excuse? What excuse can we give Allah if the time for salaat comes during class? Or during an exam? Or while working? Oftentimes, we are afraid of what others (non-muslims) will think of us for leaving to pray or are afraid of being barred from leaving to pray. Do not be afraid of what your non-Muslim classmates, professor, colleagues, or boss will think of you for going to pray! It is the Shaitan who whispers fears of embarrassment and doubts in your heart.
If the time for salaat comes during class, let your professor know beforehand. Let he/she know that there’ll be times when you must leave class for prayer. They’ll appreciate you telling them. The same goes for employers. Always ask politely if you may go and pray (yes it’s your right to pray but remember your manners!). Let them know that it’ll only take a few minutes. Majority of the time, you’ll find that your classmates, professors, collegues, and employers actually respect your need to pray and your dedication to your salaat.
So do not leave off prayer for fear of ridicule or not being allowed to pray. Everything will be fine inshaAllah! May Allah give us courage and strength! Ameen.