ASALATU WITHOUT AS-SOLAAH (Episode 1) BY
SANNI KAY. YUSUF
Not more than half a decade ago, we visited a sheikh to thrash out some worrying issues, including the weekly asalatu of his society which he pilots as missioner. Sincerely, the sheikh is versed, just like his colleagues schooled in one of the Saudi Arabian varsities. It was even gladly said of him that he surpassed his peers by graduating in flying colours. Back then, the Arabs knew him as a guru.
“My dear brothers, we shouldn’t sweat over this matter. Congregating for asalatu is bid’ah (innovation). I knew it. I will soon leave it.” The sheikh confessed leaving our mouths unleashed in surprise. So I soliloquized: “If he knew this, why would he do it and call people to it?” Unfortunately, the game has not been relinquished even after five years of confession. Yet his followers would not know that their leader had conceded the truth behind bars. Hmm!
As-Solaatu ‘alan-Nabiyy is a significant aspect of our religion, Islam. Whoever talks ill of it has apparently discredited Allah’s commandment in the Qur’an. As-Solaah unto the Prophet is so fundamental that the daily salawaat are incomplete without chanting it on tashahhudul akheer. As-Solaatu ‘alan-Nabiyy is so salient that solaatul janaazah (prayer unto the dead) cannot journey an inch into the heavens without it being chanted after the second takbeer. As-Solaah unto the Messenger is unavoidably crucial that chanting it is the best act of worship on the day of Jumu’ah, even though recitation of Suraatul Kahf is weighty, too.
With the above in mind, no adherent Muslim would run his mouth against showering of blessings on the holy Prophet. But the worries are:
1. Is it asalatu gathering that is required of us or As-Solaatu ‘alan-Nabiyy?
2. Is it the way it is done now that it was done in the days of the Salaf – the Sohaabah?
For many Muslims today, Sunday is a day of white garment, even for women whose most recommended colour, sunnatically speaking, is black; however, cladding in other colours isn’t bad, provided such an attire isn’t conspicuous. Everyone is donned in white as if there is a Quranic stipulation or Hadeeth that lauds such an act.
The harbingers, starters or originators of asalatu obviously had good intentions, no doubt. May Allah overlook their shortcomings and grant them Jannah. Aameeeen! But good intentions without Mutaaba’ah (adherence to the practice of the Prophet and his companions) is a struggle in futility. If it wasn’t appropriate then, it can never be proper now. No one can better understand Oso’s mother than Oso himself.
Anyone with a little knowledge of the Qur’an; can sing melodiously; can narrate tails mesmerically, and is opportune to be a mosque administrator, is automatically a potential missioner of an asalatu prayer group. This is why you hardly walk down a street on a Sunday without the possibility of noisemaking emanating from different mosques. Pathetically, some have even gone a step father by renting or acquiring canopies at the frontage of their houses to do the weekly singing and folktales.
The polarisation of Muslims with asalatu assemblies has led to incalculable eid grounds led by quacks as chief imams. A yearly eid that is supposed to be done in unison has been overridden by the ugly advent of the so-called prayer groups. Everyone wants to pray in the name of his group, rather than behind the imam of the community. Very disheartening!
The asalatu anathema is not even limited to the day. The increasing rise of special tahaajud – in the midnight, of course – further compounds the mess. Like Christians, neighbourhoods are suffered with unwanted noise when serenity is expected 100%. People are made to sleep in their houses like prisoners. Attendees are asked to appear with different stuffs, such as: water, handkerchiefs etc. What for? Chai! Our mamas and babas don enter one chance!
Many people have attended asalatu for decades without knowing what As-Solaatu ‘alan-Nabiyy is. They have been committed to asalatu for years without the ability to recite Solaatul Ibraahimyyah. They have spent all their lives in asalatu without being able to properly observe solaah (some don’t even know how to make corrections when something goes wrong on solaah – sujuudus-sahwee). They’ve had a donkey-year servitude to their asalatu without increase in their spirituality. Their hijab level, for instance, has known no change. It is scarf all the way.
Please be on the lookout for the next episode.