I have never been afraid of the refresh button of my browser as much as I did yesterday when innocent children were being killed in a school in Peshawar because every refresh increased the count of dead.
None of them were my children but it felt like all of them were. God bless them.
Recently, the Governor of an Indonesian province ordered government servants to offer prayers together so as to discourage them from cheating on spouses. This caused a ruckus amongst commenters online. Does prayer (salat) really save one from doing misdeeds?
Quran says so: 29:45 - ... and hold the contact prayer; for the contact prayer prohibits evil and vice ...
Would prayers really help in the case when people are ordered to pray? Let's examine.
We used to have a neighbour who was very religious. He was part of a religious outfit called Tableeghi Jamaat. He used to gather people to take them along to mosque for prayers and religious sermons. He had 2 sign-of-prayers (mehraab) on his forehead. And he was a drug smuggler. But I agree. Individual acts cannot be termed as applicable to the whole population.
Religious seminaries in Pakistan, called Medressah, are nortorious for phsyical and to some extreme, sexual abuse of children. Now these are men of the scripture, they eat and drink religious sermons. They pray together too. So why did prayers not stop them for committing such atrocities against children?
You might argue that there might be black sheep amongst the people and they portray a bad reputation of Medressahs, which is not actually the case. I agree. Honestly I do.
A group of religious scholars comes up with an Islamic financial instrument based scheme and swindle out people to the tune of 5-6 billion PKR. Now this is not the case of ordinary people becoming teachers in Medressah and doing their misdeeds. They are religious scholars who actually guide people to do good deeds. And they pray too.
You might argue again that criminals in the garb of religious scholars do not constitute as such. They are criminals and need to be treated as such. Even a non-religious person could have done that as well. I agree to this too. I swear by God I do.
We have Taliban in our country who claim to be the purest, and really really purest of us all. They pray and they kill. They slaughter in the name of God. There are some really badass Taliban in our midst even though they perform ablution. They pray too. They even prey on prayer goers in mosques.
Do you see the point of stating these examples? That anyone can do any of the misdeeds whether you pray or not pray. Apparently, that does not have an effect. Is Prayer the answer or is there something about the prayer itself?
107:4 - Ah, woe to the praying ones!
107:5 - Those who know not what their prayer is meant to be
107:6 - They only want to be seen and praised.
So what is a person doing when he is actually praying but only to show off? He has not God on his mind... but his wordly desires.
45:23 - Have you ever noted him who makes his desires his god? Consequently, God lets him go astray despite his knowledge, seals up his hearing and his heart, and places a veil on his sight ...
Take a look around, you see loads and loads of people thronging mosques for prayers. You see more and more people in religiouis attire. Beards are common. There are dedicated religious channels. Ramazan feels like the whole universe is fasting. But deep down, something is amiss. There is moral degradation. Women, children and minorities are not safe - my apologies, let me rephrase - 'No one is safe'. Purity of the heart is missing and till that time, no matter how many times you pray or the Governor of a particular province of Indonesia wishes, nothing is going to change. Yes the prayer will help, just as stated in Quran at the start of this blog, but only for those who wish to be saved from misdeeds.