The Obligation to Meet and Greet:
It Is Tough Being a Muslim!
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It —
And which One Does Not?)
It is tough being a Muslim. And not just for the usual reasons. Like, for example, because so many people want to kill so many of them.
Or because so many want to plunder their wealth and waste and squander it or give it away to their Colonial Masters.
Or because so many others want to steal their land and settle and occupy it as so many others settled North and South America and Australia.
Or because decisions in some very high places are made constantly to keep Muslim Masses under royal, military or some other kind of dominance, tutelage or dictatorship.
To keep them in bondage and to keep them from being free.
To keep them ignorant and uneducated and backward and underdeveloped.
And to keep them from coming together and joining forces and uniting on the basis of their obvious and abundant common bonds and shared interests, including their common faith.
Or even because a whole army of pretenders has sprung up around them, costumed up in all kinds of Tribalwear and calling themselves with all kinds of fancy titles such as Mowlanas, Mullahs, Imams, Khojahs and the rest.
And wanting to own a slice of their soul, the way priests from other religions might have wanted to do.
But life is tough being a Muslim for a very different and much simpler reason:
Life is tough being a Muslim because of this Universal Obligation that Islam has imposed on all male Muslims to meet and greet their fellow-Muslims five times a day, no less.
During five-times-a-day congregational prayers, which Muslim males must perform outside their homes in some kind of a mosque or Masjid.
God Almighty himself calls it Kitaaban Mowqootaa!
Meaning, paraphrasing these two divine words in a big broad sense:
Absolutely mandatory at the stroke of the hour.
In real life, this is how it is supposed to work:
No matter where you are on God’s earth, get out and meet and greet your fellow Muslims – fellows from the same neighborhood if you will.
Whether that neighborhood was in an ancient ghetto in India, Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria or Somalia.
Or whether it is in a new “posh” locality in America, England or Denmark.
And a special place was set aside in the community to enable Muslims to do precisely that. And that place was called Masjid.
A Masjid is a place where Muslim men must go and first meet and greet their God — with their heads pressed to the ground. In a state of Sujood.
And then, when they are done, these Muslim men then must meet and greet their fellow-Muslim males from the neighborhood.
All them Muslims lined up on their right. And all them others lined up on their left.
The Jama’at. That is what it is called.
The group; the community; fellas whose residences are located at some negotiable proximity to your own domicile, whether in a village or a city or a wilderness or a valley or the top of a hill.
Muslims call this “Praying” in the mosque. This Five-Times-a-Day gathering of all neighborhood Muslim Males in a common and public meeting place.
Getting out of the comfort and routine of your own home to dash off to the Mosque to do the Ritual Praying.
And by praying they mean “Salaah.” And of course it is all about “Praying” and “Salaah.”
And it is obligatory. Five times a day, no less.
Most “Good Muslims” observe this so-called “Ritual” meticulously. That is right. In the English-Speaking West — part of the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah — they call it a “Ritual.” Because that is what their Christian and Jewish mentors taught the English-speaking Muslims.
And English-Speaking Muslims are quite loyal and faithful to their Jewish and Christian mentors and masters.
So, to them, it is a “ritual” these Good Muslims perform Five-Times-a-Day, in a mosque (Masjid): a neighborhood structure they set up — or their parents and forefathers did — right around the corner from their houses and domiciles when they first moved into the locality.
But many if not most shoot through these “Rituals” like a bullet shooting through a sheet of drywall. They dive in and out of the Mosque or Masjid with as much speed as they can muster.
Very few ever take the time, or show the inclination, to meet and greet their fellow-Muslim males. Few seem to realize that this Salaah that they refer to as “Ritual” is actually a social obligation?
And it is a Community Event.
I myself have trouble coming to grips with the enormity of the Social Aspect or Dimension of this Obligatory “Ritual” of Five-Times-a-Day Congregational Prayers in a Mosque – in a Public Place that is.
I keep thinking of all the times I went to a mosque to “pray” but did precious little to meet and greet my fellow-Muslims in the mosque.
But the more I think about this aspect of Islam, so simple and yet so profoundly hidden from the eyes of so many of us, I wonder what kind of Deen this Islam is.
Surely, this Deen was not, it could not have been, designed by a human hand.