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Keep Calm and Pray On

PRAYON

Yesterday I went for Isha to a Masjid that I don’t frequent much anymore, the reason why I started attending a different center is a long story for another day but I can tell you what happened at Isha.

Salah started same as usual, then about 30 seconds in a kid starts crying for his dad. His crying quickly turned into howling and yelling, this continued all throughout Salah and luckily the Imam decided to read some long Surah’s that day so Salah lasted a good 20 minutes. Now when Salah finally finished is when the fun began, right away of course people were on their feet yelling and shouting at the father of the boy and a mob started to gather around the man, they began to yell obscenities, telling him that he should’ve broken his prayer and walked away, that he shouldn’t come to the masjid if he can’t keep his kid quite along with a number of other unsavory insults. Now as it turns out the man was praying in the first row in the far most corner of the masjid making it impossible for him to make the proposed getaway, and to top it off the brother was using crutches.

Not kidding, he really was disabled.

When everyone realized the predicament he was in, a second mob started to gather in his defense. Shouting obscenities at the other side, saying, “How could you yell at a cripple!”, “Don’t you have any mercy!”, “Where are parents suppose to go if they are not welcome in the masjid!” and so on. Once the yelling reached a climax, the Imam and some elders were able to break it up and dissipate the crowd but the angriest of the mob continued arguing with each other all the way to the door. Long after the father had left the masjid I might add. Once they got outside, yelling lead to cussing which eventually lead to a shoving match. At that point you had a bunch of uncles shoving and slap-boxing each other in the parking lot and it was only a matter of time until one of the sissy fighting uncles mustered up the courage to throw a punch. Luckily the masjid admin was called in time to stop the fight from escalating.

Now through this entire ordeal I stood by and observed the situation trying to figure out what went wrong and started this chain reaction, admittedly I also laughed a little. I wondered, was the parent to blame, was it the mobs fault for yelling and shouting, was it the other mobs fault who came to the defense of the parent, or maybe it was the Imam’s fault for taking so long with Isha. I realized no one party was to blame; the parent first of all should have had more common sense. Parents have every right to bring their children to the Masjid; they should bring them to the Masjid. I have fond memories of my dad and older brother taking me for Salah when I was young and I cherish those memories, it’s important for the development of any young boy or girl. However, when you as a parent know you have a rowdy child and a disability, you should have the common sense to not get trapped in the most isolated corner of the masjid. He should have prayed towards the back where if needed he could easily get away or at the least he should have consoled his son during Salah or at the very least distracted the boy by giving him a cell phone or something. Secondly, yelling and screaming at the man right after prayer accomplished nothing besides making a few uncles feel better. By causing that scene they wiped away any good they did by coming to the masjid, completely destroyed the sanctity of the masjid they were so angrily defending and effectively drove that man and his son away from the masjid. Lastly, if your going to jump in to defend the parent, then shouting, cussing and getting into fights with the opposing mob isn’t a solution. What would have been helpful is to calmly explain everything and deescalate the situation. Instead, they dropped down to the level of their opponents and turned a verbal argument into a physical fight.

It boils down to this much; this situation could’ve been avoided with a little bit of patience and common sense. I think that’s really at the core of the issue. So take head from this cautionary tale and in the future, keep calm and pray on.

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