Today, on yawm ul jummah, alhamdulillah & subhanallah, Masjid An Noor opened its doors to the believers. The esteemed Maulana Saleem Dhorat was the specially invited guest and I assume that he delivered the bayan (talk prior to jummah salaat) and the khutbah (Friday sermon). The adhan was scheduled for 12:50p.m. and the khutbah for 1:00p.m.
My Lord, Allah the Majestic and Sublime and owner of many many attributes, the One God, commands in Al Qur’an, Chapter 62, Ayah 11:
O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.
There are some who ascribe to the notion or belief that it is not incumbent on women to attend the Jummah salaat – perhaps remembrance of Allah can be interpreted to mean other than performance of an obligatory salaat.
Ibn Kathir’s tafseer says that it means:
“(then hasten to the remembrance of Allah) means that you have to hasten to the prayer with your heart and actions, and walk to it.”
Today, the males in my family, ie BH, NoS and Youngest were attending jummah at Masjid An Noor. I returned home from work, made the ablutions, and joined them in the vehicle to the Masjid. They exited, I collected a Sister, and together we parked in a side street, and walked along the side path towards the frosted glassed door which bore the words ‘Sisters’ Prayer Entrance’. The bayan was already in session. Our path and entryway were well removed from the presence of any brothers whatsoever. We entered and traversed past a single toilet room and two wudhu seats, removed our shoes at the entrance to the beautifully painted, tiled and carpeted room. I prayed for Allah swt to Open to me the doors of His Mercy:
“Oh Allah, open the doors of mercy.” (Mishkat)
“Let one of you pray two units of prayer when s/he enters a mosque before sitting down!” (Bukhari, Salat, 60).
These 2 rakaats, which I grew up terming as Daakhil masjid, and which I have learnt is Tahiyatul Masjid are not obligatory.
Large overhead ceiling fans, long narrow frosted windows, patterned tile, soothing colours, all lent to the serenity of that space. The only sound to breech that space was the whirring of the fans. Not a sound unsettled the otherwise hushed and tranquil space.
My mobile which acts many times as a timepiece for me, was left in the car so I relied on Sister to say when the 12:50 arrived. Exited the reserved prayer area, and walked to the end of the paved kerb outside of that prayer area, to the point where the open beautifully square-tiled courtyard was bordered by the exterior wall of the Sisters area, a white (picket) fence with two swing gates, and the arches of the entrance (I think) to the Brothers’ area. Pause at that point. A brother clad in grey gestured to us to (my interpretation) move to the other side – he may or may not have spoken. I said to him that we could not hear in the Sisters’ area so we would not be able to follow the salaat. Interspersed with salaams:
Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to do seven things: to visit the sick, to follow the funeral (of a dead believer), to invoke the Mercy of Allah upon one who sneezes (i.e., by saying to him: Yarhamuk- Allah), to support the weak, to help the oppressed, to promote the greeting of ‘As-Salamu ‘Alaikum’, and to help those who swear to do something to keep their oaths. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
He moved away and closed the gates nearest to where we stood (about halfway down the fenced area). i spread my prayer mat (a gift from the daughter of my now deceased Maulana friend from her Hajj and hitherto unused) on the kerb and sat. Heard the Adhaan which fills your mind and your chest.
The Messenger of ALLAH [peace and blessings be upon him] said, “When you hear the adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says.” [Imam Malik – Muwatta]
Narrated by Yahya “Some of my companions told me that Hisham had said”, “When the Mu’adhdhin said, “Haiya alas-salah (come for the prayer).” Muawiya said, “La hawla wala quwata illa billah” and added, “We heard your Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying the same.” [Sahih Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 11 :: Hadith 587]
Moved around a bit (peering round the corner) in uncertainty as to whether the khutbah had started. The brother in gray returned and addressed the khala (aunty in Gujrati) – that he had arranged for the sound system but it was only able to be put in the brothers’ section and the madressa, but that it is only temporary and would be installed by Tuesday. I thanked him. In sha Allah:
“Nor say of anything, “I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow”- (Surah Al-Kahf, 23)
Without adding, “So please Allah.” and call thy Lord to mind when thou forgettest, and say, “I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right road.” (Surah Al-Kahf, 24)
Resumed my seat, heard the khutbah, heard the iqaamah, stood and followed the Imam in the 2 fard rakaat prayed for Jummah salaat. On a prayer mat on the kerb. Who am I to complain when Allah swt favoured me to pray the jummah salaat on a prayer mat on the roadway in Mecca leading to Haram Sharif.
Got up and returned to the calm interior of the Sisters’ area and completed the sunnah of the salaat.
Returned to the vehicle the same way I had come, and BH, NoS and Youngest joined me. And amongst my whatsapp messages were announcements that one could listen live to the opening of Masjid An Noor. It was being live streamed. Regrettably, there was no live stream to the Sisters’ area.
I commend those who have contributed in so many ways, known only to Allah swt, tangible and intangible, and in concert and in dissent, to the building and opening of Masjid An Noor:
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi).
and I praise and glorify Allah swt for His favours:
“And if you would count the favours of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly, Allah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [16:18]
re Masjid An Noor. It is now the masjid which is nearest to my home. and right across the road from Youngest’s school, so that in sha Allah, he will be able to attend unfettered jummah there during school term. Alhamdulillah.
I haven’t written this particular blog to be facetious. and I know that some of the tone is ironic. I pray that my intention is correct, and that nothing within this blog creates any fitnah (variously interpreted to mean testing, or civil strife, or sedition) amongst the Muslims in my community. I understand the need for control, or exclusion, for barriers. The Holy Prophet Muhammad saws never prohibited the Sisters, the female Muslim believers from attending the masjid. I pray that Allah swt opens the doors of His Mercy to me and to every Muslim in my community and the Ummah at large. I pray that He guides the hearts and minds of those in control of Masjid An Noor to open the doors of the masjid to every Muslim who enters the spheres of our island, regardless of race or gender:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Surah 49, Ayah 13
and to facilitate those of us who strive to leave off our trade on a Friday, the blessed day of Jummah, and attend to the remembrance of Allah swt, in that masjid.
I know I have focused on jummah salaat, but that focus is not meant in any way to diminish the other obligatory salaat.