Of Vacuums of Temple, Synagogue, Church, Mosque

The old is replaced by the new if fails to provide or remains unused in spite of its full potential. The humanity hopes for the best in future though it is always unpredictable. When an existing system of purification i.e. prayer in mosques in this case fails to cater to a demand like mind controlling a new way-out or alternative is created. When some Muslims say prayers and finding it ‘insufficient’ to control his/her mind and body tend to have resorted to meditation or mind control programmes. As a result meditation or yoga centres are mushrooming and eventually getting popular day by day even among the mosque-goers or Muslim professionals.
No vacuum remains totally vacuum, soon it is filled. It is evident from the history that against the backdrop of the fall of churches mosques rose. Earlier synagogues’ vacuums were filled by churches as new places worship.
It is happening primarily because a large section of these prayees don’t or little know how to pray properly; most probably they don’t understand what the aim and process of the prayer are and these guys merely practice salat ritually. They find it a good physical exercise regrettably most of the attendees fail to straighten the qatar or align with the lines. Some align with touching their toes to the drawn lines, some others with their heels and the rest stand in middle of the lines. When Muslims are advised to straighten their qatar or warned of disunity among them. Secondarily, they don’t understand what they utter in their prayers be in private or in public in the mosques for over the years. On top of all leaderships of the mosques surely either fail to orient the prayees with the real spirit of salat or don’t feel to chalk out need-based programmes for the musallis.
Apparently it is a great failure of the mosque leaders who lead the prayers, run the mosque and the managing committee who are pseudo-politico-democratically entrusted to lead the mosque following the way or method Masjid-e-Nabvi was managed by Prophet (PBUH) himself.
Suffice it to say that when spirituality is banished from where it should have been nurtured meditation coaching or yoga centres or even salafism (a group of Muslims who put emphasis on the inner beauty of salat and other Islamic rituals) sprout in dozens in cities across the Muslim world. Thanks to the utter mismanagement of the mosques by the people who don’t manage it by example because some mosque committee presidents don’t say prayers and strange it may sound to hear that there are some mosque management committee members who are politically installed atheists.

When mosques fail to take Islamic sports and fitness programmes i.e. archery, shooting, swimming and horse-riding, consumerist or hedonist or capitalist society gives rise to fitness club, scouting, massage centres, swimming club, sword-fighting, martial arts clubs because people need to lose extra kilos even in a predominantly Muslim country. The centre of gravity shifts and these institutions are influenced by unethical forces. Whereas Prophet (pbuh) used to allow his fellows those sort of sports which is concerned with man/woman’s well-being in both body and soul and with relaxation and leisure.
‘And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war,’ [Al-Anfal] The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer,” narrated by Muslim, 6774. Prophet (pbuh) himself overpowered and defeated Rukana— a wrestler of his time — for a couple of times. Obesity is now an international health concern. Even at the fag end of the Islamic khelafat the taking of digestive drug after overeating by a section of the Muslims riled Hazrat Ayesha (R) saying that they didn’t have to go to kitchen even over one month and now you overeat and take medicine for digestion.

And sports — today’s global sports industry is worth between $480-$620 billion, according to a recent AT Kearney study of sports teams, leagues and federations. This includes infrastructure construction, sporting goods, licensed products and live sports events. In another estimation global revenues for football equal $28 billion yearly—almost as much as the combined $32 billion in revenues for all US sports— Formula 1 racing, tennis and golf. In Europe alone, football is a $22 billion business (Sponsoring sports or crores of crying crowds).
Fitness First is the largest privately owned health club group in the world. It comprises 540 Fitness First clubs worldwide reaching over 1 million members in 21 countries. In the UK alone there are 80 Fitness First clubs with over 233,000 members. In 2005, the company was acquired by BC Partners, a London-based private equity group.

The mosques lost economic authority when these institutions officially stopped collecting and mobilizing resources from as many as 20 sources including jakat, sadakatul fire, daan, sadaka, usher, kharaj etc and redistributing them among the deserving persons (i.e. poor, helpless, non-Muslims, street people particularly women and children) in the society. The power shifted to banks and other modes of financial institutes from the mosques. The Islamic establishment became debilitated and really toothless and the power hit the rock bottom to scrape (the bottom of) the barrel when paying salary to the Imams and Muezzins. In most cases most of the Imams of four lakh mosques across Bangladesh draw Tk 3000 to Tk 4000 as honorarium. Isn’t the amount of salary that keeps you guessing how do these Imams and Muezzins manage their large families with this so little income? The Prophet (pbuh) said, ya’ti alannasi jamani la Islama illa rasmuhu, masajiduhu awamiruhum auhia kharabi minal huda. Ulamauhum asharrun tahta adimissamai.

The language of the mosques all over the world is Arabic but most of the musallis who regularly participate in the mosque activities don’t have or little knowledge about Arabic language. Not only that those who go to middle east from Bangladesh don’t have take Arabic Language Test (ALT) as we have to take IELTS for going to western countries. Mosques could have programmes to teach Arabic language to its attendees so that they can understand the Quran and Hadith plus communicative competence in the language of the oil-rich countries which provide jobs scopes for highly populated countries. When Indians and Filipinos, knowing better Arabic, go to Middle East and earn a lot with top posts subordinating the Bangladeshi labourers. Many Indian non-Muslims get privileged in jobs over predominantly Muslim Bangladeshis. Once I asked a physician, ‘Do you learn Arabic (as there is high demand for doctors in Middle East) in your medical college?’ He replied shrugging off his shoulder that their govt medical college didn’t teach them English properly let alone Arabic.

A building used for prayer by the Muslims must be a mosque, be it following an ideal mosque or not. It is a public place of worship on a public property. Encouraged by the hadith ‘mam bana lillahi masjidan banallahu baitan fil jannah’ many Muslims dream to make a mosque and thus we have so many mosques in the Muslim world. Most of the mosques in Bangladesh lack arrangement for ladies prayer space or balcony, depriving as many as 8 crore people. But most of the mosques in the predominantly non-Muslim countries are very active with their life skill. Baitul Mukarram Masjid, Alamin Masjid, Katabon Masjid, Taqwa Masjid and New Market Masjid to name a few of the four lakh mosques have accommodation for the ladies in a country of women empowerment where prime minister, opposition leader, foreign minister and speaker are women. It is regrettable that they are not children-friendly. But a good number of mosques in the non-Muslim countries are women-friendly as well as children-friendly with playground for the later. Special lectures and other training programmes for the Muslim women are also greatly missing in the most of the mosques in Bangladesh, thanks to idea that if males and females say prayers in the same mosque there is the risk of fitna.
But just one look at the activities of the East London Mosque will give us an idea of an active mosque even in a predominantly Christian country. The activities are as follows:
1. The five daily prayers, Friday prayers, Taraweeh and Eid Prayers.
2. Regular and occasional Educational and Social activities such as: Weekly Fiqh Dars every Monday night. Weekly variety Dars every Friday night. Weekly variety Dars for women in Arabic every Wednesday. Weekly variety Dars for women in English. Regular sport activities for youth and adults. Various lectures and seminars by guest speakers.
3. Ramadan activities are distinctive and intensive because they are: Well attended by all members of each family on a daily basis for a full month. They include: Collective Iftar followed by Maghrib, Isha and Taraweeh prayer, and provides a unique social gathering.
4. Eid prayers are also unique and special because they are well attended by a very large number of families and followed by a collective breakfast and a distribution of free presents to hundreds of children. The Mosque committee extends an invitation to local MP’s and councillors to witness the prayer.
5. Library service for reading as well as for borrowing of books, journals and tapes.
6. An annual exhibition about Islam addressed for all the schools in the city with a very well organised programme to more than 1,000 visitor from arrival to departure including: Reception, Guide tour, Video show, Photographic service with Islamic Artifacts, Refreshments and a certificate of attendance for each school.
7. Organising reception and dinner parties at various occasions.
8. Organising social and sport activities, inside and outside the Mosque with a special attention to the needs of youth in our community.
9. Annual Reception to the university students at the starts of the Academic year.
10. Organising many courses for learning Arabic, recitation of the Holy Quran and annual competition for the memorisation of the Holy Quran. Currently, the Mosque is planning to set up a regular school for memorizing the whole of the Holy Quran.
The believing men and women are protectors and helpers of each other.
They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil;
establish prayers and give charity, and obey Allah and his Messenger.
Those are the people whom Allah would grant mercy. Indeed Allah is Exalted and Wise. (Al-Tawbah 9:71)
To know about the American mosques we can have look at a survey conducted on several hundred mosques on the other side of Atlantic Ocean. The grass is not green on the other side of the fence!
The Masjid Survey Project (MSP), co-sponsored by the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), surveyed 416 randomly sampled mosques in the US. Results showed that:
The majority of those who regularly participate in mosques are men. The MSP showed that on average, across most mosques, 75% of regular participants are male. Although 54% of mosques reported regular activities for women, a sizeable majority reported only occasional activity (27%) and 19% said they did not offer any programs for women. While 50% of mosques report that women have served at one time or another on their governing or executive boards, a sizeable proportion of mosques still prevent women
from serving on their executive boards (31%). Nineteen percent said they allowed
women to serve, but did not have any women actually serving on a board for the past five years. The practice of women praying behind a curtain or in another room has increased. In 1994, 52% of mosques reported that women make prayers behind a partition or in another room, but that practice was adopted by 66% of mosques in 2000.
Most regular participants are 36 years or older (53%). Women’s Experiences and Perceptions of Masjid Practices in interviews across Canadian cities (conducted in 2001 by ISSA) many women voiced broad concerns, as well as problems of access, participation, and the approaches of masjid leadership.
Though azan is prohibited in Europe Abu Bakr mosque is an active mosque in the UK. Apart from its regular service like those of ELM the centre is a registered marriage office. It provides support and guidance to people suffering from racial harassment and is a member of the Middlesbrough Racial Harassment Multi-agency Forum. The mosque provides support and material help to refugees waiting to resolve their situation. The centre provides several types of help and offer free services to overseas students in Middlesbrough, both at the University of Teesside and the Teesside College.
Istiqlal Mosque (Independence Mosque) in Indonesian capital Jakarta, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and has the highest capacity. Thisnational mosque of Indonesia was built to commemorate Indonesian independence when busts and statues are built in Bangladesh to commemorate its independence in 1971. The mosque was opened to the public in 1978.
Bhopal’s third female ruler, Shah Jahan Begum, wanted to build the largest mosque in the world, so in 1877 set about building Taj-ul-Masjid. It was still incomplete at her death in 1901, after funds had been diverted to other projects, and construction did not resume until 1971. It is now one of the largest mosques in India.
Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is the biggest mosque in South Asia, and the fourth biggest in the world. Constructed in 1986, it was commissioned by the third King of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The mosque is built at the foot of mountainous land, with the base spanning roughly 5000m2. The reading hall can accommodate more than 10,000 people — the sheer size and aura are overwhelming.

Last but not the least if we talk about mosques but fail to quote the holy Kaaba we will fail totally. During the Hajj gathering witnessed by the world is very large. In importance it is the greatest mosque though like ten other mosques in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is highly controlled and censored by the kings there. That’s why we have discussed it later whereas it should have been focused on the top of every mosque all over the world. The poor people of the planet are dreaming when the world will be governed by the honest, competent and just people from the mosques.