Polyethists – those who worship many gods – have come to a staunch singular resolve regarding Muslims in India.
Why are those who believe in one God, Muslims, all around the world so scattered and divided in their stance? This question had baffled me for many moons.
So, I went to see God. Where? Of course, to His house, the mosque nearby. In our populace, a mosque is a building, run by people with money. There is no difference between a black and a white, a poor and a rich before God, we say. But we don’t really mean that. In mosques, a poor man has no right to pray in the front rows; they are reserved for the Haji Sahebs of the locality.
Corona may be anti-racism or anti-imperialism, but Mosque managers usually are not. A spot for haji sb is always fixated in the front row – right under the AC. Be he early or late, his spot is kept. A poor guy, on the other hand, even if he comes early, cannot get a place beyond the poor.
Haji sb doesn’t mean a man who has performed pilgrimage, necessarily. No, no. That’s the old definition of Haji, when even the poor could cumulate savings for a few years, just enough to perform Hajj. The poor may even sell their kidneys now, and still won’t have enough to perform Hajj. Haji sb is the man who runs the show, dare I say. He is the man who is sort of a finance minister of a mosque; he manages the funds.
Fortunately, the novel corona virus has come. For at least a short while, there is no discrimination of class in mosques; both the rich and the poor are equally forbidden to gather for a congregational prayer. Be it a poor or a rich, the mosque is closed to everyone. Mehmood and Ayyaz, both have been evicted from the mosques. There is no banda nor a banda nawaz in mosques anymore.
Anyhow, Haji sb now, is basically an obese man who has a money-making career. And his financial status is so high that the mosque’s scribes and imams are ready to testify to the truth of his fate with the same vehemence as they do to the oneness of Allah. Mr. Haji is simply a man who has a Saudi Arabian certificate that says: this man is not just showing up, he has so much money that we are ready to open the doors of Ka’ba for him.
Coming back to our endeavour, we had assumed that the mosque would be almost empty due to the corona threat. But, it was astonishing to see the people lined up at the door. Naturally, I was wearing a mask and gloves, because the malls didn’t allow me without these two corona fighting PPEs, so I had concluded, I won’t be let through the doors of the Masjid without them either.
I had thought the whole thing through at home. If somebody would try to stop me, I thought, I’d simply tell him that I’m here to see the Land Lord of the Mosque, ALLAH.
It turned out that my first guess was right. The mosque was as filled as it usually is at the time of Fajr; the people were simply maintaining a safe distance whilst praying. It appeared as if they are praying to One God but they are not one, but distinctly different individuals.
That is why the mosque appeared crowded from outside of the door. Not everyone wore a mask. I realised, even I wore mask only out of fear of being stopped at the door. Wearing masks simply seems to us as if we are not courageous enough to show our faces.
The enthusiasm of Khateeb was absent today. He seemed a bit off. But, as he began to address the people, his voice rose. He spoke of how only Allah has the ability to heal us; only He is to be asked for help; no one but Him could help us in all walks of life. He spoke of Islam, Islamic values, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
He spoke of corona as a jewish conspiracy against Muslim gatherings. He hit high notes so presumptuously that even I was about to raise a takbeer slogan. But before I could mark my presence, he who spoke of Allah’s Might, began to seek funds from us. He who spoke of asking help from none other than Allah, started asking for money. My inner volcanic reactions came back to rest without an eruption.
Finally, my time came to discuss matters with The Lord, alone. Everyone had left and I was alone in the mosque. I did the same as Iqbal did – shikwa to The Lord. From Kashmir to Palestine, I raised every issue before Him. I even went so far as to ask Him why he remained a silent spectator amidst Karbala. I had tears in my eyes.
Fortunate for me, no one was around to hear me say all those things to Allah, or else, the Khateeb would have definitely had me beheaded on account of committing Kufr.
Well, God is God. His style is indifferent. Just as I was about to leave without answers, the door of the mosque opened, and the voice of The Haji Sahib came out, “Molvey!”
Like a bolt from the sky, imam sb got out of his room and ran towards the door, chanting, “Je Haji sb.” I don’t know what Haji sb said to him, but he was quick to respond that he’d get it from the market right away, like an obedient subject of the Haji Sb.
And that, my friends, is when the answer to all my questions dawned upon me.
We are supposed to learn Islam from the Khateebs and the Imams of the Masjids. An imam is not a slave. He needs no fencing or a building called as a Masjid to lead the prayers. He could lead it any where on the face of the earth.
It is the Masjid that needs and requires an imam to perform her utility. But since Imam sb gets his salary from Haji Sb, our society and our imams consider themselves enslaved or owned by the Haji sb’s of our society.
A teacher is not bound by a building of a school or a college. He is an ocean of knowledge in himself. He may teach when and wherever he wants. It is the buildings that need teachers.
When our kids see these teachers and imams enslaved by people of monetary power, do they think of them as people of faith, or as people of service? That is the core reason behind all this charade of unity-less Muslim Populace.
Recently in Kashmir, a disabled child was declared a terrorist and killed after a brutal beating. People who believe in numerous distinct gods have found a singular, one point resolve – to kill Muslims. When will those who obey One Singular God – Allah – come out to help the victims?
When will Arabs see Modi as a Nazi Fascist rather than an investment? When will they start believing that God is one, and His name is not money, and He does not confine Himself within the walls of Masjids? He is, in fact, found in the many tears of the innocent victims.
He is, in fact, running through the veins of the martyrs of freedom. He is, indeed, living in the hearts of the oppressed. To discover Him, the victims must be saved from tyranny. Changing the Holy Cover of Ka’ba does not change God.