There was once a time when Muslims engaged in ibaada to feed the hunger and quench the thirst of their souls. Today however, the road an individual takes to serve Islam is paved with wrong intentions. Many Muslims now only open their
doors and leave for ibaada when they hear the promise of food and water not for their souls, but for their stomachs.
In a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is I was about to order for collecting fire-wood (fuel) and then order someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer and then order someone to lead the prayer then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer. By Him, in Whose hands my soul is, if anyone of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two (small) pieces of meat present in between two ribs, he would have turned up for the 'isha' prayer.' (Sahih Bukhari, Book #11, Hadith #617)
Ordinarily known for his mercy and patience, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) shows a fierce side in the matter concerning congregational prayer. From this hadith, a male Muslim individual should note how significant the compulsory congregational prayers are by the actions Prophet (pbuh) was ready to inflict on those who neglected to come to salaah.
As for the second part of the hadith, isn’t it a fact that many of us unfailingly fit in with the description mentioned by the Prophet (pbuh)? Don’t we answer the call to prayer at the masjid more often if there is a promise of food with it as well?
Congregational prayer in the masjid has ceased to be of importance in the mind of Muslims! Most Muslim men only make an effort to come to the masjid when someone has informed of a dinner being served but not when the muezzin calls them to the prayer.
It is important for us Muslims to reorganize our intentions and for the Muslim men more so to attend congregational prayers at the masjid. It is not just for personal benefit but to seek the pleasure of Allah, and to hope that we earn His mercy by doing so.
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