The attitude with which some believers approach and attend to or conduct themselves in the daily obligatory prayers makes one wonder if they know their Creator who enjoined us to know Him (SWT) before we worship me. Allah (SWT) interrogates us, asking “If you do not know me, how could you worship me?” People who fool around with their God-assigned duties and yet claim they know Allah (SWT) could just be pretending because anyone who truly knows his Creator would certainly not joke with any act of worship, especially those categorized as obligatory. The poor manner in which some of us attend to religious duties depicts a lowly estimation of the Creator of the heavens and earth. Amazingly, such people hold fellow human beings in very high esteem. One is compelled to ask if this group of believers really appreciate Allah’s greatness in the way they should.
The Prophet (SAW) said the first matter over which believers would be called to render account on the Day of Judgment is the five daily obligatory prayers. Yet, it is the habit of some Muslims to either go to obligatory prayers late or observe them haphazardly. Others appear in shabby attires to observe their prayers. This kind of discourteous attitude which some people maintain with their Creator is indeed discomfiting. This is even as they venerate their political and traditional leaders (who are creatures of Allah) with so much respect.
It is common knowledge in the traditional Nigerian society, especially in the northern part of the country that people don’t walk into the palaces of emirs and chiefs with shoes on their feet. People also do not sit, look or talk anyhow when they are inside a royal palace. In a traditional ruler’s palace, people do not move around as freely as they would have done outside of it. All these un-written dictums are meant to regulate our conduct before a fellow human being. The rules are stricter in places like Government Houses, foreign missions and the presidential villa, where you are subjected to security checks before being allowed access. A visitor is seldom allowed entry in to these places with his mobile handsets and similar telecommunication accessories.
Of course, respect for constituted authority is emphasized in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (SWT). Qur’an 4:59 exhorts us to obey Allah (SWT), the Prophet (SAW) and those charged with authority amongst us. As believers we owe respect, loyalty and obedience to good leaders. The question that comes to mind here is: if we could go out of our way to show respect for the status or rank of those we recognize among fellow human beings as “Very Important Personalities (VIPs)”, why shouldn’t we do more to revere our Creator who deserves everything called respect?
Why do you think it is not an act of disrespect to Allah (SWT) when we leave our phones on while we stand in prayers even though you cannot actually enter into the office of your governor or palace of your emir with the same gadget switched on? Why do you think it is not an act of rudeness for you to remain distracted in your prayers when actually you will not conduct yourself in the same manner in the presence of your office boss, in-laws, school principal or vice chancellor? Why do you think you are not ill-mannered before Allah (SWT) when you turn the mosque in to a venue for discussing issues other than those for which it is designed even though you cannot do the same in the living room of your LG chairman? Is it that you fear man more than you fear Allah (SWT), your Creator? If this is true with you, then, retract your steps and repent now.
None of these VIPs you hold in esteem more than Allah (SWT) can replace your tooth, eye, tongue, finger or toe, if you lose one. Yet, the body language of some of us shows we have less regard for our Creator, our Benefactor. We are amazed by the wonders of computer technology but we forget to give gratitude to the Creator of the human brain that invented computer. Human brain did not create itself. No computer accessory (hard or software) was manufactured to last without the need for updating, upgrading or replacement of one or more hardware. But if one may ask, has anyone ever heard of human brain requiring updating, upgrading or replacement of “chips”? Yet, we hail and adore inventors of Microsoft and Apple at the expense of Allah (SWT) who created Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Before the computer hard disk, there was the human brain. Before the advent of mobile phone technology, there were waves created by Allah (SWT).
Why then should we choose to be respectful to persons with authority amongst us but show disrespect or less respect to Allah (SWT) in the observance of daily obligatory prayers even though it is He (SWT) who, in His infinite mercy, gives us rain and sunshine for our crops to grow; gives us air (free of charge) to breath in and out to survive; gives us all that we need for a prosperous life including animals and plants, all of which He (SWT) also subjected to our use. The relationship between some contemporary believers and their Creator is weaker than the relationship they maintain with some fellow creatures whom they consider special in their lives. It is sad to note that the distance between such ungrateful men and their Creator is farther than the distance at which they keep those fellow creatures they value.
No one on earth can make you what Allah (SWT hasn’t wished for you. A governor, minister, senator, member of the house of representative or state house of assembly cannot give you that which Allah (SWT) has not destined to be yours. Imam At-Tirmidhi relates on the authority of Ibn Abbas (RA) who said “I was behind the Prophet (SAW) when he said ‘O young man! I will teach you some words (of wisdom) … know that even if the entire community (Ummah) should make a united effort to help you in any matter, they would not benefit you except what Allah (SWT) has prescribed for you; nor would they harm you even if they make a concerted effort to do so except what Allah (SWT) has prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages are dry”.
Let us ponder over our relationship with Allah as it concerns our estimation of His omniscience and omnipotence. It is most befitting that we appreciate Allah’s grandeur as we observe our daily prayers. This should reflect in the way we conduct our prayers generally. No one has greater right to our respect, gratitude and awe than our Creator, Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) guide us to worship Him in the best of manners, amin.