Immediately after Fajr (morning prayers) the Imam (one who leads the Muslim congregational prayers in a mosque) stood up to address the restless souls heading back to cover their sleep before starting of the long day while fasting. Getting up to rush back myself I was forced to sit tight by the gravity of what the imam started of with (and the fact that I had had a couple hours of extra sleep last night didn’t hurt).
He said the people going away, not listening to him, not offering extra prayers last night, etc. were not doing themselves any good. In fact by some miraculous stretch of (mis)interpretation of Quran (74:50-51) he likened them to a herd of donkeys running away from the predatory lion. Surely the looks on the running faces didn’t look amused.
And what does the Quran say in its own words: “Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you” [2:185]; and ” Allah does not want to place you in difficulty” [5:6].
I failed to understand that how can someone offering the obligatory prayer and returning home to catchup on sleep or some other work / leisure he has planned, qualify as a running away donkey in the scripture.
Of course the imam was clear that he didn’t want to insult anyone. I guess he just wanted donkeys to know that they are donkeys, no offence.
This narrates only a benign (and kind of silly) piece of the sad story of Islam today. The whole story is much more gruesome and horrific. Muslims, even those who have had religious education (in fact especially those), tend to interpret pieces of scripture in severe abstractness. As if it was not supposed to be connected to other parts of its contents and certainly not connected to a changing conundrum called reality. We like to pick and choose parts that suit us. The whole is either beyond the grasp of our nostalgia-cum-ego-mutilated intellect or is just inconvenient because its not in line with the ‘norm’.
We can all see how silly it was for the leader of the free world (no pun intended) to misread the call for ‘no reason to be alarmed’ by the London mayor; but we fail to realize that we do this very thing in matters most important.
Take time to judge. Take time to soak in knowledge. If you take in enough time and knowledge you would feel the need to judge less. And the next time you tread the line of thought that ‘you are a herd of donkeys because…’ just take a pause and ask yourself: is there ‘a reason to be alarmed’?