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Teen Perspective, a column on Muslim teen issues

January 2004

Iftar with the Devil

by Shezena T. Mohammed

This last Ramadan, as with every Ramadan, my family and I spent a lot of time at the masjid. I don't know how it is with any other masjids but with mine, and the ones that I have gone to in the past, usually every night of Ramadan someone will host a dinner at the masjid and the community will all get together and eat. This is a nice thing to look forward to every Ramadan. It builds unity and people get to know each other and form bonds and relationships. I usually like going and seeing the people working together and treating each other like how our Prophet (saaw) taught us. It makes me smile seeing it and I feel good that I am in a such a good Muslim community.

I remember most vividly feeling like that when I was little. In a small masjid in Carrolton, Texas about 10 years ago, I remember going there every night during Ramadan. There were soft lights and it was a small place with a lot of people crammed inside trying to get warm. Even though it's Texas, it would still get pretty cold during the winter. We would pray Maghrib and then spread out some sheets on the carpet. Everyone would sit in a big circle and we would eat. The people were so kind and welcoming. It was such a warm feeling being there. The atmosphere was just calm, soothing and peaceful. I felt like that every Ramadan.

But not this Ramadan. The things that happened, and are still happening during this Ramadan in my masjid are more intolerable and dramatic than the concluding scene in a Spanish soap opera. Oh, the drama.

Maybe it was because I was little and didn't notice anything like that when I was at the masjids before, but it seems more and more increasingly the status of the masjids I go to are deteriorating. The only unity I see there are on either side of whoever's side you want to take. There is bickering inside the musalla, and it might as well be a pack of wild dogs ripping my masjid apart. It's already divided in fact, a group of people has decided they are not going to be a part of our community anymore and are going to start one of their own. This is ridiculous and inexcusable. No way in hell could any good come out of any group of people causing so much strife in the house of Allah that people reject what has already been established and make their own little club. You just can't make something good out of doing something so wicked that it destroys and competes with Allah's house. There are no enemies in the masjid. There are no sides. Well, there's not supposed to be anyway, and no way could it be for the good of the masjid. There is absolutely no way that a division could benefit any masjid, much less the soul of anyone who is fueling it.

I don't know what has happened to my masjid. It looks like Shaytaan has taken over and no one knows what to do. During Ramadan, we are taught that we need to try to be as most aware of Allah as we can. We are constantly checking our actions and thoughts to see that they are as pure and wholesome as possible. With this in mind, I don't know where such vile feelings and trivial complaints can come from. I don't know what are driving people to take up fights in the masjid over iftar. This isn't what it's for. What has come over my ummah? Who invited Shaytaan for iftar?

I wonder what it is about some men that make them so power hungry. Obviously, I'm not talking about all men, just a very small percentage of some men that make them want to control everything, and if it's not their way, it's no way. I've heard about these kinds of men before, but never witnessed them until now. I think it's a weakness that they have that Shaytaan takes over and consumes them with. It makes me sick to see that kind of behavior in my masjid. I feel violated that someone would dare do that to my masjid. I feel personally offended that someone would bring that kind of filth into my masjid. I don't know what has happened and I don't know what the solution could be. I never thought that a mosque left in peace was such a blessing but now I see.

People who would divide the masjid, and make one of there own, really, are probably better off doing that, for them and us. They can do whatever they want, and make whatever kind of crazy rules and special politics they want, and leave us in peace. I know I don't want that kind of behavior sullying my masjid. We don't need this kind of power struggle and squabbling in our place of worship. It makes me sad to see our masjid in this state. It seems invaded and wronged. The tension in the air is depressing. I don't understand how the pettiness of some people can make so much trouble for our small, little masjid. I remember feeling like angels were guarding us with their wings reaching up to the heavens in our masjid in Carrolton while we all sat in a circle and ate, but this Ramadan I think Shaytaan has paid us a visit. It's going to take a lot of work and cooperation to get rid of him, or maybe we won't be able to, and will be divided. I read a hadeeth the other day that our Prophet (saaw) said, 'The Last Hour will not come until people vie (fight, compete) with one another about mosques.' Subhanallah! The Day is near. We are driving ourselves into destruction, and who among us will stop it? Any takers?

This is something that is happening in my masjid, but I know it must be happening in other places too. It is my hope that anyone and everyone who reads this will closely examine their behavior with the rest of their ummah and determine if they are part of the problem or the solution. If there is anything that anyone can do or change that would benefit the unity of their masjid, and if they don't, I think, they will be personally responsible for the fall of our ummah. I see the floor cracking beneath our feet and only we can stop it.

May Allah force us to see the evil in our actions that we so desperately hide from ourselves and the ones around us. Ameen.

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