بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وصلى الله على نبيه الكريم
A few months ago I was officially expelled from my local mosque at the Jumu’ah service. For many weeks prior I refused to participate in the congregational prayers which are spaced apart under the excuse of complying with provincial health orders regarding social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. I also refused to cover my face with a mask. As an orthodox Sunni Muslim, adherent of the Hanafi school of thought, I firmly believe, and backed up by the legal verdicts of our credible Ulama, that congregational prayers with large gaps between the worshippers in the rows is null and void, or else a sin which requires the Salah to be offered again. It is certainly an innovation, having no precedent whatsoever in the history of Islam despite the fact that there are many instances of plagues and epidemics throughout time. It is also observed that this emphasis on social distancing is only reserved for the congregational prayer itself, otherwise the attendees of the mosque including its management are seen intermingling with each other and not observing the same strict protocols in other social situations and gatherings. To the lovers of Islam and the Shari’ah it is obviously a mockery of the form of worship we received through our Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and which the Muslims have been adhering to for generation after generation. So I would, after the sermon, not participate in the congregational prayer, since it is invalid, and would instead offer Zuhr prayer individually in its place. I have been asked why even bother to show up at the mosque at all knowing full well that the congregational prayers won’t be established according to the orthodox way but in this newly invented, innovated method to comply with the government’s protocols for social distancing. The answer is that the mosque should never be abandoned as far as possible, and should be populated with worshippers. There is more blessing in praying in the mosque than anywhere else. Furthermore, the management of my local mosque only opened the doors to it at the Friday prayer service, they would certainly not give me private access to it. Therefore, that was my only opportunity to enter the mosque and worship there. Secondly, it was also my attention to express and display my dissent from this corruption in our worship before the rest of the Muslims, to provoke them into reconsidering the evil they so blindly accepted like brainless sheep. It is this intention of mine which I knew would provoke a response from the management, for they perceived it as an indirect challenge to their authority and an attack on their religious credentials and integrity. Indeed that is so. It exposed their hypocrisy and their mean-spiritedness. So when the head of the administration accosted me that fateful day, he instructed me that I was obliged to wear a mask like everyone else. I naturally refused. Covering one’s face is forbidden in worship. Even women, who are otherwise obligated to cover their face in public for modesty reasons cannot conceal their face during the Salah. When he insisted, I stood up and pulled down his mask, because I wanted him to speak to me man to man and not like a coward hiding his face. He became visibly agitated at this harmless act and smacked my hand away. I sat down again and resumed my dhikr. The sermon was then given and concluded. But while the iqamah was given, suddenly a police officer showed up. The head of the management shockingly prevented the completion of the iqamah, interrupting the mu’adhdhin in the middle of it to announce that the police had shown up. This itself is a great fitnah and a direct attack on our Religion. It can only be an act of hypocrisy worship of a shameless munafiq and an evil wicked-doer, cursed enemy of God. The police officer escorted me out of the mosque and subsequently had me charged with assault because I had touched someone’s mask! He also informed me that I was no longer welcome at the mosque and one of the conditions for my release from his custody was to promise not to ever go near it. I refused to assent to such an evil condition, but he informed me that failing to do so would mean my immediate imprisonment in jail for at least several days as it was Friday and I could not be brought before a judge until after the weekend. I therefore reluctantly signed the set of agreements while writing a note on it that I considered myself coerced and therefore morally not bound to comply with them if I so choose. The simple minded officer did not understand the legal implications but was all too happy to release me, as he in fact sympathized with my situation and personally felt it was wrong to have me arrested and removed from the mosque. My appearance before the court regarding this matter is scheduled in a few days as of writing this.
Here I would like to point out that it is a sad reality that our mosques, especially here in the West, are under the management and custody of men who are unworthy of the heavy responsibility, and often coming from a class that are not known for personal piety or knowledge of the Religion. They have acquired this role simply because they have money and successful worldly careers and education. In many Muslim countries this same class of people are rarely seen at the mosque at all, but here in the West they seem to be drunk on the power and prestige this role affords them. I teach that the leadership of the Muslims is ideally in the hands of men of piety, learning and age, but sadly that isn’t the case. Toward the end of his life, when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم saw in a vision that the Umayyads in the form of apes had occupied his pulpit he was so aggrieved that he never laughed after that until he passed away صلى الله عليه وسلم
According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ عليه السلام informed his true followers “they will put you out of the synagogue” (John 16:2). The Muslims of our time, particularly our corrupt leadership, resemble the spiritual and moral condition of the religious and political leadership of the Jews in the time of Christ. They have expelled me from the mosque simply because I refuse to participate in the corruption of the Salah. In the sight of Allah this is a great injustice for which they will be held accountable on Judgment Day if they do not repent. As the Lord God lives, I would rather face Him having committed many personal transgressions than face Him having broken the heart of a Believer or prevented a Believer from worshipping Him. But these are a people whose hearts are blackened. They go through the outward motions of worship without any understanding nor does it purify them of the filth that inhabits their souls.