This post is about prayer in congregation, family duties for students of sacred science and how the legendary Habib Munzir covered both.
Prayer in congregation (jama’ah) is given great importance in Islam and it’s well manifested here in Tareem. I’ve met very regular, somewhat naughty boys in Malaysia from Tareem who stayed at my father’s house temporarily. Whenever I came home a little late and had not done my prayer and asked him if he had, he’d reply ‘yes, but it’s okay I’ll do it again (so that won’t do yours alone).’
So embedded this is that it’s culture, it’s just is and not benchmark.
When I first moved here, we lived with my uncle. At times I had late classes across town and whenever my wife asked my aunt if she had prayed, my aunt would give the same response, that she’ll do it again for my wife’s sake. Except that she’d also tell the kids to join in, even though they too have prayed for that time.
It’s not just something we’d see in the madrasahs among students of sacred sciences. So how is it for them?
Daily fragrant handshake at dawn with Habib.
Our headmaster, our shaykh, Habib Omar Bin-Hafidz leads the dawn prayer at school everyday and this is also the time everyone line’s up and shake each other’s hands, one by one. During and after, everyone will recite litanies together and then class for the day begins. For the (would-be) student, disciple who seeks as much contact and time with his guru, he’d want to be here for this. A sitting together and that handshake..
How does the married student manage?
If he’s at school for the prayer in congregation, with all the goodies, spending all that time there, it may also means that his wife is home praying alone. In one apartment I used to stay in, the neighbor across the street reminded my wife multiple times to come over in the event that she has to pray alone. This great neighbor situation is not the case for most of us married students. Surely then we can’t be achieving good from one place, whilst neglecting another.
So I asked a teacher here.
He said, ‘the best thing to do is to pray at the (school’s) mosque and then go home and pray again with the wife. If not manageable, then pray with the wife and forego the mosque. Be it an imam, preacher, student, businessman, worker or whatever good thing we’re doing – families have a number of rights upon men.’
‘Habib Ali al-Jifri says that even if the families choose to consent and forego, we are duty bound to fulfill those rights. He said I looked at all the great men before me, my teachers, people of high knowledge and character who impacted the lives of many, how were they like? They all had their time with the family. And in it too there’s blessing and wisdom.’
Habib Munzir al-Musawa al-Saqaff going above and beyond.
The famous preacher of Indonesia who passed away a few years ago at age 40, was once a student here and known to take his relationship with Habib Omar, with serious love. The teacher I spoke to added, ‘Habib Munzir during his time, would go to school for the dawn prayer, then home to pray again with his wife, and then back again to school to be with Habib for the rest of the morning.’
‘Blessing and wisdom.’
*Photo of the school Dar al-Mustafa was taken at dawn by a student. Photo of Habib Munzir source unknown.
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