Today in the masjid at dhuhr time, one of the men forgot to switch their mobile phone to silent, so in the middle of the salaah it rang out with a very melodiously inappropriate tone. Given how long it rang, there obviously wasn’t much urgency on the part of the man to silence it. He eventually did, and in the next rakaah it rang again…and again with little urgency to silence it. And again, just before the salaah was completed, or perhaps moments after, it rang again. And again, no urgency to silence it.

So it was inevitable that someone would feel the need to speak out against it, at which point an elderly man sitting on a chair in the last row performing his salaah shouted out at the man asking him to switch it off and to ‘get his head sorted out’. Some found this amusing, others didn’t notice, and perhaps others, like me, found this disappointing. I wonder if either of those men realised that at that point they both had become the personification of two of the signs of the hour? One I believe is the raising of the voice in the masjid, and the other being the playing of music in the masjid. 

But here’s the clincher for me. Both men were fully adorned in the Sunnah dress code, including traditional ‘kurta’ or cloak, head covering as well as full fist-length beards. These are supposed to be ambassadors of Islam, and representatives of Rasulullah (SAW) given their choice to imitate his appearance as closely as possible. But instead, their behaviour was anything but that. Which further affirms my contention with Muslims as having become ritualistic followers rather than true believers. 

The same kurta-clad men are the ones that drive horribly on the roads, park people in at the masjid during Jumu’ah salaah and swindle their way through business in trying to avoid paying legitimate taxes, or trying to under cut their fellow Muslim business owners. This is of course a generalisation, but unfortunately my experiences to the contrary has been the exception, and definitely not the norm.

This is just one of the reasons why I have packed away my own kurtas, I’ve stopped wearing specifically Islamic dress on a Friday to the office, and I maintain my beard to a length that is beyond a designer ‘face’ beard, but not quite a fist length either. And I do this deliberately and with conviction in the hope that InshaAllah I may be able to realise the principles of the teachings of our beloved Messenger of Allah (SAW), rather than to succumb to the ritualistic mockery that has overtaken the actions of too many Muslims these days. 

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