Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dhikr Beans

Yes, dhikr beans, not beads! Yesterday when pulling into the masjid parking lot on our way for Jumu'ah salah we saw a hearse easing it's way into a parking spot. Inna lillahi wa inni 'alayhi raji'oon. I walked into the masjid and saw the expected band of sisters sitting against the wall making dhikr, using beans to count as they went along.

A long white sheet was spread on the ground and numerous piles of kidney beans laid scattered atop. 1 pile for the subhanAllahs, another for the alhamdulillah, another for the Allahu akbars, and so on... Of course the piles stand for different things depending on the family and what practice they're used to.

I prayed my 2 raka'at of tahiyyatul masjid and sat in the back against the wall to wait for the khutbah to begin, we were about 20 minutes early though. So a sister comes up to me with a plate of beans and asks me to join on board the 'subhanAllah' team. I kindly refused and told the sister I'd prefer to make du'a for the deceased. She looked at me and pushed the plate into my face and said, "Someone just died, can't you take some time out to pray for them?"

I responded, "Yeah, but I prefer to make du'a." I was trying to find a polite way to maybe tell her that their method in 'praying' for the dead was empty, an odd innovation which would only bring barakah to themselves, but nothing came to mind so I just stayed silent and smiled at the sister and said to her, "May Allah bring ease to your family in such a hard time and may He have mercy on the deceased!" She raised and brow and walked away to the head bean counter and told her that I didn't want to use the beans.

After a minute or two the entire group of women turned and stared at me, clicking their tongues, shaking their heads, and whispering. Great- despite their mourning they can still take the time out to gossip about me. I looked down and tried to avoid eye contact with them despite feeling their eyes burning through my skin.

One of the younger girls in the group came up to me and silently sat down. After a few minutes she turned and asked me, "So you're just sitting here anyway, why can't you just make some zikr for my family?"

I turned to her and said, "In my opinion, I don't think that's a valid way to pray for someone who died. I personally never ran into any hadith where the Prophet (SAW) informed us to do that. So I think just quietly sitting and making du'a for them is the best thing to do. That's just my opinion."

So she gave me the answer I anticipated, "My family and all Muslims have been doing this for centuries, what makes it wrong?"

I repeated myself, "I'm just telling you my opinion, you know? I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe."

"Well, whatever then. We're perfectly right." And she gets up and goes back to the group and of course tells them what I said.

Man!! I go to Jumu'ah (for the first time in 8 or 9 months, since the end of my pregnancy) and this is what happens? This is what's going down in the masjid on a blessed Friday? Ughh

The khutbah begins and I shake off the stares and try to focus on what the khateeb is saying despite the clinking of the beans. Okay, you're supposed to not do ANYTHING during the khutbah, not even reply to a persons salaams or hush them if they're making noise!

Well, the khutbah ends and salah is about to begin. One of the sisters asked the 'mourners' to fill in the gaps in one of the front lines and they all refused saying that they were too sad to make salah. WHAT?! So an elder sister goes up to them and asks, "So ALLof you can't pray..?"

One of them answers for the group and says, "No we can, but we are just too sad, too sad. We will watch."

"Your sadness is no excuse not to pray. The best thing you can do at this time is ask Allah to give them ease and not to forget yourself, not to forget your prayers." She received blank stares and the Imam said, ALLAHU AKBAR.


I wonder when this odd cylce of bean counting, grave worshipping, and masjid gossiping will end! It seems like an ongoing cycle that's being passed along to the next generation. It's very sad, I wish people would look more into their practices and be open to constructive criticism. Sometimes no matter how nice you try to be or how much you try and word something the right way, people still take it as something negative or flip it into something bad. Through criticism we will better ourselves, this is one the major ways we can do so. Even the most feared and 'fierce' of men, Umar ibn Khattab (RA) was corrected by a woman! Come on, the shaytaan would run in the opposite direction when this man came walking, subhanAllah! So who are we? Are we really tough? Are we really big shots where we have to be looking down on others and their suggestions rather than being the true bigger person and accepting our flaws? *sigh I await this time, and until then, I'll continue to make du'a for it inshaAllah


Habayeb said...

im at a loss for words......dint pray salah just coz they were "too sad"? arent u spose to TURN to Allah in all ur happiness as well as sadness? This is wat happens when we mix our culture with islam.

Aalia, chaser of Jannah said...

SubhanAllah o_O

That's all I can say!

American Muslima Writer said...

I've never heard of using beans that was a weird one for me too. I wouldn't have joined them either. But maybe I would have made a more obvious form of makeing du'a to myself to ewase their hearts... THough not praying from sadness ok then why are they AT Jummah? ANd you're right they shouldn't have been dropping beans durring the khutba. May Allah guide them.
What countries culture does this bean thing anyway?
I was thinking at the begining I hope they use those beans to cook a meal for the poor for the deceased person's charity... insha'Allah they don't just throw them or something. That as not cool of them to send the girl as a spy though...grrr subhan'Allah this is why the home is the best place for women sometimes. It's a shame the gossip.

Miss Muslimah said...

dhikr a first for me too....masha'allah....

i think you acted appropraitely though..why would someone try to force someone to do something they dont believe in ???..stick to what YOU feel is the right way(according to Qur'an and sunnah,of course)...dont let anyone misguide you.....

Umm Travis said...

lol when i first read this, i thought u might be in egypt, astaghfiruallah azim.

im happy to hear u were not afraid to speak ur mind and try to guide others to the right away. may Allah guide all the muslims to the siratal mustaqeem ameen

ammena said...

wow.. too sad? subhanallah... im proud of you sis, you stood up for your beliefs masha'allah. May you be rewarded for your intentions.

Sketched Soul said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu my dearest sister,

AlhumduliLlah, I was sooo happy to read how you reacted! The "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude doesn't do anything but makes the situation worse. Tabarak'Allah, doing what you feel (know) is right, and stating what 'you feel' is right..was a great way to go about it. (In my opinion) - we have to use wisdom when teaching others, and a lot of times.. that unfortunately isn't taken into consideration.

May Allah Most High guide us to live our life doing what please Him the most. Ameen.

Insha'Allah I hope this situation didn't discourage you from going again, you really accomplished a lot more than just your salaat.

Wa'alaykum as-salaam
Love Farhana

Umm Yusuf said...

It's amazing the types of innovations out there. At first they used to shock me, and now, sadly, they don't. I believe, anything is possible with the power of innovation! This is the sad truth. I've dealt with this for years and have been working on proper responses. No matter what, people will take it offensively... but I'd still rather try. These disgusting acts will only be passed down from generation to generation. I've grown up at that masjid and will never stop going, I love the regulars who go there and the simplicity of the Imam, although I can say otherwise about the board members, hmph. May Allah guide us all and grant us correct knowledge of the deen, ameen!!

Anonymous said...

Yikes! It's the Muslimah Mafia policing everybody's mourning and worship. You handled this so gracefully; I don't think I could have done so.


Umm Ibrahim said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

You really handled the situation with dignity sister and I applaud you for that. I also like the reminder that the sister gave the 'mourning sisters' about mourning being a perfect time for calling on Allah, Azza wa jala, and praying to Him.

As for the prayer beans... yikes... a first for me too!

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu Alaikum.

Definitely not a first for me!

Being a pakistani, I always come across such things. Astagfirullah we used to do such things too, before Allah showed us the right Path.

It is ver, very, very common here.

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu Alaykum.

Masha'Allah sis - you handled it really well. Unfortunately this is the norm from where I come from. May Allah guide us all - Ameen.

Btw - love the blog, only came aross it recently. May Allah reward you.



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.