Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Devil Prays

For years I've been hearing this rubbish and it still makes me giggle when I hear it for the 500th+ time.

I'm sure most of us are familiar with the prayer mat (janamaz for my Urdu peeps, Sajadah for my Arab folk). I was in elementary school when a Pakistani friend came over. for a play-date. My family wasn't really practicing then, and me being young myself, I never really made all my prayers... however, Maghrib was the 1 prayer that was always prayed in jama'ah in my home. My father lead us in salah and after he completed the fard he left for his bedroom to make his sunnah, so did my mother. My friend and I sat there discussing... I dunno.. probably Barbies or something haha.

Her eyes glanced over to the prayer rug my dad had prayed on... my mothers... and then mine... and her eyes bulged out and she let out a huge gasp. She ran over the folded over the top right orner of the 3 mats. She sat back down next to me and that's when I realized hers had been folded back the whole time we were talking.

I scrunched my eyebrows and she said, "OMG, don't you guys know when you don't fold the janemaz Shaytaan prays on it!!!! If you're not gonna put it away then you have to fold it! DUHHH!"

I was shocked, ashamed... how could I not know this? After that for years I'd remember to fold the mat over if I didn't put it back in the closet.

This wasn't the only situation I've heard 'shaytaan praying' applied to.

At the masjid during evening classes, for some reason some little boys were praying on the girls side (they're supposed to pray on the mens side, even though they're little kids).

After salah the following conversation took place between the mini Pakis, I shall translate:

"Where's your topi (kufi)?!"

*feels head* "Oh nooo... I left it in the gari (car)!"

"Stupid!!" "OMG, I'm gonna get gunnah (sinned) and when hafiz sahib (respectable term for HAFIDH, who in this case is also their teacher) comes I'm gonna get in trouble.."

"Yeah cuz you didn't make namaz with your topi so the whole Maghrib shaytaan was making namaz on your head!"

It was when I heard this I realized... ISN'T THAT A GOOD THING? Shaytaan praying... isn't that what we've wanted for so many centuries? haha. Ahh.. and another time something similar is mentioned is when the Qur'an is left open without being read... some say then the shaytaan comes and reads the Qur'an!!

Now this is something I only hear among Desis (Pakistanis, Indians & Bangladeshis). So far I've only heard those two specific scenarios for him making salah: when the prayer mat is left unfolded (even a small part of the corner) and when a boy prays with his head uncovered.

Now I'm assuming they mean shaytaan comes and makes a mockery of salah, not actually following the Imam and suddenly playing the good guy for a little. I don't know who came up with this and how.

The only reason I can think of this nonsense being used it just for respect I guess. Maybe some people feel since a person lays down their prayer mat to offer salah, it shouldn't be left open for someone to just walk by without caring and stepping on it, or for kids to come by and run around and play on it. However, people walk all over the musalla when their in the masjid, so I don't see how a separate mat is any different. Some people also put these rugs on their walls as decoration. Then what, shaytaan prays on the wall? I went to someones house and even though they did have it up on the wall, the right corner was stitched down lol. When it comes to boys wearing their kufis I guess it's a way of scaring small students into covering their head..?

Desi culture intrigues me... mainly the bizarre unnarrated ahadeeth people come up with which seems to be hammered into the minds of just about every young Desi child. Despite not being able to provide a source for their quotes (other than their parents and grandparents and so on told them), they cling onto these sayings tightly.

I'm sure for people unfamiliar with these weird sayings within Desi culture, it sounds straight up bonkers/hilarious to hear something like this.

The only related issue which is true when it comes to shaytaan within the ranks of salah is when the gaps are not filled during jama'ah the jinns pass through them. What do they do? I don't know... mock us? File their nails? Jumping jacks? Allah knows best!

Anyway, the next time you hear someone tell a kid shaytaan will pray on their uncovered head or shaytaan will pray on their prayer mat... please break the truth to them gently..


Hiba said...

lol funny post. i'm desi too and ive head stuff like that all my life. and honestly...even though now at my age i can realize whats probably true and whats probably's become a force of habit to like fold the corner of the prayer mat lol. anyways the thing about not filling the gaps properly during jama'ah and how shaytaan comes in, yes that's true but from what i understand its the shaytaan we have in ourselves. the shaytaan of hate. like if ur white and u have a black man next to you or ur rich and u have a poor man next to you and u dont wanna stand so close to them. that type of shaytan. khair as always Allah knows best.
take care :-D

Adventurous Ammena said...

interesting.. Ive never heard this before, and glad actually.. would prob confuse me no end!!

al-Ghariba said...

SubhanAllah, makes me wonder what is harder, having kafir parents or having muslim parents who say funny things like what you wrote about. An interesting insight.

Larki said...

Yes very true, these make matters confusing for Muslims. I am Pakistani and when I went to college I dormed with an Arab sister. After some time one day she asked me why I folded the corner of the janemaz and I didn't even know what to tell her lol. I talked to my mom and she said because shaitan comes and prays on the janemaz and when I told Nour (my room mate) she couldn't stop laughing! I felt confused and she explained to me that wasn't true! I didn't believe her. I talked about it to some of my practicing Desi friends and they told me it's like a Desi myth! It's true how in the masjid you can't fold their carpet over. Nour told me Allah made the entire world a musallah to pray, so then how could it make sense to be allowed to step everywhere? Desi people are very bound on respect and I think that's the root of all these myths we hear! But yeah we need to stop the younger genederation from hearing this and spreading it

Mona said...

Wow, first time hearing that but it's funny and kinda sad too.

Pixie said...

Good post sis.

Hell Fire Furious Muslimah said...

Man that makes me FURIOUS!
How dare they just go around attributing this to Muhammad SAW as I'm sure they think this hadiths come from him.
Don't the know the punishment of ascribing hadith falsly?
I feel so bad for these young kids growing up in ignorance then sudednly laughed at by their friends when the truth is exposed.
Thanks for letting us knwo about this! Next time I see it, I'm for sure going to open my mouth.

NiDa said...

Yeah sis, sadly we have older generations who pass on cultural myths which don't have nothing to do with Islam - and thn we have new generations end up adopting them not even knowing why they are doing the things they are.

Our people say often you can't cut your nails after maghrib - and no one has been able to explain to me why lol ( i say It's not my fault you didn't have electricity back then) but yeah I totally understand why people would say such things. Its bound to happen once people take their culture ahead of Islam and that has been happening so much within the past centuries. It's like a step back to jahil times.... Its sad!

Umm Ismail said...

mmmm Funny My husband Folds the corner. i never thought maybe thats the reason mmmmmm Superstitions Egypt is full of them. Don't sweep at night craziness.


Anonymous said...

i don't see what the big deal is. if someone believes this and does it out of respect where is the problem? they are not harming anyone in folding their janamaaz, if its in their culture that's fine. they're just respecting islam.

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

A lot of people bound to culture never really put importance on the SOURCE of practices. Rather for them, as important as authentic hadiths are to us, they hold what their ancestors do be of more importance. For them this is the best source of knowledge, rather than hitting the books to find true history and practices in Islam. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be more respectable in matters of Islam, but there's a right and wrong way to do it. Okay, so you want people to fold the mat up after praying, then just tell them to! Khalas that's all you need to do, you don't need to use false quotes and what not. You don't want people sitting with the Qur'an open indulging in idle talk, there's nothing wrong with wanting that, but don't tell them something funky like shaytaan with come read it. You're not comfortable with something, call it that way, don't make weird connections! Don't claim this is the way of the Prophet and the way of Islam when it isnt. Some people don't wear shoes in their house, that doesn't mean those who do are wrong, unIslamic, and filthy. Maybe they clean their floors more than those who don't wear shoes in the home, they probably always make salah on a prayer mat, knowing the floor isn't 100% clean because shoes worn outside can carry impurities. There's no Islamic saying (from my knowledge) saying that wearing shoes in the home is a sin. Some people have shoes they specifically wear at home, some women wear nice shoes just to be dressed up, others wear simple slippers in the home for their comfort... whatever makes them happy! Just because I don't wear shoes in my home, doesn't mean when I go to another sisters house I can tell her that she'll be sinned and shaytaan will come play in the dirt in the house left beind by her shoes! When you make a comfortable practice into something routine and when it's not done you make it seem wrong, that is making something in innovation in Islam, and innovations are not part of our Deen.

Habayeb said...

LOOOOL this janamaaz thing is soooo common amongst desis. but i havent ever heard of that kufi thing LOL! seriously, no idea where they come up with such stuff.

Almallena said...

Good post Lazeena, mashAllah you cleared it up, soo true!

Its wrong to tell someone something that is a part of islam when it not, for its ibdah, which is haram. Anyways I think its just some superstitious stuff, which we are refrained from participating in. So yeah....

Anonymous said...


Yea I've heard tons of these fake hadith from my parents. It is somewhat sad, like that mushrooms are makrooh, taking off your clothes breaks wudu, and that you shouldn't believe in superstition but that you should do your best to avoid it. (Although that last one basically means you respect superstition).

Noshi said...

Should I even say anything?

M.J. said...

lol what in the world???

Adila said...

I know exactly what you're talking about! I have a Desi husband, and when I first reverted, I got all kinds of stories:
-If you make wudu in the shower (which I did every morning) you have to remake it when you get out, because it doesn't count in the shower (because you are naked)
-If you change your clothes, your wudu is broken
-It is haram to eat fish and milk together (it turns your skin white? I don't remember exactly...)

There are so many more, I just can't think of all of them right now! From the beginning I was a little skeptical (no fish with milk?!) so I did my own research and realized they were just superstitions. Poor guy. :-P lol

Anonymous said...

LOL, my grandparents would tell me as a child the same story about shaytaan praying on an unfolded mat. I think it was a tactic used to get us to pick up the prayer mat and put it away out of fear of it being stepped on by someone wearing, your post took me back to my childhood.jazakallah.razina south africa

Anonymous said...

the dairy products and fish thing is true. i can't find the actual hadith, but it causes leprosy. wait, a sec, here it is. it doesn't say about leprosy, but that has been scientifically proven: "In Sahih Bukhari, a number of examples can be found showing how carefully the prophet combined foods. One hadith relates, "A man from among the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The Prophet (SAW) forbade (mixing) unripe dates and dried dates, and (mixing) raisins and dried dates. Aisha, Ummul Mu'minun, related that, "The Apostle of Allah (SAW) used to eat melon with fresh dates, and he used to say, ‘The heat of the one is broken by the coolness of the other, and the coolness of the one by the heat of the other.’ He was also said to have never combined fish and milk."

Anonymous said...

it said he never did it, that doesnt mean he forbade it. i know jews dont combine meat with dairy

Anonymous said...

I am african-american and my husband is Senegalese. He ALWAYS folds his prayer rug and I never bothered to ask why... Now I know1 I have always heard some interesting things like Shaytan peeing in you mouth when you yawn without covering it and Shaytan praying next to you if you leave a gap in the ranks... Allahu Alim! Good post!


Umm Salihah said...

Very funny, but shouldn't laugh, Hell Fire Furious Muslimah has a point. I fold my prayer mat too, but I never knew why.

Very true about the desi myths though. We have lived so long with Sikhs and Hindu's that we have totally internalised many of their practises into our faith without knowing it. These sound like small things but point to a deeper malaise of not researching our faith and going back to the sources so that our proplr end up engaging in things like shrine worship, following pirs unquestioningly and all sorts of myths (I knew one woman who thought it was haram to touch a tasbih if she was on her period)
Of course, aAnyone that questions this immediately gets labelled a wahhabi

Muslimah said...

hahaha.. funny! i've never heard of it lol :D

Nafeesa said...

Lol you said it very well!

Anonymous said...

The Messenger pbuh said, “Whoever narrates something on my authority that I have not said, and then let them guarantee their place in the hellfire.”

The Messenger pbuh said, “It is enough of a lie that a person narrates everything that he hears.”

ukdude said...

Was googling about food being uncovered at maghrib time, somehow it came up with this website... still don't see the connection.

Anyway Ma'shallah nice blog and souq site.. like the writing style...

Saadiyah said...

yeah my friends did that too and i'd be like what the heck? let him pray if hes praying...isnt that what we want?