In the Name of God, the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Lord
One of the major focuses of Ramadan – aside from fasting and the Qur’an – is prayer. Every night, Muslims are encouraged to stand and perform night vigil prayers for extra devotion to God. This is in addition to the five daily ritual prayers, which continue each day, throughout the year. It is a very nice aspect to Ramadan, and it is a ritual practice I wish I can continue after Ramadan is over. Yet, whether the prayer is one of the obligatory or devotional ones, one thing about the ritual prayer that is so amazing is its ability to bring people together.
Recently, my brother-in-law and I engaged in a profound – and frequently heated – discussion at a family gathering. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a penchant for such…”passionate” debates. No surprise, the discussion was about the two “nuclear” topics: religion and politics. Yet, after it was all over, he and I both stood next to each other as we prayed the sunset ritual prayer together.
At that moment, we stood - shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers - in the Divine Presence with as much humility as we can muster. Gone was the heated exchange and (as for my part) animosity that we may have had during our argument. During that sacred time, we stood and bowed and praised God together, in perfect harmony.
That is one of the greatest aspects of the ritual prayer, especially when it is done in congregation. Whatever our differences outside of the ritual prayer, when we pray together, we all stand as one – brothers and sisters together – before our Creator in His Beautiful Presence. In all likelihood, that is one of the benefits of congregational ritual prayer: to help bring the believers together and remind them – despite all that may make us different – we are still one community of brothers and sisters all living life in the worship of our Beloved Lord.
Our world would be a much better place if we would remember more often the ritual prayer and how – with all the diversity of the individuals – we as people can still come together and worship God in peace and harmony. Would that we would take that open reminder to the remaining aspects of our lives.