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Muslims should deemphasize congregational prayers

Reader comment on item: Israelis Want Victory
in response to reader comment: "if the Jews thought they had it bad wandering in the desert for 40 years, dealing with Palestinians will cause the Jews to suffer "for another hundred years.""

Submitted by Prashant, Jul 22, 2017 at 11:37

Dear Dr Pipes, The Jerusalem Post article cited by your readers PrezDispenser reports that local Muslims are opposing the installation of metal detectors by the security forces in the Temple Mount area. Why? Don't Muslims want security and protection from guns and violence? I think opposition to metal detectors clearly indicates that some Islamic people indeed want to support terrorism.

The article goes on to say that thousands of Muslims go to pray at al-aqsa mosque every Friday. Any one who has ever held a scripture (a Bible, Bhagwat Gita or Torah or any other book) in their hands will testify that prayers need contemplative thoughts. What sort of contemplation can you do when you are praying in an assembly of thousands of people in an area that is so prone to violence?

Time has now come for the modern world to politely but firmly question and challenge Islamic practices.
Congregational prayers were good in the ancient times when just a few hundred humans lived together in small villages or tribes. In the modern times when millions of people live together in huge congested cities, congregational prayers in large groups several times a day are counter productive and (probably) do nothing good to the person who is saying the prayers. I wont, necessarily, suggest that Muslims should stop praying whatever number of times every day but I will strongly recommend that they start praying in solitude and silence (many of them already do).

If Islamic leadership issues a fatwa that praying at al-aqsa on Fridays in the crowd of thousands of people is not recommended, it will be a step in the right direction. If thousands of Christians or Hindus start congregating to pray together every week in a crowded city downtown, I will make exactly the same recommendation.

I did a random unscheduled search on al-aqsa today as I write this comment. Two top stories on the topic tell about six (so called) Palestinians getting killed at al-aqsa and a Hamas religious leader boasting that al-Aqsa issue has brought the Palestinian cause to center stage again. If there is spirituality in any of this, I cannot see it.

Muslims should reduce their emphasis on frequent congregation prayers. Doing so will be good for them and for the rest of the world. Praying in solitude and in small groups will make them more spiritual. Hope someone is listening.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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