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Should I Go to a Mosque Where English Is Not Spoken?

Answered by Shaykh Riad Saloojee

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I really want to be part of a mosque/community. However there are not many English speaking mosques near me. There is one mosque that holds mainstream views. However is not an English speaking mosque. Should I still strive to want to be part of it and attend?

Answer: Wa’alaykum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakaatu,

I pray you are well, by Allah’s grace. What follows is a general answer, without regard to specific details that I do not have.

While I understand that there are sometimes challenges in the social environments of the masjid, I should always try to keep in mind that the masjid is the house of Allah. It is a place where I have the opportunity to connect my heart to Him in worship, remembrance and reflection. It is the space where my heart is meant to be transformed, purified and drawn nearer to Him.

Keeping this in mind, I should try my level best to not allow anything in the masjid’s social environment from impeding my personal, spiritual relationship with Allah’s house.

The legitimate social needs that we have in the masjid should be sought within this envelope of spiritual understanding. Where there are challenges, such as those that you mentioned, one general principle in the Sacred Law is that the one who cannot realize all benefit should not abandon seeking some benefit. We should try to attain whatever benefit we can in less than perfect environments.

Regardless of the environment and its challenges, and in particular within the house of Allah, I would advise my sister to always maintain the best standards of character and behaviour.

I have no doubt that with these intentions in mind and with sincere seeking of Allah’s nearness, He will create avenues for you to draw nearer to him, personally and through your social relationships.

May Allah facilitate for us the pathways to Him.

Wa salaamu’alahykum wa rahmatullah,
[Shaykh] Riad Saloojee

Shaykh Riad Saloojee graduated and taught in an Islamic seminary in Cape Town, South Africa.  He is a lawyer by training and worked in the field of civil rights advocacy. Currently, he teaches and translates.

The Prayer That Brought RIS 2015 to a standstill

khalid Latid dua at RIS
Ya Allah, our Lord, Most Merciful of those who show mercy, instill within us courage as we start this day.
Our struggles are real, but Your Promise is true. Indeed with hardship, there always comes ease. Remove from our hearts any fears or inhibitions, and replace them with an ever-increasing boldness to live each moment as best as we can.
Grant us the courage to express our feelings, to let those that we love know how valuable they are to us, to seek forgiveness from those that we have wronged, and to exert mercy towards those who have wronged us.
The burdens of life sometimes seem to heavy to bear. The anxiety and anguish that sits inside of us feels bigger at times than the world around us. Give us audacious hearts that can overcome that pain inside – hearts that help us to carry each burden with ease, regardless of how heavy it seems. Make us not from amongst those who are sheltered from life’s realities, but rather amongst those who are not afraid to face them.
Bring people into our lives that we love so much that our love for them moves us to be courageous but not foolish. People who we love so much that our dedication to their well-being is rooted in wisdom and mindfulness. Make us people who find strength through selflessness not selfishness, sincerity not self-centeredness.
Grant us the courage to stand again after we have fallen, to find meaning in our failures, and to keep moving forward no matter what is trying to push us down. Grant us the courage to put our trust in You, whether we understand or not, and the courage to recognize and feel the depth of Your Love. Help us to harness that Love and utilize it to illuminate the darkest of places we might have to venture in, both in the world around us and the world within us.
Grant us the courage to live our own lives, to understand our role in the writing of our own stories, to make decisions with foresight and insight, and before each step we take in this world, to remember we will have a life in the world beyond this one.
Grant us the courage to forgive ourselves and to live a life in pursuit of true contentment, the courage to ask You to remove from our lives anything that distracts us, gives us only complacency, or satisfies only our wants at the expense of our real needs.
Love Your creation through us. Be gentle to them through us. Increase them in strength through us. Give them courage through us. Help them grow through us. Endow them with confidence through us.. Fill them with sincerity through us. Protect them through us. And us them bring good and benefit to the rest of us and this world – Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
Let our anger be only at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that we will work for justice, equality and peace.
Let our tears shed only for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and conflict, so that we will reach out our hands to comfort them and change their pain into joy.
And let our successes be many as we make a difference in this world by doing the things which others say cannot be done.
You are with us always, Ya Allah. Help us on this day to recognize Your Presence, and through it give us the courage to meet the challenges of this day and those of every tomorrow that we will see.
Protect us always from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry.
Forgive us for our shortcomings, and guide and bless us all.
Ameen.

Transcript of the dua made by Imam Khalid Latif, of New York, at the 2015 Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) convention in Toronto, Canada.

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