Hear the joke nuh…

Tonight, I was at the masjid praying Witr. In between the first two rakahs this sister came up to me and said that she had something to tell me. I asked her to give me a second so I could finish the last rakah but she insisted she needed to tell me at that moment. You know what she had to say?  She wanted to let me know that my toes were not curled properly while sitting in Jalsa! (My toes are flattened to the floor while sitting in jalsa opposed to having them curled with my foot pointing upwards- does that make sense?)  According to the sister I had to be leaned to right side or have my toes curled. I told her that I found it rather painful to position my feet in the way she was describing. In broken English she asked if I was “sick” and therefore unable to do it. I just nodded yes to get her to go away so I could finish praying.

I cannot believe someone actually approached me about my toes! Seriously! How nit-picky is that?

I’m not sure what the ruling is on the position of the feet while sitting in Jalsa but I do know that there is more than one way to do it. (And also if a position is causing you pain during salah you have a right to adjust it to your comfort level so you can focus on the main goal- worshipping Allah, s.w.t.) I also find it rather absurd that someone would interrupt another person’s prayer to tell them about the positioning of their toes!!! She didn’t even ask me my name, if I was new Muslim, or anything. Just a drive-by correction with no daleel to support her claim.

May Allah grant me patience. Ameen!

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23 responses to “Hear the joke nuh…

  1. Asalaamu alaikum.

    How aggravating…

    What I would suggest to anyone in such a situation is to first ignore the person who is trying to interrupt your salat. I mean, we are supposed to be focused on Allah, and not speaking to others… technically, no amount of prodding should even disturb us while we are communing with Allah – though of course that is easier said than done. Sisters like you describe do not seem to understand that actually stopping you, interrupting you during salat, is a far greater sin on her soul than how you have placed your toes! May Allah forgive her in this month of mercy, and grant her the means to learn about these matters before she speaks again.

    As to your question about validity, I don’t know what methodology or school of thought you follow. I follow the Shafi’i school, and I just read this myself somewhere but can’t remember where; that it is preferred to sit with your toes and heel a certain way, but it is not required. What is required is only that your toes are on the ground (i.e. not raised up off the floor). I was relieved when I read it because I too am unable to even properly understand much less emulate the method you describe. And personally, I have never seen a person who did sit that way, so I haven’t had the opportunity to figure it out. When I read the “correct” method in Reliance of the Traveller, I tried to do it and I don’t think I was even getting it correct, and yes, it HURT!

    One way to respond to such advisement is to simply say “this is how it is done in my school of thought”. You do not owe an explanation of what school that might be. 🙂 Or you can say “there is more than one valid method and I follow what works for me, but thank you for your concern”.

    It is really hard not to let our anger get the best of us in such situations. Like you say, she assumed you were ignorant. She didn’t take the time to get to know you to know if you were a new Muslim and should simply be taught in a gentle manner. She didn’t know whether you are following a different guidance. She just felt she had the right to publicly reprimand you like a child or as if you are intentionally failing. And over such a relatively minor issue! But there will always be people like this so we have to find a way to retain our composure and make excuses for them, no matter how hard it is. It helps when we are confident in our own way, so that we do not feel startled, confused, and sometimes that silences us even!

    You should feel free to say something along the lines of “Thank you for your advice, but I am confident in the validity of this way.” and walk away! Because there is no point arguing or being demanded to present dalil for your position.

  2. Pingback: Hear the bjoke/b nuh… | WTF - When There Is Nothing More To Say

  3. Oy. Some things require an interruption of prayer. Others, wait until everyone’s done, and then if you must, proceed.

    I will say I am turning into one of those annoying prayer interrupters, but only for line gaps. Seriously, if you position yourself a foot and a half away from me, I’m going to touch your arm and gently motion for you to move over. If you don’t, I may resort to a little more force. I’m not a “the feet must connect!” gal, but gaps in the line drive me wacko.

    The worst is what I’ve seen this Ramadan. Women will leave the line to take care of their kids when they’re screaming in the middle of the prayer, but the people don’t move in to fill the gap! Umm, hello, 4 foot long shaytan gap there.

  4. I wish Muslims would stop spending so much energy into trying to convert Muslims.

  5. I feel you. I attended this masjid for about a year and would be the only sister there, hidden behind the partition they have up. I studied with the hafiz, attended classes, the whole nine. No other sisters. During Ramadan, the masjid became full of sisters, dozens…. who would never greet me. I would give a hearty greeting upon entering and they would turn away and not respond. I was in my sorta “extreme” phase where I was trying to dress and imitate other ethnic groups of muslims. After one prayer, a sister came over to me and said (with no greeting), “You pointed your finger wrong during prayer.” And she proceeded to show me how I should be pointing my finger. I’m sorry but I went off on her, and then blasted all the sisters around me. How they never greeted me, never included me in their iftar snacks (they’d pass around food), treated me like crap. I reminded them of how Allah admonished His Messenger for frowning at a BLIND MAN WHO COULDN’T EVEN SEE THE FROWN. Of course that went over their head. Needless to say, I don’t go there anymore. (Disclaimer: I have not experienced this with all ethnicities, this is just one tale.) Sorry to be so long-winded, sis.

  6. 24 hours later I still find the whole thing ridiculous…

    Aaminah, you know, I wasn’t even angry more surprised that she found such a small thing to come and correct me on. I tried to ignore her but she just would not leave without first expressing her point.

    rahma, I understand about the gaps. I think pulling someone closer is different from actually interrupting them during the salaat to lecture them about it. Let’s hope you’re not on that war path, lol.

    thelegacymaker, I have to say that I feel like sisters are the worst when it comes to the nitpicking.

    Kiki, LOL@ the sister correcting your finger pointing. Why was she watching you during salaat anyway? I get the feeling that some sisters are looking for ANYTHING they can find wrong so that they can approach you and correct you. And I’m glad you feel me on the point that this sister didn’t ask my name, never tried to talk to me before but feeling like she should rush over and correct me on the positioning of my toes during salaat. (Had I not been so shocked I would’ve said something to her about it).

    Is this what we’ve come to? I mean really…some thing’s wrong people.

  7. Salam.
    RUDE! I can’t believe this woman!
    lol @ thelegacymaker & kiki.

  8. Salaam Alaikum,

    Urrgh! Firstly, I echo the “I Can’t Believe She Interrupted Your Salah For That”. You stop someone mid salah when the house/masjid is on fire and pretty much in no other circumstance.

    There are different ways of putting your toes, but as long as you’re not sticking them in your ears then I think you’re ok.

    Seriously, to my knowledge, the ideal sitting postions (and yes I find them uncomfortable too) are a sunnah, if you can’t do them/find them uncomfortable, then you don’t have to do them.

    I agree, some people get a kick out of ‘advising’, with bonus points if you’re a convert. I had to stop going to a class recently because being ignored except when I was being treated as the “stupid convert sister” was too much to bear.

  9. As Salaam Alaikum, Ramadan Mubarak,

    WOW!!! I know if we see injustice we are supposed to do something about it, and maybe that is what these people think they are doing. But they are the ones causing the injustice. Short of someone coming into the Masjid with a Bikini on I pretty much leave people alone. To go up to a practical stranger and “advise” them is extremely egotistical, as if you know and they don’t. Especially when there are variations on certain little things.

    If only we could harvest this energy to participate in the BIGGER scheme of things *scratches chin*

    BTW. I came to your site via thelegacymaker. I’ve added you to my blogroll, if that’s ok with you.

  10. Assalaamualaikum-

    Is it just me or does it take a lot of VERY STRANGE focus on another person to notice these types of things? Especially if one is praying…

    When I am at the masjid I might notice people in sajdah but that’s about it and then I usually look away. In fact I tend to avoid looking at other peoples bodies-men and women-as to be mindful of their modesty.

    For me anything else is just too invasive.

  11. This is an OMG moment..lol.

    #1: That interjection could have waited untill you were done!

    #2: Why was she focusing on your foot, it’s RAMADAN, why not focus on…hmmmm YOUR LORD!!

    #3: Who made her the ‘salah patrol’?

    #4: How RUDE!!

    This is what Shaykh Hamza talks about when he talks about the state of the muslim world. We have the salah police when brothers are makeing a living selling the haram.

    Allah(swt) is most merciful and I’m sure a TOE will not keep most out the jennah…

  12. I hear you. I had a situation where a girl came over to me to “correct” the way that I positioned my arms in sajdah (which wasn’t even wrong, just a difference in madhhab, which she didn’t realise.) But in order to come speak to me, she had to walk right in front of another sister who was still finishing her sunnah prayer, and was sitting right in front of her while speaking to me. She later sent me a link that supposedly proved her point about how you should pray, and the SAME LINK also mentioned that you really shouldn’t cross in front of someone while they’re praying! Apparently it was such a big deal that I was praying “wrong” that she had to address it right away, and I don’t know if she even realised how disrespectful she was being to the other girl. Urgh.

    Lol @ Safiya’s image of sticking your toes in your ears 😉

  13. Salaam to you all Sisters

    Yes this is a definite OMG moment! I remember as a recent mint new convert trying to get into any of the lines so I could pray Maghrib and end up having to make a new line in front because the sisters had basically made an impregnable wall…well instead of a few sisters moving up with me; they ignored me except for one who was not praying who decided it was the correct thing to do to harass me during the whole prayer by calling out to me at the top of her voice!

    Not only did she invalidate I think every one’s salat from here to Timbuktu, but she scrambled my brains and I saw red- no sooner did the prayer finish and there she was in my face yelling and screaming that I wasn’t a Muslim! That I didn’t have any adhab and that I should leave until I had better manners!

    Excuse me?! Well out came the New Yorker, big time! In a seething voice (sorry sisters but my mom never yelled at me) that always gets pitched very low, I told her in no uncertain tones that the one that should go back to review things was her and that the next time she saw me she should just turn her face away; I was that unimportant!

    Years later, that same sister one day found herself in the same situation as I had been, and instead a few convert sisters and I joined her at the new front line and proceeded to do Salat…She recognized me, and as years before “advised” turned her head away…

  14. As salaamu alaikum Srs/Brs:

    Here is what the Prophet Mohammed(saaws) said about someone interruping you in salat.

    The Prophet once offered Salat (prayer) and said, “Satan came in front of me and tried to interrupt my Salat (prayer), but Allah gave me an upper hand on him and I choked him. No doubt, I thought of tying him to one of the pillars of the mosque till you get up in the morning and see him. Then I remembered the statement of Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon), ‘My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me’ [Sura 38:35]. Then Allah made him (Satan) return with his head down (humiliated).” (Bukhari, Actions in Prayer, no. 1210; cf. Stories of the Prophets, no. 3423).

    “[F]ight with anyone who passes in front of you while you are praying (i.e. prevent him violently e.g. pushing him violently), because such a person is a satan” [sic] (Bukhari, Creation, no. 3274)

  15. That’s terrible … she shouldn’t have interrupted you.
    I’ve never had anyone try to interrupt my prayers (except my little girls, who don’t know better) but I normally don’t go to the masjid.

  16. As salam alaikum. Wow, I cannot believe someone would interrupt another person’s salah! Unbelievable!!

    Well as a born and raised Muslim (Jamerican as well) I still get the corrections and comments! I have learned to just say “Thank You” and keep going! Or I will ask them to show me their authentic proof of where they got their information.

    I always say, there is a way to go about correcting someone. You don’t have to be rude about it nor do you have to embarrass the person in front of everybody!

  17. Assalamu aleikum ,
    sister i love your blog i read it often ,never wrote once but today it’s frustation,
    i went through kinda similar experience at the masjid.i am a muslim,born and raised perhaps because of my origins i’m from Senegal,people tend to wanna correct me quite sometimes.my weapon is my smile and a thank you.who cares about unwanted advice.

  18. I never knew sisters could be fiesty and nit-picky during prayer at the masjid!, lol… im finding these stories hard to believe…. as a guy I can only remember one time someone corrected my prayer, but he waited until i was done then gave me his suggestion.. other than that, no one has ever said anythin to me…

    plus as a young kid i was always told by my parents its extremely haram to walk in-front of someone who is praying and to interrupt their prayer even if they are doing it wrong.. At the very least you wait until they are done before saying something… i thought everybody knew this?…. whats wrong with these sisters yall are running into?

  19. That happens where I live also, people look take it upon themselves to look out for every single mistake the other person is doing…..which is no problem, as we are suppose to correct the shortcomings in our fellow Muslim.

    But the way how they do it, its such a turnoff. I can see why many people don’t even want to even listen.

  20. Just ignore em and focus on your Lord I would say, sadly such people are common in our society…only a few days/hours left before the close of Ramadan so keep us in your duas.
    Ws Hanif

  21. As Salaam Alaikum,

    I have heard about situations before and I pray to Allahu ta ‘ala that I’m never like that. I would never interrupt somebody salah about the position of their toes and alhumdulilah it hasn’t happened to me. So many things come to mind.. but to interrupt somebody’s salaah.. wow.. I’ve had to stop a few people from walking in front of myself or others while praying.. but I’ve never heard of somebody’s salaah being interrupted. SubhanAllah

  22. asa,
    she must have caught you on a good day (LOL). muslims really make it hard on muslims. i did not attend the big eid prayer for this very reason. i just was not in the mood to be corrected, pushed, stepped on or over, etc…

  23. Rosezanna Marisa Bacchus

    Assalaam Alaykum warahmatullahi warbarakatuh! greetings to all the sisters here! I know many Muslims unfortunately don’t know how to correct people of issues these days, and foucus on the negative rather than the positive. Yet if a Muslim is genuinely trying to correct their fellow Muslim we shouldn’t be angry, but take their advice from them.

    If they however correct their muslim infront of a whole crowd shaming/humilating them, exposing their mistakes to others and not taking them to one side alone and not using polite words to correct them then this is shameful and not from the way of our Rasul (SAW) on how he would correct people.

    As for the toes in salah, your toes are suppose to face the qibla when in sujood, and in the sitting position your right foot should be erect and pointing it’s toes to the qibla. It does hurt, i couldn’t do it for a long time and it made me sad LOL! But Alhamdulilah i can do it now, it REALLY HURTTTTS at first but just takes practise. And Allah knows best! take care people PEACE!

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