Hayya ‘alal falaah (come towards success)

The muezzin calls Adhan five times a day and the words are also repeated during iqamah in salaat. This started soon after the advent of Islam and would continue till the Day of Judgment. We listen to the adhan and respond to it by going to the mosque for obligatory prayers and our religious scholars often speak about the virtues of adhan, but have we really been able to comprehend the wisdom behind the wordings of adhan? I believe that it cannot be just an invitation to visit the mosque for prayers, but is much more than it.

The words of adhan are marvellous, beautiful and full of wisdom, which pull at the heart. The Muezzin calls: “Hayya ‘alal falaah”, that is, come towards success. One wonders as to which success one is called to.

The Qur’an tells us to pray for, “fidduniya hasanah wa fil akhirati hasanah…” that is good in the world and hereafter. The ‘success’ as promised in the adhan also means both the successes. Surely, we all know that by performing obligatory acts prescribed by Islam we can attain success in Hereafter, but how does it give us success in this world? Let us analyse the areas where a Muslim is seeking success in this world. We all strive hard to succeed in finding solutions to our basic problems of education, employment, legal help, career guidance, marriage counselling, safety and security, financial wellbeing, civil disputes, etc. These are the “worldly” problems that each Muslim, irrespective of nationality, is trying to solve.

Is the role of mosque limited to that of a prayer hall only? Did mosques function as only prayer halls during the time of our Prophet? Was it so at the time of Khulfa-e-Rashida? The fact remains that mosques have played many roles besides that of prayer halls. The Prophet’s mosque in Madinah was a Centre of learning, administrative headquarters, public place and much else. Later mosques put on more roles as schools, dispensaries, courts, military headquarters etc.

On the muezzin’s call we visit mosque to find solutions to all our problems. Five times a day the muezzin calls believers to not just a place of worship, but a community centre, where solutions to every problem of the Ummaare sought.   

We have forgotten the true meaning of Hayya ‘alal falaah, that success is associated with Salat as well as the mosques. Allah SWT has associated success with Masjid. It is quite understandable that Allah also wants us to be approachable by fellow Muslims and wants his House (mosque) to be a place where every person can expect love, compassion and help for their problems. The holy Prophet is reported to have said, “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”.  

We have accepted that mosques belong to Imams, Muezzins and a handful Masjid committee members. We need to revive our mosques from a place of worship to a community centre for Muslims without expecting that ulama would do that. Such transformation would sustain our habit of prayer and also integrate Muslim society.

Muslims in North America and Western Europe have already organised their lives around mosques functioning as community centre for learning, education, community development, marriages and charity, to name just a few activities. Let the Subcontinent’s Muslims revive this model established by the Prophet (PBUH).

Qutub Ahmed Siddiqui

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2015 on page no. 2

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