“The whole earth is my masjid.” — Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s)
In the time of Imam Ali (a.s.), there were no Jamatkhanas. But there were Muslims of all kinds. And, of course, there were Muslim murids of the Imam.
As Muslims, they always had the masjid. But as murids, they did not have a specific place to congregate. Their focus was to follow the guidance of the Imam and that was the heart of their practice. In the same way, the heart of your practice is not limited to visiting a specific building and performing a specific set of rituals. Even the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) didn’t limit the masjid to a specific building, but said that the whole earth is his masjid. The heart of your practice is to seek to come closer to your Creator through remembrance and to support all the creatures of his creation through service. In other words, the heart of your practice is remembrance and service: always, anywhere, anytime, and in countless different ways. If there are Jamatkhanas in the area and they are open, they can support you and others to practice in a group. But if there are no Jamatkhanas or if they are closed, there doesn’t have to be any interruption in the heart of your practice. After all, the whole earth was made for you to practice remembrance and service. This is your great work in the world (bada kaam, magnum opus) and this great work must continue.
Jamatkhana may be closed, but remembrance and prayer are not closed.
Take this time to intensely and deliberately remember and pray to Allah — standing, sitting, and lying down. Imagine that Allah is right there with you, his presence all around you, his hand over your hand.
Remember Allah by praying the prayers that really speak to your heart, like:
Allah, Allah, Allah…
La ilaha il’Allah…
Ya Allah, Ya Allah… Ya Rahman, Ya Rahim…
Shukr Allah / Shukran lillah…
Bibi Fatima’s Prayer: Allahu Akbar, Subhan Allah, al-Hamdulillah
Salwat: Allahumma salle Allah Muhammadin wa Ahl Muhammad
Intercessory Prayers: Ya Ali, Ya Muhammad, Ya Fatima, Ya Hasan, Ya Hussain
And so on.
Write and compose your own prayers during this time. You can even do this with your children.
Pray for your family as well as all families.
Pray for your community as well as all communities.
Pray for your country as well as all countries.
Pray for the whole world.
Pray for the hospitals and the clinics and the medical professionals who work there while putting themselves at risk for all of us.
Pray for the farmers, food companies, and the grocery stores that are staying open and the people who work there while putting themselves at risk for all of us.
Pray for the transportation companies and the people who keep delivering to us the things we need while putting themselves at risk for all of us.
Remember Allah and pray these prayers and other prayers that you know — standing, sitting, and lying down.
Jamatkhana may be closed, but service and compassion are not closed.
Take this time to intensely and deliberately communicate with the people around you. Imagine that Allah is right there with you, his presence all around you, his hand over your hand, showing you ways to reach out and serve others at this time.
Take your attention away from yourself and direct it toward them. They may be family members or friends. They may be neighbors or acquaintances. They may be total strangers.
The best way you can serve others right now is to stay home.
The second best way you can serve others is to stay in communication with them out of compassion. While you stay isolated in your home, call the people you can call and ask them how they are doing. Let them hear your voice. Let them hear the smile in your voice. Video call the people you can video call. Let them see your smiling face. Email or text the people you can email or text. Let them hear from you. Contact everyone and anyone who comes to your mind. You never know who might be needing to hear a friendly voice right about now. You may be worried and other people may be worried, but if you contact each other, the worry will lessen. You may be scared and other people may be scared, but if you contact each other, the fear will lessen. You may feel lonely and other people may feel lonely, but if you contact each other, the loneliness will lessen.
The spiritual being that you are is a source of love, compassion, consideration, and thoughtfulness.
Now is the time to wear your heart on your sleeve.
Now is the time to broadcast your compassion toward everyone.
Now is the time to extend your concern and consideration out into the world.
If someone comes to your mind who has hurt you, forgive them. And if you are able, call and check-in on them. Rebuild and reconcile. If there is a misfortune that has fallen on you, forgive it. Rewrite that painful story into a better one. If there are regrets that come to your mind, forgive them and forgive yourself. Replace those regrets with new decisions. Don’t underestimate how much divine power (qudrat) is unleashed during a crisis. Use this divine power to connect, heal, liberate, and uplift yourself, your family, your friends, and everyone in the world.
The world has stopped spinning as fast.
Time has stopped moving as fast.
The rat race has stopped racing as fast.
This global crisis has made us all stop and remember the blessings of life, family, friends, community, and our precious time on earth.
Take this time to intensely and deliberately focus on your remembrance of Allah.
Take this time to intensely and deliberately focus on your service toward others.
Jamatkhana may be closed, but your heart can be wide open.
There are windows in your heart that lead to Allah. Open them right now.
There are doors in your heart that lead to each and every one of us. Open them right now. Don’t let this precious time of focus, stillness, silence, and reflection go to waste and worry.
Go deeper in your remembrance of Allah.
Go further in your service to his creations.
Jamatkhana may be closed, but Allah and all his Prophets and all his Imams are with you. You will never be alone. You can’t ever be alone.
And that is no small gift.
Rahim Snow is the author of the book, Remember Who You Are: 28 Spiritual Verses from the Holy Quran to Help You Discover Your True Identity, Purpose, and Nourishment in God (for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all seekers of knowledge). He is passionate about supporting you on your spiritual path. He has been digging deep into the mountain caves of religion, spirituality, mythology, and psychology for over 30 years. He has pursued Islamic Studies in London at the Institute of Ismaili Studies and he has completed his Master’s degree in Religion from the University of Oxford. His goal has always been to dig out those hidden treasures of knowledge and wisdom from Islam and other world religions and weave them into a practical spirituality that actually helps you in your daily life. He wants to help you recognize that you are a being from Allah and that you are true, good, beautiful, and forever. He wants to help you stay grounded in your true identity through the stormy ups and downs of your daily life. And he wants to help you use your blessings, your gifts, your knowledge, and your skills to serve and uplift all people without exception. To learn more about Rahim’s work and get sneak peeks into his next projects, join his newsletter at join.rahimsnow.com.