The early morning call to prayer (fajr) contains the line, ‘Prayer is Better than Sleep’, however, some UAE Muslims are expressing dismay that their imams don’t believe this statement because they are staying in bed rather than leading their believers in prayer.
The Gulf News article (24 March 2008) continues the tirade against some imams whose ‘crime’ is accentuated by the fact that UAE imams are paid by the state and are provided with accommodation nearby their mosque so they can give their liturgical leadership with punctuality.
Some people are demanding that imams should be required to clock in and clock out so their hours can be closely monitored. Others report that many mosques have low attendances and are thinking that the lack of devotion displayed by the imams is having an unfortunate influence on their followers.
One wonders whether the recent switch to replacing all local muezzins who give the call to prayer with one person, whose call is delivered to all mosques by satellite, is making UAE imams feel redundant. The next logical and cheaper step is for local imams to be replaced by one punctual imam whose leading of the prayers is also done via satellite.
For more detail: Samir Salama, ‘Worshippers Replace Sleepy Imams to Lead Morning Prayers’, Gulf News, 24 March 2008.
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: A good attendance at prayer.
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