10 days ago news flew everywhere about an emergency landing for a United flight that was going from Denver to Washington D.C. The pilot declared an emergency and a military escort appeared to guide the Boeing 757 into a safe landing. It is said that one of the passengers started praying in the aisle and despite all the efforts to make him sit down, he refused and continued his prayer standing.What makes it worst is that the seat belt sign was on. I’ve read several news later indicating that the man was not actually praying and that he wanted to use the lav. which I am not sure is true or not. I usually like to read readers’ comments on news to get an idea of what people are thinking of. Away from the anti-religious and anti-Islam comments, and away from the haters of all kinds, there were really a bunch of comments that interested me. Some was asking why Muslims need to put up a show when they pray? Others said pray when you go home why do you have to do it in public? another one suggested that you can pray without making even the slightest movement.
Well, first of all I want you to understand that I am not justifying the man’s action, I am only here to clarify things and answer these questions. Muslims are obliged to pray a minimum of 5 prayers a day at certain times. There is almost NO EXCUSE for not praying or delaying it until the next prayer or next day. If you can YOU MUST PRAY STANDING but if you cannot then you have the permission to pray sitting, laying on your back or even praying with your eyes and heart – this latter case is like when you are hospitalized and lying in bed for example. So when a Muslim pray in public he is not putting a show, one needs to catch up with the current prayer before the next one’s time is up or else he will be sinning. In Islamic dogma, praying is one of the 5 pillars of Islam so you have to do it and most importantly you have to believe in it. I know Muslims who are not praying or simply pray when they reach home – a prayer or two- but this is not right and they are sinning by doing so. Muslims can pray anywhere, on land, on sea or in the air, we do not have to go to the mosque or be home to pray, but of course one should follow the rules of the place he/she is praying in. I travel to Egypt in a minimum of 15 hours journey so I go through lots of prayer times and as a religious Muslim I cannot skip them, I usually pray while silently seated and no one bothered me before and I hope I did not bother anyone. Muslims have lots of other prayer types for other purposes like seeking guidance,expressing gratitude, help taking decisions… etc..Praying should purify one’s soul and re-program one’s spirit to be always in the right track.