I'm really tired of feeling lazy to pray when the time of prayer has come and I’m in public, because I don’t want to look like a freak to them. I saw on YouTube a Muslim woman who prayed in public areas of New York and people came and mocked her.
Ever since I saw it, I started to feel insecure about myself and unsafe. Hence, I started to pray only at home. My question is: how can I be careless of what others think of me? And how to start praying in public without fearing others?
If someone mocks me while I pray, can I beat them for mocking me? Or what should I do if they start to mock me?
In this counseling answer:
• You may find an Islamic restaurant, mosque, or another semi-private place to make your prayer.
• You may also wish to seek out other Muslim brothers to pray with.
• Talk with brothers at your mosque who are familiar with praying in your community and can offer real-time tips.
• Remember how important praying is to you.
• Learn more about how the Prophet (saw) handled different situations. This will help you learn how to handle situations that you may encounter.
As Salamu Alaykum,
Thank you for writing to our live session, brother. I am not sure of your situation regarding prayer. Praying in public can be accommodated based on the situation, in shaa’ Allah.
Usually, one can find a private space to pray at their job. If this is not work-related and is just a matter of praying the prayer on time when you’re out in public, there are many options. You may find an Islamic restaurant, Masjid, or another semi-private place to make your prayer.
Also, if you’re not going to be out for very long and it is before the next prayer, you could wait till you get home.
Islamophobia and Prayer in Public
With all the current Islamophobia that is going on, it is understandable that you may be afraid to pray in public. However, there are many people who do pray in public. Most of the time people do not say anything and other times they make fun of the person or actually harm them.
It all depends on where you live and the tolerance levels. One thing we should keep in mind though is that we should only fear Allah and be concerned with what Allah thinks about us. With that said, we must use common sense and be mindful of our safety as well. However, pleasing Allah comes first.
Learning to Pray in Public
You asked about how to start praying in public without fearing others. As I’m not sure what you mean about public, I will try to provide the best response for your situation. I would kindly recommend that you do find a more private place to pray as indicated above. This has more to do with your concentration on your prayer and a quieter area has fewer distractions.
With that said, a more private area may be considered public if it is not in the Masjid or home. In shaa’ Allah, you may also wish to seek out other Muslim brothers to pray with or talk with brothers at your mosque who are familiar with praying in your community and can offer real-time tips.
Addressing Questions or Mocking
You may wish to think about how important praying is to you. Thinking about the importance of prayer will strengthen your resolve, in shaa’ Allah. Additionally, you may be inspired by this reflection and it can lead to your knowing a correct response when somebody asks you what you’re doing or why you were praying.
A simple response is usually best. If somebody approaches you and mocks you, you may wish to either ignore them or after prayer indicate that they may not understand the importance of prayer to you and that is okay.
Check out this counseling video:
You may wish to ask them if they would like to know why prayer is so important to you. This could either lead to a conversation (da’wah) or they may not know how to respond and walk away. They could keep mocking you and, in this case, it would be best to walk away.
Regarding your response, it should reflect Islam. Think of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and how he would respond in a situation like that. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) usually responded with kindness. Your question of whether you can you beat people for mocking you, yes you can, but as a Muslim, you shouldn’t.
This would not be reflective of our character, brother. You are to defend yourself of course but to just beat up someone who mocks you, no. The prophet (PBUH) did not do that. I kindly suggest that you read more about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Learning more about his life and how he handled different situations will help you learn how to handle situations that you may encounter, especially ones concerning praying. A good book to read is called “The Sealed Nectar”. It is very inspirational and has a lot of examples from which we can learn.
Brother, this may be a new situation for you, and it is understandable that you may feel unsafe or fearful. Please know, however, that these are normal feelings. Please talk with the brothers at your Masjid for area-specific tips, reflect upon your responses regarding the importance of prayer to help you formulate a response if needed.
Read more about how our Prophet (PBUH) handled conflict and prayer situations. Make duaa’ to Allah for guidance and protection. In shaa’ Allah, you will get used to praying in a place that is public or has people who are not Muslim. After a while, it may even feel natural to you.
We wish you the best.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.