As salamu alaykum,
Shokran for writing to our live session brother. I am not sure of your situation in regard to prayer. Praying in public can be accommodated based on the situation insha’Allah.
Usually one can find a private space to pray at their job. If this is not work related and it 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 other 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 may 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 should also 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 will 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 less distractions. With that said, a more private area may be considered public if it is not in the Masjid or home. Insha’Allah you may also wish to seek out other Muslim brothers to pray with or talk with brothers at your Masjid 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. By thinking about the importance of prayer it will strengthen your resolve insha’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. 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 (dawah) 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 or not you can you beat the hell out of people for mocking you, well yes you can, but as a Muslim- no. 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 insha’Allah you read more about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). By 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 from.
Brother this may be a new situation for you and it is understandable that you may feel unsafe or fearful. Please do know however that these are normal feelings. Please talk with the brothers at your Masjid for area specific tips, reflect upon your responses in regard to 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. Insha’Allah, you will get used to praying in a place that is public or has people there who are not Muslim. After a while it may even feel natural to you. We wish you the best, you are in our prayers.
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.