Sunday, April 01, 2007

Your real live Gap Commercial.

For work-related reasons I had to attend a church service this morning. Subhanallah it is moments like these that I can really take in the glory of Islam and what an amazing religion it is... the true religion of true worship and closeness to Allah (SWT). This particular church is a multi-million dollar building with a multi-million dollar programming schedule, lighting system as advanced as many of the major theatres I have ever been in, parking lots complete with parking lot attendants, and a full band with back-up singers... the only thing they were missing was the admission tickets (but I am sure the cost of entry was covered by the many thousands of people giving their weekly offering). I couldn't help but stiffle a laugh as I heard the pastor talk about everyone being generous and giving their tithe to help the church and give to those in need. To reach out to the community and provide for those who couldn't provide for themselves, I believe his following comment was to "Please join the other members of the congregation for a coffee at their new Starbucks". Well if that isn't providing for the community I don't know what is! I mean what would a muliti-million dollar church be without a mulit-million dollar coffee corporation in their front lobby?
Oh but wait, that wasn't really the highlight of the service. The service begins with a half-an-hour of "worship" essentially a full band with two back-up groups on each side of the stage, not to mention, smoke, lights, guitar solos, four 20feet screens (could be bigger) and numerous camera men taking shots from all different directions. Really my initial thought was that it all seemed a lot like a GAP ad, just switch the swing dancing for more of a rock and roll feel. I draw the comparision because I am sure that trendy clothes, cute hair and good looks are a pre-requisite to be on the worship team. Seriously, not an ugly person on stage and everyone with the most current and stylish clothing I have seen complete with knee-high boots, low waist jeans, big belts, retro jewlery, and bold colours. Then they all bounce and dance around on stage flailing arms and open-tooth smiles to the tempo of the music lead by the electric guitar. One of the moments that most perplexing was when they sang about "bowing in worship" as everyone was bouncing around as though they were in a mosh-pit... hmmm guess I was missing something.

Alhamdulillah it made me think of Islam and how we as Muslims join in prayer, in unity with no fancy displays or productions, just simple lines of people facing one direction really bowing down to worship the one true God. No dancing, no music, no designer clothes, no expensive hairstyles or light shows, just the humble act of humility as we press our faces to the ground. Now to me that is worship.

What is equally amazing to me is that I used to go to similar churches. Those which spent more on the theatrical productions that got people out of their homes on a Sunday morning, than they did on keeping that community clothed and fed. Can you imagine what could have been done with the money it took to buy a Starbucks.
Alhamdulillah Allah has brought me the peace and beauty of who God really is, what worship really looks like in its purest and most sincere forms.
Alhamudulillah I am Muslim.


iRays said...

Hmmmmm interessting. I think one of the reasons for churches such as this one to such big theaterical performances is to make the church more attractice for the youths. Not nessasary a bad thing especially since the youth nowadays are getting more and more lacking morale guidence and exposed to bad elements of the streets. But then again they may have other monetary agendas. God knows.

Anyway since you were there. Were there anyone curious of a presence of a Muslim women in the audience? Did any one go "Oh cool! A muslim!" and proceed to ask you a myriad of questions?

Anonymous said...

But unfortunately this trend has already creeped into muslim youth.

Concerts exactly like the ones you described are being held all in the name of islam. Especially the trend is very much prevalent in the UK.

Seeing the muslim sisters swaying and jumping up and down in the name of islamic music is not only disturning but an outright disregard for the sunnah of Prophet (pbuh).

As someone mentioned that in one of these events the isha prayers were postponded because the concert could not be stopped, whereas the mouzzin of masjid-ul-Haram was waiting in the prayer room for someone to showup.

The notable events are that of islamic unity conference and the recent "evening of inspirations" in london. I dont think that the time is very far when we have our very own hijabi rebecca st james, trying to "spread" islam.

Already in north america "sisters" and "brothers" hanging out in cafes having an "islamic discussion" is an ongoing trend. I just cant seem to understand that do these people think that the way to halal is from haram?

The Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said, "There will be [at some future time] people from my Ummah who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk (for men), wine-drinking and the use of musical instruments [ma'aazif]
(Sahih Al-Bukharee)

Truth of one part is already upon us, May Allah save us from the fitna of the rest of the prohibitions and make us hold on to His Rope firmly.

Anonymous said...

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