Imam W. Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: In what manner are we supposed to perform Salat? The reason for this particular question is to establish some uniformity among various masajid throughout the I country, especially the California Department of Corrections.
IMAM: Members of the Community (AMM) should perform the prayer in the same way. It is not good to have members from different areas seen performing the prayer in different ways.
Basically, the prayer is performed in the same way by Muslims throughout the world, but with certain slight variations. There are some Muslims who pray with their hands down by their sides instead of placing the right hand over the left at the abdomen — midway the body.
I follow the habit or the tradition of the majority of the Muslims in the world who pray with their hands — arms very comfortably at the abdomen between the ribs and the navel. As for the women, most of them carry their hands just a little higher than the men, just below the bust. That's the way we pray.
I think the Muslims who became converts or gave the Shahada in the method of the American Muslim Mission should pray in that way. There is hardly any other variation.
I know that some Muslims, when they change positions, follow the habit of some of the Muslims in the East — and of some in the West — of raising the hands to the ears as they change positions. Whereas, with us — myself and most of the members of the Community -we only raise the hands in the beginning of the prayer — Salat — and we don't raise the hands anymore to the ears unless we are starting a new prayer or making another prayer.
I don't see this as any problem. For raising the hands to the ears only means that you are attentive, and indicates that you are attentive- Allah asks us to be attentive — that is be conscious of what we are doing.
You'll find that most of the Muslims in the world raise their hands to the ears only at the beginning, and they won't be raising the hands to the ears every time they change positions.
If Muslims of the Community do this, we don't want to discourage it - - it's okay for them to do that. But I think they should be aware of uniformity. And if enough of them raise their hands to the ears to signal another movement at every change of position, then I'm going to ask all of us to do that. Because we should look alike. It looks silly if we are not doing things in the same way, especially something as formal as prayer — Salat. (To be continued)