Annoying Quirks of Masjid Uncles

Written by: Hamzah Moin

I don’t like criticizing my elders too much because after all, they were the ones that made the sacrifice of leaving their homelands, emigrating to the West and building mosques from scratch (or buying an existing building but both are good). Mosques in the West are unusual to begin with because of the wide diversity of immigrants who mesh together in some bizarre sort of Masjid Uncle Salad. Even though they were the ones that somewhat built the foundations of the Muslim communities here, they still have some bizarre habits that just need to go.

The “Master of Fiqh”

After finishing a nice round of Sunnah prayer, you leave happily knowing you just dropped two for Allah (SWT)’s pleasure. Boooooyah. Unfortunately someone was watching your entire prayer and wasn’t pleased one bit. You’re about to leave the mosque when someone hisses at you from the corner. It was the guy that watched your prayer … the “Master of Fiqh”

“Brother, where did you learn to pray like that?”
“That? I learned that from my fiqh teacher… its from a school of th-”
“Brother, please. Is that from the Sunnah?”
“I read in a Hadith that you have to fold your arms up here … not down there.”
“What? Which Hadith was that-”
“Brother, please do your prayer again. It was absolutely wrong.”

Basically if the “Master of Fiqh” notices that you are praying differently from the way he prays then you’re praying wrong of course. Who can argue with a random guy that uses Hadith search engines as his source? What a certified genius.

The Humble Imam

This I see happen all the time. Usually when the main congregational prayer is done, the Late Lateefs tend form their own congregational prayer in the back. How do they decide on the person that should lead the prayer? Well… it’s not exactly rocket science but…

Cute isn’t it? Well things like this sometimes don’t stay cute. They get ugly… really, really ugly.

But I’d prefer this over the Not-So-Humble Imam…

The Not-So-Humble Imam

The complete opposite of the Humble Imam is the Not-So-Humble Imam who would just walk up to lead despite his lack of qualifications. If you don’t know how to lead the prayer then just step back… no need to be a hero.

And don’t push up the guy with the biggest beard either. Some folks tend to think beards as the epitome of knowledge which is lame. I’ve seen a guy with a huge beard self-volunteering to lead and it was hands down the worst prayer I’ve ever prayed in my life. Not only was it probably not accepted and I had to repeat it, there were ten mistakes in the first rakaat alone… excluding the surah mistakes. Don’t ask me how he did it because I like to forget about it.

Volunteering to lead a congregation is perfectly okay as long as one knows how to properly lead a prayer… fiqh and all.

The Hulk

I noticed a lot of uncles are in this boat. Most uncles are very nice to you as some sort of Masjid aura surrounds them and they act like super nice and shake your hand whenever you’re in their vicinity or give you great big bear hugs that crush your lungs. They might also invite you over for dinner because they love you like a son. Such nice and kind-hearted uncles.

However sometimes when you’re not looking, they get super angry for some unknown reason. Maybe they lost their shoes after prayer or you disagreed with their insightful ability to correct your heathen prayer? Maybe you accidentally let it slip that the mosque elections were rigged? Whatever it was… this uncle started to get angry.

Sometimes other uncles have to come and restrain him to prevent any sort of big fight from occurring. I mean grown-ups fist-fighting in mosques don’t make the prettiest examples for our younglings do they? Luckily most mosques have some sort of anger management classes or halaqahs of some sort. I hope.

The Abuser of Arabic

Arabic hands down is probably one of the world’s most beautiful languages. It’s no surprise that even non-Arab Muslims would do everything they can to show the world their Arabic skills. However sometimes sentences become extremely awkward after it has been “Arabized”. For example, a sentence like “InshAllah the mosque plans to hold an open house next Friday inshAllah and inshAllah it will be a success inshAllah.. Jazakallah for listening” can be semi-translated to “If God wills the mosque plans to hold an open house next Friday God-willing and God-willing it will be a success if God wills… may God grant you for listening.”

I think instead of saying ‘uhhs’ and ‘umms’ a lot of people tend to just throw in a few inshAllahs and subhanAllahs just to make it sound more Islamic. I think that’s more disrespectful if anything. There are also the uncles who throw Arabic words in the wrong places.




inshAllah this problem will go away… Alhamdullilah