Home / Politics / America / An Unexpected Eid Lesson from Donald Trump
Muhammad ZA / Shutterstock.com

An Unexpected Eid Lesson from Donald Trump

Excuse me for linking this message of the end of the most unique Ramadan most of us will ever encounter, to an announcement by Donald Trump. In shā Allāh its pertinence will become clear.

Despite the end of Ramadan—and far-right fear-mongering about large numbers of Muslims gathering—no mosque or Islamic centre has announced gatherings of any sort during the lockdown let alone for the prayer and festival of Eid.

Despite the huge gatherings on VE Day and Britain’s beaches brimming with sun-seeking holidaymakers, we have heeded the advice to stay away from the mosques during the most sacred month of Ramadan.

However, just listen to what’s happening across the pond. America has lost almost 100,000 to Covid-19 but it has now issued an order to open all “houses of worship”, meaning churches, synagogues and mosques. Trump states that liquor stores have remained opened as “essential”—as off-licences have in Britain—and that he believes places of worship are also essential. In fact, Trump calls their closure an “injustice” which he is now “correcting.” He’s warned his governors that if they don’t follow his directive, he will “override” them.[1]

Most people know about Trump’s view of Muslims. He makes no pretence at his suspicion and dislike of Islam and used Islamophobia to get into power. He went on to introduce the infamous “Muslim ban” and carried out various airstrikes in the Muslim world—although, in that regard it was just business as usual for the US, left and right. And, he recognised Israel’s usurpation of Jerusalem by declaring it its capital. There are indeed plenty of reasons to resent Trump.

And yet, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:

إن الله ليؤيد هذا الدين بالرجل الفاجر

“Indeed Allāh will aid this dīn [Islam] with a fājir.”[2]

Scholars of Islam say that a fājir is someone who commits major sins but also includes those who reject and disbelieve in Islam.

While Muslim celebs were at pains to tell us to stay at home on Eid—something the mosques are already doing—the US president appears to head a cause that recognises the struggle, during this time, of all faiths, including Muslims.

“These are places that hold our societies together.” Of course, he has a huge support base from within the religious right so there’s little doubt about who he’s addressing.

But, Allāh recognises those who praise Him in all houses of worship:

وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا

“And had there not been Allāh’s repelling of some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is much remembered…”[3]

The truth is that the soul needs nourishing just as the body does—in fact more so—and the houses of worship help us find that nourishment. But they are not the only places.

We have passed this month without a single unit of prayer in the mosque. I couldn’t have imagined making a statement like that before I was imprisoned in Bagram, Guantanamo or Belmarsh let alone as a free man in Birmingham. Like many of my brothers in faith, I have spent years praying without mosques or even in any kind of gathering. I cannot, however, think of a single person who came out of a situation like that weaker in īmān.

You’ll find mosques in every corner of the earth. From remote villages in Poland to mountain tops in the Hindukush. There is no community of Muslims in the world where there isn’t a mosque. But, even if there was, one of the unique gifts granted by Allāh to the Prophet ﷺ was:

جعلت لي الأرض مسجداً وطهوراً فإيما رجل من أمتي أدركته الصلاة فليصل

“The earth has been made for me a place for praying and a medium for purification (tayammum, dry ablution), therefore anyone from my ummah can pray wherever the time of prayer is due.”[4]

We need to remember this great blessing now more than ever. The prayer can be performed almost anywhere.

It might help us to remember too, for context, how different the mosques of today are.

The original purpose of the mosque wasn’t just ritual prayer. It served as a school, a university, a place of rest, a debating forum, a war room, a counselling centre, an advice centre, a court and a place to settle disputes. People even came to the mosque to show their skills at throwing spears – and women could sit and watch to their hearts’ content. Really.

Those discriminated against by the rest of society—specifically because of their ethnicity or disability—were granted the highest honours by calling the faithful to prayer with the adhān.

Barriers did not exist for women in the mosque let alone separate halls or rooms and they could openly ask questions and even correct the imam or the caliph if he said something wrong.

Children would play on the backs of imams while they prostrated and would be picked up and held even as they delivered the Friday sermon.

That is what and how mosques used to be when Islam was founded. We would be hard pressed to find mosques like that anymore.

So, as the blessed month of Ramadan comes to an end let us praise Allāh and thank Him for giving us the opportunity to become imams in our own homes. It is unlikely this time will come again. If America is opening its mosques you can pretty much predict that everyone else will follow suit.

However, if you didn’t become a teacher, a student, a guide, a searcher, a writer, a reader, a deep ponderer; if you didn’t learn what you were reading, reciting or memorising; if you didn’t take full advantage of this time then you lost out.

This noble month draws to a close simultaneously as the lockdown starts to ease. Maybe it was meant to happen this way for that reason.

Like most others, I miss the peace, tranquillity, congregation, togetherness and consistency of the mosque and look forward to going back soon. But, I thank Allāh sincerely for giving me this unique opportunity (again) to worship Him in ways I had only done when I was a captive of oppressors.

May Allāh bless you all and accept your fasting, praying, spending, loving, hoping, hating, smiling, crying, giving and living for His sake.

Have a blessed and joyous Eid.

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/22/politics/religious-gatherings-cdc-coronavirus/index.html

[2] Bukhari

[3] Al Hajj: 40

[4] Bukhari

About Moazzam Begg


  1. I don’t think it was his choice to includes mosques. He seemed baffled when he was reading it out at the press conference, he paused before reading mosques.

    He was probably talking about worship in general, but more so for churches and synagogues – the whitewashed & acceptable forms of religion for the republicans.

    It’s good to see countries valuing a space for religion, as we’ve seen with mosques being given licenses to give the call to prayer. With the US it’s a bit slapdash, have they really come together and thought about the need for worship but having it carried out with safety measures? Telling people to tie their camel as they go about their lives with precaution?

  2. Waliur Rahman

    That was a beautiful perspective, the way you put it. Although I had most of the things you mentioned in mind, still everyday as I lead the taraweeh prayers with my family, deep down I badly missed the hustle & bustling of the Masjid.

    I lead taraweeh for 26 years so I kept reminding myself this is unique & different. But the difficult part was I had to be at my best & be a good role model & not spoil the mood. And that I think was more tough than me going in the Masjid & showing my face for an hour with a smile on my face & then coming home & being someone else.

    Alhamdulilah sometimes in our discomfort we grow in different way spirtiualy.

    Again jazakallah, very nicely out in the Article.

    May Allah give you long happy healthy life. ( Aameen )

  3. Eid Mubarak!
    Who knows maybe the pen is lifted from trump. Decide for yourself. Check the link below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to a friend