SOUTH BEND — Friday prayers at the mosque are simply part of life’s
routine for Abul and Parveen Basher and their children.

But this Friday, after some of Abul Basher’s distant relatives and a friend
in his hometown of Chennai, India, died along with at least 135,000 others
in Sunday’s tsunami disaster, the power and significance of prayer in Islam
were more deeply appreciated.

The Basher family, of Granger, comprised six of the approximately 125
people who filled the mosque to pray Friday afternoon at the Islamic
Society of Michiana, 3310 Hepler St. The imam, Mohammad Sirajuddin, led
worshippers in regular Friday prayers as well as the “salat al-ghaib,” or
prayers for people who have died in a distant place.

“It means a lot to us, praying for people who died in the tragedy because
tragedy can happen to any one of us,” Abul Basher said. “At the same time,
we support those there in the tragedy.”

For both the regular prayer and the prayer for the dead, men and women, on
their respective sides of a room, formed lines and talked to God with a
series of bows, prostrations and chants.

In his message, Sirajuddin tied the emerging new year with the tsunamis’

Both events remind us that life on earth is short and temporary; time is
always passing, he said.

“Life is only a few days,” he said. “You should never waste it on something
that will not benefit you.”

Time comes in three parts, he said: the past, present and future. The past
is for learning from. The present is for thanking God and using his gifts.
And the future is for hoping”¦


Muslims’ silent thoughts travel to faraway places
Matt Buedel, Journal Star, 1/2/05


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