By Dr. Laury Silvers
During juma prayers one week, our prayer leader who originally comes from Mali did not recite the fatiha in the second raka. We all prompted her, “fatiha, fatiha.” She carried on not knowing what our prompting was about. Afterward we discussed what had happened. We learned that in Mali, where they follow a regional variant of the Maliki school of Law, they recite the bismillah of the fatiha to stand in place of the fatiha. After the bismillah, they recite two more short chapters or selection of verses. We decided there and then that we would pray according to the tradition of our prayer leader, no matter the school or regional variant of the school.
Many congregations choose a de-cultured Sunni paradigm as their “inclusive” legal method. But we ask how can a Sunni method–even a de-cultured one–be inclusive of all Muslims, especially our Shia congregants?
The El-Tawhid Juma Circle believes that to be truly inclusive we must respect and share in all the regional expressions of Islamic legal rulings and ritual practices:
Thus we hear the adhan in the regional style of the caller.
We follow in juma salat in the regional style of the prayer leader.
We make our dua and in the regional style of our leader in supplication.
We follow the dhikr in the regional style of our leader in remembrance of God.
We call this praying “Universal Style”.