Justice, Not Prayer, Is The First Obligation of a Muslim 

by: Asghar Bukhari

Apolitical practicing Muslims claim that the first and highest priority of a Muslim has always been the rituals they perform and the great ethical causes of the world are of secondary importance.

Although I usually stay clear of theological debates, I am drawn to this particular argument, because of the damage it has done to the revolutionary message of Islam and how today this argument is used to undermine any political awakening of the Muslims.

Muslims are taught to spend their lives on the impossible task of perfecting themselves through ritualistic worship and never wake up to the true cause of Islam.

This theological concept was implanted in the minds of our religious leadership by those who unjustly ruled us. They feared that the ethics of Islam would undermine their authority. So they allowed Muslims to pray — just as long as they were silent on injustice. Over time that is exactly what we did.

Are rituals the first and most important thing a Muslim should do? Was perfecting ones rituals our mission on this earth? Or did ethics take precedence? Perhaps history could give us an insight and an answer to this troublesome argument about priorities.