I went for Friday prayers at the main mosque in Bamiyan, a city and province in the mountains of northern Afghanistan. They are mainly from the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, as opposed to the Shafi’i here in Malaysia.
The way the prayers were conducted were slightly different in the arrangements of the sermon and optional prayers which I wasn’t used too. And neither did I understand the sermon.
But it was no big deal. The Hanafi school is one of the four main Sunni schools, or mazhabs, and it’s aqidah (creed) is the same. The only difference is the interpretation of fiqh (jurisprudence) and rituals.
So it is no problem for a Shafi’ifollower like me (being from Malaysia) to pray alongside those from the other mazhabs. Through my travels around the world, I have prayed alongside all of them.
Now back to northern Afghanistan on that Friday afternoon about three years ago. After Friday prayers concluded, I managed to catch up with the Afghan Imam who had led it. He was young and very handsome.
I told him where I came from and told him why I was in his country (I was shooting a documentary). We chatted for a while when he brought up the subject of the different mazhabs between our regions.
“Shafi’i mazhab has beautiful teachings. I admire the strong faith that the Malaysian Muslims have. They are known around the world to be very devout in their faith,” he smiled.
I mentioned to him that I noticed the differences in how they conducted Friday prayers the Hanafi way and I was unfamiliar, so I mainly just followed the crowd in the mosque.
“That’s okay. We are all Muslim and we share the same faith. Our structure may be different but our hearts and intentions are the same. We are brothers,” he said in response.
Being the humorist and comedian that I am (and usually in the most inappropriate times!), I mentioned to him that he is the most good-looking imam I had ever met! He laughed and we hugged goodbye. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]