Author: Kabul at Work
Name: Sayed Salahuddin
Age: 38 years
Serving God: 31 years
Income: 2000 Afs a week
Hours: 18 hours a day
Location: Macroyan PD9
My name is Qari Sayed Salahuddin, a Mullah, scholar and teacher.
I also do the call to prayer at my mosque. Our family has been living in Kabul for hundreds of years. I have been studying Islam since I was seven years old. The best place on earth is a mosque, and the worst place is the bazaar, most disasters happen in bazaars. A Muslim in a mosque is like a fish in the water, so happy and calm.
Thank God I was born into a family filled with knowledge and wisdom. By the time I was 14 years old I had memorised 10 parts of the Quran and my father agreed that I could go away to a madrassa in Pakistan. It was very hard, Pakistan is so hot people can’t stand it. I was far from my home and family and I used to cry a lot. But doing something valuable is not supposed to be easy.
I returned to Kabul in 1992 when the Mujahedin entered the city. These were very hard times with much fighting. Thousands of our mothers and sisters became widows and orphans. I started a madrassa with my brother in Wardak province where we taught for many years. When Karzai’s government came to power I was able to take my father’s place as an Imam in the mosque. He is a great scholar and served his people as an imam for 40 years. When he preached everyone loved it, his talks would soften stone. I will never say I can be what he was but I can keep his place alive. I will serve the religion, Quran; my beloved country of Mujahedin, martyrs and brave Muslims. God willing, I will sacrifice my whole life to this country.
It is necessary for everyone to have a daily schedule. For us scholars our day starts early in the morning at around 4.15 for the call to prayer. It is my job to do the call to prayer. I must do it half an hour before the time for prayers. The time depends on the light and the season. Every day the time changes, even if only by a minute. The Ministry of Hajj sets the times for the call to prayer so that all mosques do it at the same time and you can hear it all across the city.
We lead prayers five times during the day and stay up late into the night to prepare for morning prayers. Besides this I have several teaching programmes , memorisation of the Quran, interpretation and things like that. I try to enlighten my students with guidance of our Prophet because our religion is like a huge bright light.
After work I go home and recite two or three parts of the Quran. Every 10 days I complete reciting the whole Quran so that I won’t forget it. People say the Quran is like a fire, if you blow it, it will grow.
Afghans can stand everything , problems, hard work, imprisonment. But they cannot stand cowardliness or lack of religion. If you disrespect the Prophet, religion or their honour, they will take out your eyes because Islam is in our blood. But we are becoming sinners. It’s really disappointing to see those who have been brought up in an Afghan home letting their sisters go out without a scarf, or to dance and sing on stage in front of boys.
“People say the Quran is like a fire, if you blow it, it will grow.”
The war is mostly over now. But peace has brought its own problems. Today, even though there may not be weapons in war, we are under cultural attack.
There is a lot of crime now in our country. People get away without punishment. You know the Taliban did some wrong but they had the right idea about some things. God says when you catch a thief you must cut off his hand. Why? Because this hand is a virus, like a mad dog. If the Taliban cut off someone’s hand it wasn’t an order by Mullah Omar, it was what Mullah Omar’s God had ordered. If we still did this I don’t think there would be any thieving.
All Muslims are my brothers, whether they are a Talib, a soldier, a Hazara. When we recognise our friend and hit our enemy in their mouth our country will become truly beautiful. Even with thousands of nations in Afghanistan there will be no peace until the law of the Quran is implemented here.
More vignettes can be found at www.kabulatwork.tv/chapter/rites-and-rituals/call-to-prayer-qari-pages.