By: Rai Shamshudin G. Tejpar
'Jamat Khana' means 'A house designated as a place of worship in which a congregation gathers for prayers'.
'Jamat Khana' for us also means 'House of ALI and NABI' for it is our faith that the NOOR (LIGHT) of Hazar Imam is present there is all It's Glory.
Holy Qur'an says: -
"(This Lamp is found) in house which Allah hath allowed to be exalted and that His name shall be remembered therein. Therein do offer praise to Him at morning and evening".
Sura Nur (XXIV) - Ayat 36.
(From 'Glorious Qur'an' translated by Marmaduke Pickthall)
The above Ayat is preceded by Ayatun NOOR:
"Allah is the Light of the heavens and earth. The similitude of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon Light. Allah guideth unto His Light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things. "
Sura Nur (XXIV) - Ayat 35
The allegory contained in the above verse refers to 'NOOR - e - Imamat' and therefore 'the house ' which is spoken of in Ayat 36 above is none other than 'Jamat Khana ' in which 'NOOR - e - Imamat ' is present.
When the above mentioned verse (Ayat 36) was revealed, Anas ibn Malik a companion of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) inquired: "Which are the houses in which Allah has permitted to exalt His name?" The Prophet replied: " Those are the houses of the Prophets". Hazrat Abu Bakr who was near Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), asked: " Is the house of Murtaza Ali and Fatima include in this?" And Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) replied: " Surely! It is much more exalted."
The above 'tafsir' (explanation) is given by Sunni Molvis Se Albi and Abbas bin Tagalbe from the records of Baqi bin Harith .
The above 'tafsir' again explains the excellence of our Jamat Khanas.
The 'Noor' is present everywhere and therefore we can offer our prayers wherever we may be.
"You must have faith and love religion. If you are in a bus or anywhere and if you have got a 'tasbih' with you, say your prayers there and then. Do not depend on future or do not hesitate."
Mowlana Hazar Imam 25/11/57
Jabir reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
"I have been granted five things which were not granted to any one before me â€¦ and for me the earth has been made a mosque and a means of purification; therefore, if prayer overtakes any person of my community, he should say his prayers (wherever he is) â€¦ "
But it has to be remembered that our regular attendance in Jamat Khana is very important and essential. The above directions are given so that we may not miss the remembrance of Allah when it is not possible for us to reach Jamat-Khana.
Pir has compared 'Jamat Khana ' to 'Sarovar', 'a Lake' in which there are 'priceless pearls'. Invaluable spiritual benefits are gained by attending Jamat Khana.
Ibn Umar reported the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
"Prayer said in congregation excels the prayer said alone by twenty-seven degrees. "
"To offer the first 'takbir' with the congregation is more worthier than the value of the world and everything in it."
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
Once, after Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) had finished preaching about the importance and benefits of congregational prayers, a blind man approached the Prophet and said: "O Prophet I am blind and I find it difficult to make my way to the mosque from my home .May I not earn the benefits of congregational prayers if I said them regularly at home?"
Prophet Muhammad replied: " Tie a string from your home to the pillar of the mosque and when you hear the Adhan make your way to the mosque with the help of the string."
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) gave this instruction to stress upon the importance of congregational prayers.
Holy Qur'an says: -
"Lo! We it is Who bring the dead to life .We record that which they send before (them), and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear Register. "
Sura Yasin (XXXVI) - Ayat 12
It is reported that the people of Banu Salim requested the Prophet of Allah to permit them to build a mosque near their place of residence and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: " Stay where you are and come walking to this mosque, for every step to the mosque will bring you many rewards. "
"It is meritorious to go to the mosque; for every step one advances into the mosque he receives forgiveness of sins, God protects him at the last judgment and the angles also assist him."
(Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) Muslim 49:51 and Bukhari 87) (Shorter Ency of Islam page 336)
It is said in the Holy Ginan :
"Eji Am sama Chali ave ekaj mun ,
Tene dugle dugle karod jaganna punya "
"Every step taken towards the Lord in full faith and devotion, will be rewarded with innumerable gains."
DEFINITION OF JAMATKHANA.
Prof. Jawad Muscati of Pakistan gives the following definition of 'Jamat Khana':
'Jama - ah ' (Jamat) is a word that has always been used to refer to a community, a party, a group etc; in a religious sense as Jama-atul Muslimeen ( Muslim community ), Jama-atul-Nasara (Christian community) Jama-atul - Yahood (Jewish Community) etc, etc.
'Khana' means shop, house and the like as:
Khana-e-Ka'ba ; Khana-e-Khuda = Musjid .
Kutob Khana = library, Book Shop
Musafir - Khana = Inn.
Now, in the light of our explanation of Jama-ah (Jamat), it follows that: -
Jama-at-Khana will imply to the house where Jama-ah (Jamat) assembles for the purpose pertaining to Jamat and it will include all social and religious works. The present Jama-at-khana of the Ismailis functions on the same line as the 'musjid' used to function in the time of the Holy Prophet. The word 'musjid ' means more or less the same that the word Jama-at-Khana implies. 'Masjid' means the place of discipline and it is derived from the word 'sajada' to bow, to prostrate, to discipline, etc.
In the time of Prophet, besides being a prayer place, 'musjid' was an assembly hall, a lecture hall, and an educational training centre.
The name of 'Jama-at-Khana ' is used as such all over the Ismaili world except in Syria where it is called 'musjid', in Iran where it is called 'Panj - tan - Gah' , in Paris where it is called 'Centre Culture Ismailien' and in London where it is called 'Ismailia Cultural Centre '.
MUSJID: 'The Religion of Islam ' by: Muhammad Ali.
(a) A training ground of equality:
Being a meeting-place of all Muslims five times daily, besides special occasions, the mosque serves as a training ground where the doctrine of the equality and fraternity of mankind is put into practical working.
(b) The mosque as a cultural centre:
Besides being its religious centre, the mosque is also the cultural centre of the Muslim community. Here the Muslim community is educated on all questions, but besides that, whenever in the time of the Holy Prophet and his early successors it became necessary to inform the Muslim community on any matter of importance, a sermon or a lecture was delivered in the mosque.
(c) The mosque as a general centre:
Almost every mosque to this day has, to some extent, arrangements for the education of students, the maktab or the madrisah (the school), being a necessary adjunct to the mosque. Many important mosques have also some waqf property attached to them, their income going towards the upkeep of the students and their teachers. In later times, quite in accordance with the earlier spirit, libraries were also kept in parts of the mosque, and some mosques had very large libraries attached to them, containing upwards of 100,000 volumes.
(d) Music, Folk Dancing and Poetry Recitation in Mosque:
Aisha said, " One day I saw the Messenger of Allah at the door of my apartment and the Abyssinians were sporting (dancing and singing) in the mosque " (Bukhari 8:69)
Hassan ibn Thabit was reciting a poem in the mosque when Caliph Umar prohibited him. On this Hassan called Abu Huraira to bear witness that he used to recite poems in the mosque in the presence of the Holy Prophet. According to a report in Tirmidhi, the Holy Prophet used to ask Hassan to refute in verses the scurrilous attacks made on the Holy Prophet by his enemies in their poems, and this was done in the mosque.
(e) Mosque used as Hospital: -
Aisha said: " Sa'd was wounded in the median vein of the arm in the battle of the Ditchi and the Prophet ordered a tent to be set up in the mosque, so that being near he might visit him ". (Bukhari 8:77)
(f) Mosque used as Inn: -
Anas reported that a party of 'Ukl' came to the Prophet, and they were lodged in the Suffa .