According to a decree by the NWFP Govt, collective prayers have been made compulsory for Govt servants, and businesses through out the province have been ordered to close down during prayer timings. Though this move by the MMA Govt is apparently aimed at making better Muslims out of the people of the province, but whether it would achieve its objective is a big question to be answered in the days to come. Earlier also in the early 1980’s, an attempt was made by the Govt of Gen Zia ul Haq to enforce the observance of prayers but the step could not go a long way.
Though nobody can deny the importance of maintaining discipline and regularity in offering prayers, but then it would be more appropriate for a person to offer his prayers voluntarily rather than out of the fear of his boss or the police. The MMA Govt would have done better to attend to the menace of bribery which is so common in Govt offices that many Govt servants have started considering it tacitly allowable in the religion, supporting their arguments with flimsy excuses.
It is issues like bribery, nepotism ,favoritism and lack of social justice in our society that are the real threat to the good name of Islam.. If the religious leaders feel that making people say prayers would eliminate these vices automatically then they are living in a fools paradise.
A glance at a typical prayer congregation in a mosque would reveal that the more corrupt Govt officials are the ones taking the front row ,and many of them even carry a ‘Tasbeeh’, which they think is an antidote to the sins they commit in the form of accepting bribes, entertaining nepotism and trampling the rights of the helpless.
If the MMA Govt really wants to serve the cause of Islam they should sort out their priorities ,in that, they should set examples in fair governance, honesty, simplicity, keeping their promises and inspiring the people with their deeds rather than their prayers. When that is done the people would automatically follow them to the mosques; and no orders would have to be promulgated for it.