Raising Expectations


The call for the prayer was being made from the mosque in Makkah in Saudi Arabia. This is one of the most holy places for Muslims. Five times a day they pray facing in the direction of Makkah which houses the first place of worship ever built. As I walk swiftly through the crowded streets of this ancient city I notice the shopkeepers lowering their shutters on the shop fronts and the stall are just being covered with tarpaulin. The stall and shopkeepers will also join in the congregational prayers and leave the shops and stalls unattended I found this remarkable. People trusting others and not worried about stealing.

Perhaps this is quiet understandable as most people here come to worship, enrich their spirituality, re connect with their lord. They have travelled thousands of miles to make pilgrimage, to refresh and reinvigorate their faith. Therefore they can be trusted. So here we see the direct impact of one’s faith in the Divine Lord being practised on the streets. Faith making the pilgrims honest and trustworthy.

I noticed something similar to this in Iran. On the streets of Tehran every 500 metres there is a charity collection box very similar to the old car parking meters. I was told that they collected millions of pounds of charity annually through these boxes. This was most amazing as the boxes were neither vandalised nor ever broken into. I wonder whether British charities like Barnabas or BBC children in need would ever put up collection boxes on the street? If people can be trusted so much in Makkah and Tehran why can’t we trust them in London or Nottingham? Could it be that we have low expectations? The media and the entertainment industry through the glorification of violence in films and glamorisation of crime have created a culture of cynicism and mistrust. I think we can overcome this by raising expectation and trusting one another more. The prophet of Islam warned against this “a time will come when a person sitting next to one will be regarded as a suspect”. Let us begin to trust one another and bring down the mistrust.