Blast at al-Taqwa Mosque in Tripoli, Lebanon

The mosque in Islam is known as a place of prayer. Since the very inception of Islam it has also been a place of death, indeed murder. It is reported that Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, was killed as he was praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq by a fellow Muslim. Today in Tripoli, Lebanon, explosions at two mosques killed at least 27 people and injured hundreds. One of the blasts occurred near the al-Taqwa Mosque, where a Salafi preacher was praying, in the Abu Ali Square as those attending were leaving following Friday afternoon prayers. Another blast hit the al-Salam Mosque in the center of Tripoli. The reason? Yet another repeat of the intra-Islamophobia of one group of Muslims politically opposed to another group of Muslims.

When Ali was hit with a poisonous sword blade, he urged his sons and followers not to seek revenge on the Kharijites, the group to which the man who attacked him belonged, but to the man himself. But Ali was a better man than his followers. It seems that the attack on the Sunni mosque was tit-for-tat for the blast earlier this month in southern Beirut in the stronghold of Hezbullah. And the cycle continues, not only here, but in Iraq where it is almost a daily occurrence this summer.

There is a twisted logic here, the notion that someone who is clearly of the same religion is also someone that can be mercilessly slaughtered at prayer. Is there no one who will pray for peace and who will set aside political partisanship to work for peace? Christianity went through this violent phase, political to the core, in Europe, but has survived. I sometimes wonder if those who carry out these deadly attacks have even a modicum of belief in the power of the God they worship. Is Allah so feeble that prayer is useless and that a man deserves to die as he is praying to the same God? Is the Prophet Muhammad so little an example of the complete man (insan kamil) that a Muslim can dare to kill a fellow Muslim for a political reason? When did Muhammad do that? Indeed, when did Ali do that?

Over a century ago Friedrich Nietzsche offered a fable on the death of God. A madman ran around saying that God had died and that “we” had killed him, leaving the churches as sepulchers to mourn his death. With every mosque blast, every bullet buried in the chest of a fellow Muslim, every death breath of poison gas, every wish to kill a fellow Muslim, and every act that anyone takes to judge what only God can judge, it is Allah that is being attacked as well. Is it not time to stop making a mosque a tomb and keep it sacred for prayer?