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The 12 Online Congregations

Praise be to God. There is no other god except God. If we want to make our online Friday sermons more interactive, and to make our online community more closely connected to one another, so that you can also communicate with on another within what is righteous, this has to be done within God’s laws, without breaking any of God’s laws. And the obvious answer for ys to achieve that closer communication is to make the Friday Sermons live online, where you would also be connected live, sort of like a live Zoom meeting. However, that is sort of not possible, because we live in different Time Zones and when the Noon time comes in Europe for example, it is dawn time or night time in America and east Asia, and that would break the laws of the Quran which tell us that the Friday Sermon is done during the Noon Time on Friday. So, the question arises, “In order to have an online live Friday Sermon together, how big can the geographical region be before we break the laws of the Quran?” Now, before we answer that question, first we need to establish how much the Noon Prayer can be delayed after the sun reaches the highest point, and still be within what the Quran allows?

Well, first of all, we need to realize that the smallest unit of time mentioned in the Quran is the hour. There are no minutes or seconds mentioned in the Quran. What this means is that in the past people would consider measuring time periods shorter than one hour just unnecessary. They would not be able to determine when the sun reached the highest point more precisely than one hour. Even today, the people who are very good at using the sun for telling time, if they don’t use any tools, only using their eyes, they will not be able to tell time more precisely than within one hour. They can not tell you what minute it is, only what hour it is. This means that, in practice if the call for the Friday prayer is made within one hour of when the sun reaches its highest point, then it is still precise enough, which is why it is perfectly fine for us to start the Friday Sermon at 1 a clock for example, even if the sun reached its highest point at 12:25 for example. So, there is always one-hour flexibility at least, but is there more flexibility? Well, obviously the sermon during Friday has a certain length of time before the actual noon prayer is done on Friday. So, how much can that sermon last? Well, in practice we do it within 15 or 20 minutes, if possible, but what is the absolute limit, according to the Quran. Well, the best Friday Sermons are the ones which were spoken by prophet Muhammad, and the best of what he had to say was the Quran itself, and the Quran is split into Suras for a specific reason, so that the speeches would be within the length of the allowed time. So, the longest sermon in theory can be as long as the longest Sura. The longest Sura in the Quran is Sura 2 which lasts about 2 hours. So, the absolute limit of how long a sermon can be is 2 hours. Of course, we limit it to much shorter than that, because our speeches can never be as important as what God had to say, but even a perfect and important speech would be limited to 2 hours, and the noon prayer would come at the end of that.

So, the noon prayer can be done two hours after the sun reaches its highest point, and it would still be considered the noon prayer, plus the one hour inaccuracy which we mentioned earlier, that means that if we do the actual noon contact prayer within 3 hours of when the sun reaches the highest point, it is still perfectly considered the noon contact prayer. This means, that if we have to do the Friday sermon together live as an online meeting, we need to make sure that everyone in that meeting can do his noon contact prayer on time, within 3 hours of when the sun reached the highest point at his location. Now, if we are also going also to organize the online meeting at specific hours, for example, 12 a clock or 1 a clock, or 2 a clock, instead of 12:45 for example, because it is easier to remember full hours, then that would actually take care of the 1 hour inaccuracy which also existed anyway in the past before clocks existed, and this means that the time difference between the locations who want to hold the Friday sermon together can not be larger than 2 hours. This means that two merged Time Zones can do the Friday prayer together live online, and be able to talk to each other, but not more than that. So, for example, if the clock in Prishtina is 1 a clock, and in London, it is 12 a clock at that same time, then we can do the prayer online together, but people in the United States would not be able to join us at the same time in the online meeting, and still do it within their noon prayer allowance. So, if we wish to have live meetings during the Friday Prayer, we must necessarily split into different congregations which hold separate meetings, but because it is online, we should not split more than we need to.

So, basically, we need to keep the maximum unity which is possible without breaking the Quranic laws. And the maximum unity for Friday live online interactive sermons is two Time Zones merged together. This means that for the purposes of doing the Friday sermons online at the same time, we must split our global community into congregations which are in the same two conjoined time zones, not more, not less. So, because there are 24 basic Time Zones, this means that we must split our online community, into 12 congregations, not more, not less. Not more, because that would be unnecessary division, and division is prohibited in the Quran, and not less, because then we would not be able to do the noon contact prayer on time. So, this forces us to split the online community of submitters into exactly 12 online congregations. And you can see now the symbolic aspect of verse 7:160 which tells us how God split the Children of Israel into 12 tribes, where each tribe had their own spring of water. The water here symbolizes the spiritual food, the religious duties, which are the nourishment for the soul, just like the water is nourishment for the body. And by the way, this separated water comes from the ground which symbolizes organized religion. The water which falls as rain from the sky symbolizes the unorganized religion, which is harder to reach. While the water which comes from the ground is more reachable. Similarly, organized religion is more reachable. Anyway, so if we are going to do the Friday prayers live online together in the future, we will be forced to split into exactly 12 online congregations. So, let’s define those congregations now.

Here is a map of all the Time Zones of the world:

and we will need to merge them two by two – each online congregation consisting of two Time Zones. But before we do that, let us make a small correction to this map. Here in this map, Alaska and Hawaii are in the west, but that is only because this map was designed by people who considered London to be the center of the world, which is not true. The Quran says that the Quran was revealed to a central community, which is Mecca. Now, if we slide the map sideways to put Mecca in the center, then we will end up with Alaska and Hawaii in the east. See map below:

So, Hawaii and Alaska are to the east of Mecca, not to the west of Mecca. And do you know what this means? This means that the so called international date line, which is the left red line in the map below, should be pushed to the right red line, the edge of the map.

And this means that what the people of Alaska and Hawaii call Friday in Alaska, it is actually Saturday, if we use the Quranic definition. So, the true Friday in Hawaii and Alaska is what the Hawaii and Alaskan governments call Thursday. So, in Hawaii and Alaska, people have the day of the week wrong by one day, and we must do the Friday prayer, when it is truly Friday, not when the governments say that it is Friday. Anyway, other than those two places, the rest of the world have their days of the week correct. So, in the rest of the world, the true Friday is on Friday.

Anyway, now, let’s define the twelve online congregations simply by merging each of the two nearby Time Zones together. So, ok, here we did it in the map below:

So, now we have a map of the world which is split into twelve online congregations. Let’s give them approximate labels so we can remember them easier.

Obviously the names do not fit perfectly, but they are just labels for identification. But the colors on the map show which regions fit in which online congregation, and there are exactly 12 of them. And by the way, they do not have to come into existence all at the same time. It does not make sense to create congregations with insufficient numbers of people. One way to understand verse 8:65 in the Quran is that the congregations of the past needed to have at least 20 submitters to have any chance of success, and this was until the time of Prophet Muhammad. Nowadays, we are weaker believers, and according to verse 8:66, for a congregation to have any chance of success, it must have at least 100 submitters in it. This means, that it would be a waste of time for us to establish congregations with less than 100 submitters. So, God willing, what we will do, is that we will wait until there are 100 people online with us from any of these regions, and then establish a congregation for that region. So, whenever any of these regions reaches 100 people, that is when we establish the Congregation for that region. Establishing that congregations means that we will set up the objective criteria from the Quran about who is the best qualified to be the Online Congregation Director for that online region, and then appoint him to be the Online Congregation Director for that region. And he will only have administrative authority for the online aspects, not for the real life aspects. Those real life congregations are separate congregations. So, basically there can be exactly 12 online congregations of believers who do the Friday prayer together online, but in real life, there can be as many congregations as there are cities. Basically each city can have its own congregation, whenever the number of submitters reaches 100 people in that city, and they will also have their Congregation Directors, which do not fall under the authority of the Online Congregation Directors, and neither do the Online Congregation Directors fall under the authority of the real life Congregation Directors. Each congregation is independent from one another, and people can be part of the online congregation in their region only for as long as they do not have a real life congregation in their city. So, in the future, there will be 12 online congregations, and thousands of real life congregations, all of them independent from one another. They will not have a common so called religious leader, besides God’s messengers. Let’s get reminded again about our hierarchy:

and you can see here that the congregation directors are all on the same hierarchical level and independent from one another. So, each of these congregations can be online or in real life, but for example just because one Online Congregation might call itself the Australian Online Congregation, it does not have authority over the Sydney real life congregation. So, when there are 100 submitters in Sydney, for example, we establish a Congregation there, and they stop attending the online Friday sermons. The authority of the Australian Online Congregation is only online, and it does not extend in real life. They can cooperate freely if they wish, but they do not have authority over one another. And by the way, this division for practical or geographical purposes, will help to keep the unity of religious issues.

See, one of the reasons for the creation of religious sects is that people did not divide the congregations correctly, or usually they tried to keep the unity by force. The dominant people for example insisted that the rest of the people should be with them forcefully united, which was often unfair, and then the weaker side found a religious excuse to separate from them, and then created their own religious ideas and so on. So, basically, this administrative division which is proposed here according to the Quran, will help keep the unity in religious aspects. Anyway, regarding the non-online congregations, they extend only within one city, because of travel limitations, which God willing, is explained in another sermon how far that can be. But, online, you don’t have to travel, and the limitation is caused only by the length of time during which the noon prayer is allowed to be done, and that limitation leads to exactly 12 Online Congregations worldwide, but those Online Congregations will come into existence one by one in the future, whenever the number of submitters reaches 100 people in any of those regions, but for now let’s get back to our current situation. We do not have 100 people in any of these 12 regions yet. We only have one global online congregation for now, so we are forced to prerecord Friday sermons, and send them earlier to be opened during the noon time on Friday. However, for the purposes of getting to know each other, we can have temporary once or twice a year live Introductory Friday Sermons, where we will be connected through a live video chat, all of us at the same time. However, we have to be aware, that for some of us it will be the Friday Prayer, and for others it is just going to be a meeting.