Since tomorrow is Maal Hijrah I think it is appropriate for me to herald the day with a small Surah which we all recited with impunity during our younger 'mengaji' days without an atom of understanding .Even as late as 2 years back my comphrehension of this small Surah was rather 'hijacked' by an Ustaz teaching in one of our local surau during one of those so called post maghrib teaching sessions
"Have you seen him who denies our religion ?It is he who harshly repels the orphanAnd does not urge others to feed the needyWoe to those who praybut are heedless of their prayers Who put on a show of piety ,but refuse to give even the smallest help to others 
We were then on the rudiments of ablutions and concentration and focus in prayer .I think now the ustaz used this surah ,specifically ayat 3 and4 and 5 inappropriately.The 'big ' picture view is most of our problems now stem from the fact that from the personal level , the 'glocal' level [ to paraphrase that guy of Altantuya fame] and the global level ,we present day muslims are quite 'heedless' of our prayers .Otherwise today,on the day when president Bush et al just begin his Middle eastern tour with arrogant disdain we in the muslim world would not have to wait on like beggars waiting for pittance and mussels to fall down from the President's High table .When we pray, even for years ,we are heedless of the true meaning of our prayers ,We recited the shahadah some 9 times a day ,zikr several thousand or million times a year but our hearts remained hollow and unmoved by countless miseries ,hunger ,unfairness within our neighbourhood ,within nations and within our brotherhood .Brother muslims elsewhere continued to be slaughtered worse than lowly animals ,poverty and hunger rampant within our midst while we continue to discuss the impropriety of doing our ablutions this way and that way !
I believe it is Surah like the above that had empowered the early muslims to dominate almost three quarter of the known world in our "early "years , morally ,physically and intellectually.Can then we be angry with Allah with our present state of affair? .Beggars waiting for crumbs and mussels falling down from the President's High table.
Dr Nik Howk. 9 Jan 2008