Despite it being Ramadan, we had not been to the masjid in a few days because my husband and I both had very early mornings- he had to work and I was starting my first days at Oklahoma Writing Project Summer Institute.The masjid is a magical place during the month of Ramadan. Not magical like Arabian Nights, but magical in a sense that it becomes a center of community attraction. Muslims are a diverse group of people. People from all over the world come to the masjid to pray Taraweeh prayers, additional prayers that are made after the required prayers, during Ramadan. There are people from Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon,Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, America and more.
Ramadan is a family affair. Generations of Muslims come to the masjid to pray. Seeing families arrive at the masjid and walk in dressed in traditional and cultural clothes some colorful others plain black or white is all part of the magic. Observing the elderly, assisted by the youth and the disabled being guided by their caregivers is apart of the magic. Each person all at the masjid for the sole purpose of connecting with Allah, God, something bigger than us all is a part of the magic. Hearing their feet scurry towards the prayer hall while the muezzin calls our hearts to submit to Allah and come to success by coming to prayer is apart of the magic.
During the night, Muslims stand unified, in prayer as a community, as nations and as a global presence, solely to listen to the pure guiding words of the Quran. Once we arrive the masjid can get really full. Those that can not stand, sit and those that can not sit still, due an overwhelming amount of youthful energy, run. It’s a lively atmosphere that can test your patience if you are not used to being around so many people. Oftentimes once people pray the obligatory prayers, you may hear cranky infants crying or jolly youthful females cracking up laughing over the newest picture posted on Snapchat. The younger men play volleyball or shot hoops when they are done praying. The older sisters, as female Muslims genuinely refer to each other as, share stories about their children or news from overseas. The older males don’t normally break from prayer to go talk. It is more of an obligation for them to pray in the masjid than anyone else so it is unusual to see them just sitting around at the masjid conversing with each other like you see the women and children on nights during Ramadan. One thing for sure is that no matter our nationality, ethnicity, or race when it gets down to it we are all the same. Each of us want to spend the month getting closer to Allah and visiting the masjid. We each value seeing people we haven’t seen in awhile and almost each member of the community feels the magnetic attraction to the masjid. It is the sweet, melodious nightly recitation of the Quran that unites our hearts. Someone that has memorized all six hundred pages of the Quran recites a portion of it during the thirty days of Ramadan. Many community members have also memorized the Quran so hearing the Quran causes voices to cease, hearts to listen and cleanse, relationships with God and the community to grow stronger and deeper and its recitation leaves you yearning for more. Everyday during the month of Ramadan, Muslims are called to fast and turn their thoughts to worship Allah and listening to the Quran and attending the night prayers is another part of that magic.
Jannah wanted to join her friend, who had also fasted that day. It wasn’t until I had watched Jannah give her friend her birthday gift, saw them hug, smile, and run off to prayer that I realized Jannah not only wanted to shower her friend with gifts to let her know she was thinking about her, but she also wanted to stand in prayer and listen to the words of the Quran. She wanted to connect with someone her own age.
Connection with something bigger than ourselves and community is what it is all about and although I was even more exhausted, it was all worth it. We are the only Muslims in our family and I know how it feels to want to discuss a long day of fasting, or a line I have read in the Quran with a sister in Islam. Ramadan only comes once a year and it is a time to not only get closer to Allah by fasting, reading Quran, and praying but Jannah’s desire to go to the masjid reminded me that it is also a time to share time with friends and the community.
How is your Ramadan going? Can you relate to my experience? Please like, share and leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.