Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Some days you will never get back. Ninnevah

My earliest spiritual memory, now that's an interesting topic. Every child from a fairly practicing family background would no doubt have the obligatory toddler in prayer clothes, holding prayer beads or lying face down, flat on a prayer rug. But that is far from the first "spiritual experience."
I remember going to eid prayers and the excitement involved with wearing new clothes, receiving lolly bags and getting to play with other kids my age. Again that does not add up to a spiritual experience. After that I remember going with mum and dad to taraweeh prayers in Dubai, i was probably in grade 5 at the time. I had my back pack full of crossword puzzle books and coloured pens, but I also wore brought my prayer scarf and tried to stand in line with mum for the first part. I use to day dream until my legs gave way and I needed to sit down. Or sometimes even lie down and fall asleep. But I remember day dreaming about the days of the Sahabah, and how they use to interact with the prophet s.a.w. I would imagine I was there as well. Watching Abu Huraira interact with his cats, watching the people in Medinah climb and pick dates off of the palm trees. Watch the prophet s.a.w having dinner while only helping himself to the food in front of him. This is what would be going through my mind while listening to the calm quranic recitation of the imam during taraweeh/qiyam prayers. It would make me feel relaxed and fulfilled. This was my childish version of spirituality. 

As I got older I would be able to control my mind a little more and would focus on the words being recited. I would be able to follow the stories of Khidr and Yusuf. While breathing in the heavy smell of bukhour, enjoying the feel of the plush carpet on my forehead, and heavy women with cold feet stepping on my toes every time a row reshuffles. 

The strongest spiritual experience would have to be during the last few years of highschool. I was proud of my attachment to the mosque but not proud enough to let my ego seep through. I would look forward to those late nights in Ramadhan, to being amongst others with the same aspirations of trying to stay up as late as possible, sharing dates and yogurt for a pre-qiyam snack, reciting from our own mini mushafs. Booking your place in the front lines of the women's section, making sure no one else sits right over your prayer mat. Also trying to strategically be within the right angle to receive the air conditioning flow but also where the ceiling lights won't be too bright. The best place was were they fixed up temporary partitions to extend the women's section by borrowing a few meters of the men's side. This only happened during Ramadhan. And even when it was too crowded and we couldn't make it on time, there would be carpets laid out outside and parts of the carpark sectioned off for the women. Sometimes within temporary heavy sheeted tent wall with no ceiling. That way, when you were making dua, if you happened to have the guts to look up, you could see the stars over you, as you hear the waves of voices saying Ameen. The thought that during the last third of the night is when the Almighty descends to the lower skies and to be right there with no barriers between yourself and the sky. That is a thought that makes you feel so insignificant. That you begin to think twice whether your duas are worthy of His attention. It's enough to reduce you to tears just to be there. Where you start to only think of thanking Him rather than going through that long list you prepared at home of things to ask for. And at the end, everyone else is just as emotionally drained that most people initially avoid eye contact, but then you realise we are all in the same boat.

1 comment:

  1. Your article reminds me of my childhood taraweeh experiences. I dont want this published.I just didn't know how else to do this. I actually started looking for you because I remembered your mom a few days ago.just wanted to know how you and your mom are doing.