Tuesday, August 31, 2010

5 Tips for the Night Prayers

Now that the last 10 days of Ramadan are here (wow!), I thought I should rehash some of tips on how to attend the night prayers at the mosque during this holy time.

Tip 1: It is not a hurdles competition.

I know that there is a reward for being in front of the mosque. The closer you are to the front, the greater the reward, so the saying goes. Having said that, if you want to go to the front of the mosque, COME EARLY!

I am sick of people in overflowing robes coming late to the mosque and the bumping my head off as they try to leapfrog into a more 'rewarding' position. Must be a 'calculating muslim syndrome'.

Tip 2: You are not having dinner

I remember getting a chain email long time ago that if you want to show you appreciation to an Arab host, you burp to signal that you have enjoyed your meal. I have no idea if this is true or not. However, the mosque is not a dinner table nor have you been invited to a meal. I am speaking of course of the famous 'biryani burp'.

Yesterday I moved up (see tip 1) after 8 rakats to get closer to God. And then stood next to an uncle who kept 'burping the Ameen' for the next 12 rakats. As for my salaat, alas I spent less time contemplating on the meaning of the Quran and more time on fantasizing if I can order a hit on this guy.

Seriously, if you are going to stand for long time, control what you have for your iftar. An iftar is not another word for a 12-course meal.

Tip 3: Allah loves cleanliness.

And for muslims, cleanliness is half of faith, as told by the Prophet.

And besides, nowadays we all have Tide. Heck, even the Dollar Store has a cheap detergent you can use.

I know you are very worried someone will steal your precious "Timmi Hilfigur" socks (or else it's playoff hockey time and you haven't taken your socks off as you are winning - remember superstition is alien to Islam), but please, stop trying to kill other people when they are doing sujood, even though it is a blessing to die in sujood it is a greater blessing to have a long and virtuous life.

Tip 4: Stop scaring little kids

Children are a blessing, said the Prophet. When he used to pray, his grandkids would climb on his back and otherwise 'bother' him during his prayers, yet he never scolded them. Yesterday I saw an old uncle morph into a godzilla and scare the crap out of this little kid who had the misfortune of running in front of the dude while he was praying. I am sure that kid will have fond memories of the mosque in the future. Later on, when you are lamenting as to why the youth of today do not come to the mosque, it's because you have scarred them when they were the baby of yesterday.

Tip 5: Sleep first.

It's the NIGHT prayers. Most people SLEEP at night. That's why those who pray are doing something special. Note: pray. NOT SLEEP. If you have to sleep, please remain on your bed, not on my shoulder. There is actually a saying that you should not pray when you are sleepy. So either sleep before and then come to the mosque, or please stay in your bed.

To desi FOB uncles: If you follow the above tips, I am sure you can make your experience and the experience of the rest around you a lot better.


Achelois said...

You have the rare gift of saying the most important things in the most amzing manner. Loved this post! Funny and poignant!!

Lat said...

Hahahah....this is so funny!!! :D
Your five tips are excellent reminders,indeed! It's not just the womens' experience in the mosque that can be irritating,see men have them too! :) God is Just! :D

May God reward you for highlighting the importance of worship in the mosque.Ameen.

TManiac said...

LOL at the drawings, but well said and pointed out, mezba!!!!

rashed said...

That scaring kids away bit is very true (amongst other things you pointed out ofcourse). I saw this happen last jumah where an elderly 'raised' his voice to call upon a guy who had just went past someone praying. The poor guy probably didn't notice (he seemed innocent-looking), and was putting his shoes on. So you can imagine, he was at the other end of this (small) mosque. Everyone pretended not to look. The guy walked up politely to the man only to be confronted with an ugly lecture one would give to a teenager if he were to kick someone praying ...

It is said that you would wait some 90 or so years if you knew the punishment of crossing infront of someone who's praying and perhaps all muslims ought to know this if the hadith is strong and authentic. I just take that it is strong for granted, given so many elderly ppl make a big deal of it. But you can't be like this to the young ppl ...

Nadia said...

Hahaha, great post, Mezba!

After reading this, I think I'm very happy in the ladies' section :)

Muslim Girl said...

I second Achelois' comment! I should make a version for the woman's section... ughh.

Speaking of the walking-in-front-of-someone-while-they're-praying bit, from what I know, the Imam acts as a sutrah for you... so it wouldn't matter if someone were to walk in front since the Imam's sutrah is the sutrah of all those behind him.

It is only wrong when someone walks in front when you are either a) leading prayer for others, or b) praying by yourself.

Reference: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/117758

Also, if the one who is praying has not set up a sutrah, then it's permissible for the one who wants to pass in front of him to pass in the space beyond where he prostrates.

Ref: http://prepareforthehour.blogspot.com/2010/08/passing-in-front-of-someone-who-is.html


Anonymous said...

Hahaha. Very funny yet so true. I haven't gone for Taraweeh prayers for over 10yrs. It's sad how people *abuse* the rewards and blessings of the holy month. May Allah bless our fasts inshallah. sf

i-factor said...

Good one.. nicely said!

Azra S. said...

Your illustrations are brilliant hahaha :) Good tips too.

Abu Pokemon said...

I feel like stealing this post. Must steal this post .....

mezba said...

@Achelois, thanks! Praise from you is high indeed!

@Lat, I feel too many people are just bothered about rituals and the letter of the law, not the spirit.

@Taha, glad you enjoyed it! I had fun making them.

@Rashed, I am glad you brought up that hadith. I don't know if it's authentic or not, but I do take care not to cross in front regardless, unless it's by a distance. But what do kids know? :-) I feel there's two issues here. One is that parents should not bring young kids to the mosque who are not controllable, and yet people should not shout at those kids even if they are being mischievous. I have a story to tell you when we meet in London sometime about this, remind me, inshAllah!

@Nadia, I had a feeling you would say something like that! :-D

@Muslim Girl, I look forward to hearing about the women's section. Although from the Wife I get some nice details of the women's section - it seems they import real life soap opera there at our local mosque!

Thanks for the information on the sutrah. Interesting, I didn't know that's what it's called - 'sutrah'.

@Sf, you should come, especially to our mosque, I think you will like it!

@i-factor, thanks!

@Azra, :-D

@Abu Pokemon, I look forward to seeing this post in lego!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Mezba Dear:

You are too cute! Ramadan blessings to you and your family.

Comtesse de Villeneuve said...


love your blog. I actually lived in Toronto for a really short time when I was a kid. So this activates a lot of memories.

I'm not Muslim but I can identify with so many things you mentioned in this post alone, especially the scare tactics of older, "well-meaning" members of the congregation, never mind the pushing and shoving of congregation members who have to sit up front so the priest can see how virtuous they are. Having said that, our parents used to "threaten" to put us in the front seat if we didn't behave. It never worked. :D

mezba said...

@Safiyyah, thanks for the wishes. Ramadan has mashAllah been going on well. A very happy Eid Mubarak in advance to you!

@Comtesse de Villeneuve, thank you and welcome to my blog. I love how we all have similar traits, doesn't matter what religion or faith we profess. I am sure you can probably relate to my latest post too then!

mezba said...

To everyone, Abu Pokemon has put up a Legofied version (slightly altered) of this post on his website.

Anonymous said...

"..but please, stop trying to kill other people when they are doing sujood, even though it is a blessing to die in sujood it is a greater blessing to have a long and virtuous life." ROFL :D
Ah!! i'm so sorry..I'm not trying to spam your blog with comments..but the pics are epic!! :D

mezba said...

@Nasmira, :-)