Friday, 10 July 2015

Sisterhood of the Masjid....

“A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves” ― Jen Hatmaker

            Every Ramadhan, I learn something new. Last year, I learnt about sisterhood and simple blessings. I survived yet another ‘buka puasa’ at the mosque behind my house and enjoyed every minute of it. It warmed my heart to learn that even though I am just an occasional visitor to the mosque, the ‘regulars’ still greeted me like I was one of them.

         There was one incident, where a tiny ‘tiff’ broke out in the women’s section. That night, my girls and I were sitting quietly in the second saf (row), waiting for isya prayers. The women section was filling up fast as it was almost time for prayers. A lady (not a regular either) came from behind and told my 8 year old daughter to leave her spot and pray at the back of the room. My daughter called out to me and repeated what this lady said to her. I looked up and asked the lady calmly, “what is the problem?” This lady insisted that my daughter is too young to be praying in the same row as the adults and the word she used was “tak sah” (it’s not valid). You can imagine my irritation but I kept reminding myself that I was in a holy place hence I need to control my temper. I silently repeated my mantra ‘anger is a tool of satan’ then, I simply looked at this lady and told her flatly, “NO”. 

        I can see that she was taken aback by my answer. She kept telling me that it was wrong and not allowed so I asked her, “not allowed by whom?” She then made the mistake of saying “our religion said so”. Now, I am NOT an expert on Islam but if you want to use the religion against me or my family, you better be well prepared to be interrogated. Lesson #1, never quote religion unless you are absolutely sure of the verses or hadith to support your argument. Lesson #2, never mess with a heavily pregnant mother bear with her cubs. 

      So, I asked her to quote me the verses of the Quran or hadith which say that children are not allowed to pray in the same row as the adults. She couldn’t. By now, the regular ladies were already behind me. 

      I told this lady that as far as I know, children are allowed to pray in the same row as the adults. Furthermore, it is good training for my children and I can keep an eye on them. So, until she can come up with a more concrete excuse, I suggested that she leave us be and concentrate on her prayers. I heard a chorus of agreement behind me. As much as I wanted to smile out of happiness for the support that I received, I kept a stern face. Seeing she was out-numbered, the lady grudgingly retreated to the back of the room.

       “The Similitude Of The Believers In Their Compassion, Mercy, And Affection Toward Each      Other Is Like A Single Body. When One Organ Ails, The Whole Body Suffers And Reacts.”

     “The Faithful Are Like A Single Body: If His Eye Suffers, Then His Constitution Will Suffer; And If  He Has A Headache, Then His Whole System Will Suffer.”

            Somehow, a bond of sisterhood of the masjid was forged that night. The sisterhood consisted of the veterans as well as the young. The ladies didn't know me that well but that didn't stop them from coming to my aid. Their unconditional acceptance of me, touched me to the core. I felt humbled.

         This year, however, my schedule is being dictated by a very bossy 7 months old toddler. Bringing her to the mosque is not an option as her cries can be heard from two blocks away. I think that even the strong bond of the mosque sisterhood can’t save me from the wrath of the other ladies if I were to bring my baby. Hence, this year, I sat quietly at home . 

            Feeling rather blue, I decided to speak to the Wise Owl about not being able to the join the terawih prayers at the mosque and my inability to do other ‘extra’ things during the holy month of Ramadhan. The Wise Owl told me, “Sister, don’t worry too much because God wants you to concentrate on other things this Ramadhan. He is the best Disposer of affairs”. The Wise Owl said that instead of getting all stressed out about not being able to do the ‘additional’ things, it is better for me to try to perfect the things that I have been doing all these while. The Wise Owl also added that taking care of my bears cubs is also a form of worship since I’m doing it for the sake of God and it is even more meaningful in the month of Ramadhan. 

    Narrated `Aisha رضى الله عنها: Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم  said, “Do good deeds     properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” …
Sahih Bukhari

    Hurrmmm....the Wise Owl does have a point. This year, even though I miss the company of the sisterhood of the masjid, my heart is at peace. I learnt that it's not the quantity of the worship that counts but rather the quality. As mothers, we do what we can with the time that we have. Like the Wise Owl said, God is the best Disposer of affairs.  I no longer feel like a lesser Muslim. I still have the opportunity search for the night of power……InshaAllah..