They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It is.
I opened an email from a friend and it was pictures of Muslims praying in different parts of the world. For me, there is nothing more inspiring, uplifting and hopeful than the sight of muslims praying in congregation. It gets me every time.
I never used to attend the Eid prayer when I lived in South Africa. When I moved to Australia that changed. Eid prayer ws something the whole family attended here. We got to Kings Park and the weather was beautiful. All my friends were dressed up, the young kids playing, screaming, showing off new clothes, the taqbeer over the loud speaker, people hugging, smiles everywhere and then we stood up to pray. We stood, every ethnicity you could think off, dressed in every colour of the rainbow, fathers, daughters, grandparents, mothers, sons we stood together as one. Nothing else mattered. I have never heard a more melodious voice than the Imaam’s that day, I’ve never felt so united, so at peace than at that moment.The noises of the playing kids and the screeching babies faded, I closed my eyes and prayed with my community. There were tears in my eyes as we turned our heads in salaam, ending the prayer. It’s a prayer I’ll never forget.
Praying together is such a powerful feeling. Standing before our creator as one Ummah, it made me wish we did it more often. There are five times Salaah prayed in all of our mosques Alhumdulilah but yet the women’s sections tends to be empty. I guess the reasons for that are plentiful, from the lack of space to the discouragement from some people of women attending prayer.
I imagined… The mosque, the centre of our community. Place for both men and women, proper wudu facilities, clean, welcoming. Families coming together for prayer, meeting other families. Young kids playing around while we all gather and prepare for the prayer. Mothers shushing young one’s while the adhaan is called. We all stand together, shoulders touching and bow before our Lord. The Imaam gives us a small talk, today it is about how merciful Allah is. The prayer is over, some have to rush to work, others linger and chat, others remain for a class. On the weekends, the young kids have soccer in the field next door and the families come to watch, we all pray Zuhr together and then there’s a sausage sizzle. The teenagers rush off for their Arabic classes and the women their parenting classes and the old men sit around drinking tea and talking politics. The Mosque is a buzz of activity at any given time. It’s the place we all come together. Our Imaam is there to guide us and his door Alhumdulilah is always open, if you hungry and need a meal, there is a small kitchen which somehow never runs out of food, there is a small room which travellers can always use for a good nights rest. You see the mosque is the cornerstone of our community. It is the only solution to our disunity. In desperation we need to revive the mosques, because it will revive our communities, it will bring us together, it will make Islam a part of our life because the mosque will be our cornerstone.
I would love to see a community like that. It is what I strive to create. I believe it is what we should all strive for. I need to stop imagining and start doing.