Monthly Archives: September 2007

Ramadan Day 12

The mosque is a fascinating place really.  There are a few other mosques in town that service the outer lying areas, but the one that I go to is what we call the main mosque.   It’s been there a long time – my friends all grew up there and they are all as old as me so it goes back a ways. 

 It’s a very multicultural moosque. When the community here was just starting out, everyone banded together – there were no ethnic divisions…Arabs, Indo-Paks, Somalis, West Indians, etc…all gathered at this central mosque to worship.  That trend has continued to this day.  When you go there you see most of the Muslim ummah represented.  It’s very nice and inshaAllah it’ll continue this way.  The community has grown from a handful of families to thousands but what has remained the same is the sense that we all share in the future of the main mosque.

Now praying at the mosque always holds an element of the unknown….you walk in and wonder who the charming person will be tonight who will hold the congregation hostage while they have a temper tantrum.  Tonight during Taraweeh we had three of them.  

Man #1:  stood up during the break and berated the parents who let their children run wild in the mosque.  They pulled the fire alarm and were fighting in the entrance. 

Man#2: joined in and in broken English he threatened to kick out any children who were not by their parents side.  I have a feeling some kids got the smack down tonight.  Then later he stood up and told everyone who had a complaint about the imams’ recitation, how fast he recited, how many mistakes he made, how slow he was, how long his talk was during the break…that unless they were willing to tell the imam themselves, to keep quiet.  I guess people were using him as the go-to person for complaints tonight.

Woman#1: threw a tantrum about how long the imam’s talk during the break was.  I guess she was in a rush or something…

All this short tempered fun during 8 rakahs of Salah…not 20.  I can just imagine what they would be like after 20.   I mean I understand getting tired and a little annoyed.  I mean tonight I was squished between two ladies, one who smelled of stale curry and the other who was emitting heat like a furnace. But hey I’ve had it waaaay worse….trust me!   Can you imagine also what it’ll be like when Ramadan is in July?  Isha comes in at like 11pm some nights.  You know my request for vacation is already filled out in anticipation.  

Anyways going to the masjid tonight did the soul good like usual.  And for that I am grateful.

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Ramadan Day 11

So we’ve passed through the first ten days of Ramadan and I feel as though I want to backtrack a little and recapture some of the spent time.  I don’t feel as if I benefited enough.  I guess you can never really benefit enought though.  I have a little bit of time off right now so I am trying to make use of it wisely.  

Being alone has been difficult too.  I really do not like being alone during Ramadan and Eid.  I’ve tried it a numerous times and I always have the same reaction to it.  It makes such a big difference to me if I spend even 1/2 an hour with people.  I don’t know why…it’s frustrating really.  I feel like I should be strong enough in my faith to be alone and not get sad or lonely, but it is what it is.   

The imam for taraweeh at the mosque has been on this trip about people mashing their feet up against their neighbours feet when they pray.  He is so funny – he’s talked about it 3 or 4 times already.  He’s given us the fiqh of standing in salah, he’s talked about the sunnah, he’s implored us to stop being so rigid in our understanding (or lack thereof) of the hadith we read….My friend says she thinks people are challenging him on it and that’s why he keeps on about it.  So the other night he just flat out says “it’s bidah…don’t do it!”.  We have all kinds of people who pray at this mosque so I know some were silently cheering while others were fuming.  Fun times at the mosque. 

Anyways today I was supposed to go to the homestead but I am trying to recover from my night shifts and for some reason (could be the lack of food and sleep) it’s taking longer than usual.  So I stayed back and had a visit from a friend.  We had a nice visit – it’s a little wierd for me because usually when people would come over we would watch tv, talk, eat, etc….  This time there was no eating, no tv and we were like “ok….so what do we do now?”  Pretty funny.  We were going to go on a walk but then I was so tired and my allergies were so bad I probably would have fallen over after 5 steps and she fell asleep on the couch while I was talking to my parents so we just ended up staying in.  We found some quran on youtube and listened for a while.  We talked about her latest escapade in the world of on-line matchmaking services and then we picked up Thai food for iftar.  Then we watched a speech on halaltube – she fell asleep in the middle of it and then left about an hour ago (after I woke her up).  Now I’m getting ready to catch up on my sunnipath course and hoping that I don’t fall asleep.

Day 11 was woohoo…

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Ramadan Day 4

Just came back from my brother M’s house.  He called me at work and told me he would pick me up so I could have iftar with him and my youngest brother.  It was nice – his wife had cooked a leg of lamb, which was amazing.  I don’t eat a lot of red meat (actually hardly ever), and I know, I know, I ‘ve been told that technically lamb is ‘white’ meat (?)…but whatever-  it looks red to me.  I think I’ve had my quota for the next 6 months though.  I am kind of a chicken and fish girl.  Anyways it was nice to spend time with the boys.  They seem to be hanging in there and keeping it real – we may head off to hear my brother H lead taraweeh next weekend.  He’s about 2 hours away – every Ramadan he goes away to lead the prayers so we only get to see him on Eid.  I haven’t heard him recite in ages and I don’t have a lot of free time this month, so I hope we get a chance to go.

Yesterday I had the girls over – I made them a moussaka.  First time effort which I think turned out okay.  No one called me violently ill the next day which was good.  Alhumdullilah, seriously Allah is merciful.  I had to go out yesterday to do groceries, go to the meat store and to return some equipment to my cable company.  Okay so I tried to get this done on day 2, – I showed up to the cable store and the girl brought up my account – when I handed her over what I thought was the pvr she looked at me all confused …”ummm, ma’am…you just gave me your dvd player”.  Fasting…fasting…not allowed to swear…

Forced smile “oh…ha…yes well I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Sooooo….day 3 (prev post), called for another trek out to return the proper pvr box, remote, etc…. (NO MORE TV!! Woohoo …good riddance). Then on to the other shopping.  Took 4 buses in total, my physiotherapist is going to kill me for what I did to my shoulder, but it only took me an hour and a half!!!  Amazing.  I couldn’t believe how short a time it took.  Mercy. Straight from the Source of all Mercy.  I got home and managed to cook and clean in time for iftar and still have the energy to make intelligent conversation 🙂

We went to the mosque for taraweeh afterwards – I love going.  There is nothing like standing with everyone in salah.  We also called Saf on my brand spankin new phone card!  (I finally remembered to get one).

I worked a 12 hour day shift today – 7h30 to 7h30.  I was a little nervous because I know how tiring it can be when you are actually eating, but again the blessings of Ramadan…it went by so quickly and besides being sleepy all day it was pretty easy.  Quite a few of the docs are Muslim too so it was nice to have other people there who were on the same page as you.  My co-workers all feel the need to inform me that “God won’t care if you take a sip of water!”  I was like “Really?  Can I get this in writing?”

Another nurse was telling everyone ‘Ramadam’ is to commemorate when Mohammed (pbuh) took over Mecca and everyone ran around the big house seven times…

Me: Umm, no Kevin I don’t think so.

Him:  Yes it is!…

Me: No Kevin, really I don’t think so. 

Him: Yes…trust me it is…I googled it! 

Me: ah well then!

Another person comes rushing up to me: Ok…so there’s this lady who just came in and she got into a fight with someone and then passed out…can she have an IV if she’s fasting? 

Me: …Well first , that’ll teach her to get angry when she’s fasting, and second I’m no scholar but if she showed up at the hospital I think she wants to be treated…stop trying to be all PC…for the love of God if she wants fluids give them to her!”

I go to my happy place a lot when I’m at work.  In my happy place I am a princess and I wear a tiara and am graceful and lovely and at least 10 pounds lighter….

Off now to try and benefit from these nights of mercy.

Salaam Alaikum all….

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Ramadan Day 3

I feel like guano right now.  My allergies which have become a living breathing entity, are trying to kill me.  And I’m about to start a 2 hour trek across town – which could have been done yesterday except it wasn’t.  So it’s today.  With Saturday bus service.  I need to find my earphones stat.

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Ramadan Begins

Ramadan is here – I made it to another one!  I’m hoping I’ll benefit from it instead of just going through the motions.  I have a lot of things I want to try and accomplish this month – I’m exited to get it all going.  Even though I’m by myself again 😦  I find Ramadan can be very difficult when you are by yourself.  The worst for me is sahoor – I remember years ago I used to eat while listening to CBC overnight on the radio so I’d feel less disconnected.  I don’t know if it’ll be the same this year … I’m in a different, healthier frame of mind than I was back then so that is a good start I guess.  That’s the test – if I start tuning into CBC radio at 4h30 in the morning, I may need an intervention ! 

My schedule at work is hectic also so I’ll be breaking my fast like I did today – on the run…sipping coffee…running downstaris for maghrib…eating at my desk.  Fun times – but I have no real complaints.  When I was working with my JK class, I used to be there till 6pm sometimes, and back then iftar was at 4h30-5h00pm.  So I had to break my fast and then try to get someone to cover my classroom so I could find a corner to pray in.  It was so stressful.  Also running a classroom with 16 4 year olds all day was one of the most tiring things I have ever done.  So this job is a cakewalk compared to that.

I think about Saf all the way in Korea by herself, and I hope she is okay- I keep encouraging her to get in touch with people, to go to the mosque, but knowing her she’ll just keep putting it off.   Anyways I’ve done all I can – I sent her some expensive coffee and a book.  That should pull her through.  I hope 🙂

So enough of the internet now – I have to go make use of the free time I have.

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!  Make du’a for me, as I will for you.

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Relection on the passing of a stranger

Last night was a particularly sad one at work.  We had a little old lady pass away – which in itself is not so unusual.  What was heart-renching was her husband.  He came and was so completely lost.  He was dazed, could barely make eye contact, he had almost shut down.  To make matters worse he was all alone –  it was just him and his wife living here.  Their child lived halfway around the world.

This poor man was so hard to watch – everyone’s heart ached for him when they looked at him.  We put him in a side room so he could have some privacy while his wife was being taken care of.  I went in to check on him after a while and when I looked through the window I could see him sitting there,  crying all by himself.   So I went in and sat with him for a while and held his hand and let him tell me about how happy they were together.  56 years of togetherness.  Through his tears he told me how fortunate it was that two days ago he had unburdened his soul of something he had kept from her.  And how much they had loved each other. 

I let him tell me how he kissed her goodnight.  How he woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  How he found her on the floor.  And then it was: 911. Help. Rushed orders. Hushed conferring.   I asked him if he wanted to call his daughter and he said “No, I don’t want her to worry”.  Always the parent, even now when the earth is tilting.  And then it was:  Say goodbye- hope she can hear. His pastor came in a little while later to sit with him.  I was glad because no one should ever have to go through something like this alone.  This is not the first time I’ve seen our frail elderly all alone, dealing with life’s urgencies, traumas, and heartbreaks without a loved one there by their side.  And for a moment I judged this child of theirs who had left her parents, to live halfway across the globe.  But you have to leave judging – we get glimpses of people’s lives, not the whole picture of a family’s story. My heart does go out to this man though…I wonder how long he will survive being alone, a half instead of a whole. 

When he went to leave he stopped by my desk and said “I’m leaving now miss.  She’s gone.”  And he walked away.

Funny thing this life.  When you’re single you cannot imagine living a lifetime with one person – becoming so much a part of one story, instead of two separate ones.  And when you’ve been together longer than you were apart- when you have known each other longer than not known each other – lived with them longer than you lived with your siblings, or your parents, you must not be able to imagine being single again.

Funny thing this life.

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A Fabulous Sunday

Yesterday our little city was blessed with two spectacular events.  We had Haji Noor Deen give us an Islamic Calligraphy workshop and we had a poetry reading by Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore.  It was a dream come true to have two such wonderful people visit us.

Haji Noor Deen demonstrated his amazing abilities – watching him was incredible…what he does seems so effortless.  He went into detail explaining the art of calligraphy, the Muslims use of it, and the mathematical precision required to produce works of fine art.  We managed to get about 20 people out to the event – which for this city is pretty good. 

At then end he gave Saadia, Anisa and I each a scroll which was so nice of him.  He truly is a gracious man.

The highlight of my day was the poetry reading.  Some local poets came out and gave us a sample of their work – we have some budding talent out there and it was nice to be able to give them some exposure.  The crowd was small but warm and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  I can’t even put into words how blessed I felt by having Daniel Moore and his lovely wife here.  They are such wonderful people – so full of light and love.  His reading included some chapters from Abdallah Jones and the Disappearing-Dust Caper, and poems from Ramadan Sonnets, Mars & Beyond, Coattails of a Saint…

I hope that we managed to show him how grateful we were for his time and energy.  It was truly a wonderful evening and I was full of emotion, overflowing with it, not able to express it adequately.

InshaAllah I’ll post some pics soon 🙂

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