Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ramadan continued...

So a few days ago I met some friends at a Syrian restaurant for Iftar. We chose this restaurant specifically because it was close to a particular mosque. This one. I always liked the design of this mosque and refer to it as “The Jetson mosque” because its architecture reminds me somewhat of that old cartoon.

The mosque has an English-speaking imam by the name of Bilal Philips and is one of two mosques where lectures are given in English (the other one being the Islamic cultural Center, where I went for Friday prayers a few months back). We weren't sure when talks are normally given so we guessed that there would be one after the Isha prayer [I may have the name of this prayer wrong] around 8pm. So after dinner an Egyptian friend and I went to the mosque. We got there a little bit early so we sat down on the carpet and read the Qur’an until it was time for the prayer. The mosque had a number of Qur’ans available in various languages so I was able to grab an English copy and continue reading where I left off at home.

As an aside, Bilal Philips is a Canadian who converted to Islam sometime in the 70s, and much like Dr. Zakir Naik, is also banned from the UK and probably a couple of other countries as well. Again, I haven't had time to look up exactly what's going on there, but a couple years back I did attend one of his talks on the Hajj pilgrimage (search my blog for “Hajj” and you'll find it) and I recall that he was critical of Muslims who have musical ring tones on their cell phones. I guess he comes from a school of Islam that considers music something best avoided. The feeling is not that uncommon, one of my Qatari friends is likewise the same about music and does not listen to it (but most do).

My friend asked one of the people working at the mosque if there was going to be a speech and unfortunately we found out that the speech was at 6pm, around Iftar, so we had missed it. We hung around for a while longer though so that my friend could do the Isha prayer. After about 15 minutes prayer time was called so I grabbed the Qur’an I was reading and went to the back so as not to disturb anyone. The prayer started and more people kept coming into the mosque -- when one saw I was reading the Qur’an on the floor he grabbed a lectern and gave it to me so that I could put the book on it. Oops, sorry about that. Guess you shouldn't read the Qur’an on the floor if there are lecterns nearby.

Anyway the prayer was finished and my friend and I left. Unfortunately I don't have any more time this Ramadan to attend one of the talks, maybe next year.

As for the fasting it is still going fine. I will confess to one slip, one morning I got up for work and was absolutely parched, which did not bode well since the day had just begun. I didn't want to spend the day with a headache from dehydration or something so I had a glass of water before going to the office. Only happened once though.

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