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Monday, September 06, 2010
The Night of Value ليلة القدر
It is known by many names, mostly Laylat al Qadr, the day the first verses of the qoran were revealed to the prophet.
A long day it was yesterday as well; it started right after Iftar, @ 6:30 i picked up a friend from Salmiya and headed over to Ahmadi, a place ive heard of but never been to before, for Rugby practice. All went well, was a tad late but hey, its always good to be fashionably late! Training lasted for about an hour, and we were done by 8:20, which was just-in-time for me to dust off, change, and head on over to Movenpick Al Bida'a in Salwa for a company function, a ghabka. On this, the holiest of nights!
"A wizard is neither late nor early, but arrives precisely when needed..", I had to be there by 9:30, i was there by 9:20. Showed up, said my hellos, smiled, nodded, waved etc. Count-down begins, I had to haul out by 10:30 to have enough time to make it back home, shower, and be out the door again for the grand mosque! All in all, I made perfect timing.
The Ambiance at the Grand Mosque is humbling. It is true, all mosques are gods house, but the spirituality of praying amidst thousands of others is awe inspiring. Despite being early (prayer starts at 12:15, I was there by 11:10) the doors to the inner sanctum sanctorum were closed, so we had to make due with praying in the court-yard beneath the night sky.
The mosque patrol as I like to call them, were out in full force, ensuring adequate provisions of water were made to the public, and regulating the flow of traffic. However, I do not believe that all of them should be walking around waving their fancy batons like light-sabers and having their walkie-talkies beep during the actual prayer. Once people are praying, join them! For the love of Ramadan, Ramadan only comes by once a year!
Now, here comes the Rant, here comes the Rant!
I choose to park a good distance from the mosque to make the journey home quicker. Prudent Planning. I make it a habit to show up early enough to guarantee myself a decent parking spot. But what really glazes my donuts is the inconsideration of some people who, show up late, and decide to seal off the parking spots by parking DIRECTLY in the middle of the exit. Meaning that you, the person who had the foresight to arrive early, now must wait for the tardy one in order to leave. The worst thing is, they blame it on prayer, their response is, 'sorry I was praying', well so was I, but I made it here on time. No one respects anyone else, they feel they are free to do as they so wish, that the end justifies the means. However, it is in our teachings that your freedom ends when it violates mine.
Thats part 1.
Part 2, the River of Black, as evident in the pics I was able to snap, pardon the quality, I left my camera with my colleagues at the function and so had to suffice this night with my trusty n97 5MP. It may not be apparent in the pics, however the road next to the mosque was segregated by a shield of human volunteers to keep the men-folk away from the women-folk. For the love of Ramadan! I just came out prayer, who am I? Gropey McGrab?! Whats worse is, most of the men were parked on the other side of the street, near the banks, but the foolhardy volunteers were not directing traffic as much as they were separating apples and oranges. We ended up having to walk half way to the Library before the chain of volunteers ended and the Blacks mixed with the Whites (FYI not a racial slur, but a truth, the women are clad in black, and the men are dressed in their white dishdashas), I had to endure a comment of "Shenu tsawoon? Shfeekom? Ma yseer Tchithi, Wein el reyoula? (What are you doing, whats wrong with you, this is not right, where are your manners)..
I respect women. I believe in the ladies first concept, always. BUT, BUT, BUT, theres a limit! How many "ladies first" can you spew out when they are flowing like a stampede? And whats worse, they are not clumped up in groups, no. They are all in single file, you can't get through them, so in the end, and this was comic, you had the guys putting their hands on the shoulders of the guy infront of them so as not to be accused of indecency, forming a chain of tresspassers to get to the other side. That was fun.
No disrespect, but I dont think its necessary for me to walk miles out of my way because of the cattle mentality of just walking straight off down the road.
You want to know what it was like to try and cross that River of Black? Watch this stampede:
Not a good idea... I need a moment... *tears*
WHY SCAR, WHY?!
Now, last rant of the evening, shamelessness. Abraaj provide metric gallons upon gallons of water for the Grand Mosque goers. Some are at room temp, some are freezing cold (what I wouldnt give to be allowed to sleep in that walk in freezer one night!). On the way home, I pack two mini-bottles in my pockets, one for the road and one for my food. It is not a strange sight to see some guy walking off with an unopened carton as a momento of the occasion. Shameless, that it is, but its a guy, what can you do? Shamelessness runs in our blood. BUT, BUT, BUT, when you see this:
Women jacking water. What has the world come to? We live in a country were FUEL is CHEAPER than WATER. I personally, would be embarassed to walk off with a carton in my arm, much less a carton in one arm and a sling containing more in the other!
Oh wait, I forgot the catering! Some company offers boxes of food for the prayers, to serve as a sohour, the last meal of the day, however, it is not a strange site to see a dishdasha clad man walking off with four boxes on top of each other, toward his Cayenne.
Theres a saying in arabic, roughly translated to English it goes, "if its free give more to me".
On a side note: I got my ticket for the Masquerade Ball, now all I need is a date :P