Friday, August 17, 2012

Praying In The Rain

It was nearly approaching midnight when they walked out the door of their house. Thunder and lightning soared across the sky. “Mommy, I’m scared of the lightning,” said the six year old who looked very much like Dora the Explorer. “Don’t be scared, honey. Look, the lightning helps us see in the dark”, said her mother. Four ladies covered in black floor length abayahs (cloaks) with bright umbrellas and embellished flip-flops were half way down the driveway now. They were walking in one of the quietest neighborhoods in Dallas. Their street was quite dark indeed. Their block had only two street lamps. Since their umbrellas were taking up too much space, the ladies aged from six to thirty-seven walked in a line. It was a cute sight to see, although a bit strange. An onlooker would wonder where four ladies in black clothing were headed at such a late hour, especially in the pouring rain.

As they walked and chatted along the way, they unknowingly walked in to puddles of rain. They laughed in excitement every time the water tickled their feet. “Mama I got wet,” said the six year old. “It is okay honey, you are wearing flip flops, enjoy walking in the rain,” her mother said. They had now reached the corner of the mosque. The side streets and the parking lot of the mosque were full of parked cars. “Hurry up girls, we don’t want to miss the prayer for Laylatul Qadr” said their mother. The girls were very excited. Their mother had informed them that Laylatul Qadr is the night when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), and on this night the angels would descend down to earth.

They tried to open the door of the mosque but they could not walk in right away. The entrance was filled with people. They squeezed in through the entrance and tried to make their way upstairs to the ladies section. “There is no room up there”, said one of the ladies standing by the shoe shelves. They walked upstairs to peek in to the ladies section. The security guard stood firm and said, “there is no room. You can not go in”. The ladies section was so packed that it was a mere miracle for it not to collapse down. The windows had fogged up from the humidity of the people, thousands who were praying in unison. Thousands had gathered in one place for the night that is better than a thousand nights.

The mother and her daughters sat close to the entrance. The Imam was now reading a special prayer for the ending of the recitation of the whole Qur’an, followed by the prayer for Laylatul Qadr. They sat there on the green carpet, in their wet abayahs, opened their hands to the sky and said amin (amen) to the prayers. On the carpet, next to them was a three year old sleeping while her mom prayed. They saw familiar faces from the community as well as faces they had never seen before. They prayed to Allah to guide them on the straight path, to forgive their sins, and make them from the people of paradise.

When the prayer was finished they decided to head back home in the same pouring rain. They walked, talked and laughed. When they reached home and changed in to their pajamas the six year old said, “Mama, this was the best night indeed. I will never forget Laylatul Qadr and praying in the rain".

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