I started working a week before Ramadan. As much as possible, depending on work load and other office-related circumstances, Masood and I try to pray together. The mosque is small; it’s an office space actually. There’s a small space at the corner near the door, separated off from the rest of the room by a wooden divider, where women can pray in private. But there is only one entrance to the mosque, so I can basically see how many men are in the mosque.
Usually, there would be around 10 or 15 men during Maghrib, that’s when everyone comes down to the mosque to pray at the same time. Otherwise, there would be just 5 or 8 men praying. In the ladies section, there would only be two of us.
However, since Ramadan started, I noticed a few things:
- There is a sudden increase in the number of men and women praying: the mosque gets full now! Where were all these Muslims brothers and sisters before Ramadan?
- It is now common to see people sitting in the corner reading the Qur’an. This wasn’t happening at all last week.
- Women bring in their footwear inside the praying area. I mean, who’s going to steal them! All the people coming in to pray are professionals working in the same building.
- After As’r prayers, I find some men sleeping in the mosque. That’s okay, I guess. But when I start to pray, that’s when the snoring competition begins, and it is really a distraction.
- The restaurants on the ground floor have curtains on them, so that the food is not openly displayed, and you can still go in and eat if you’re not fasting.
- There is a tent put up for smokers. It is prohibited to smoke in public during Ramadan, so if you can’t resist the urge to smoke, do it inside the tent.
- We get to work only 6 hours! Others, like my brother-in-law for instance, work for only 5 hours each day.
- The traffic is horrible after As’r prayers, with everyone rushing to be home to break the fast. Drivers are irritable and impatient.
Nevertheless, I am grateful that I am spending Ramadan in a Muslim country with my family, and having to work less hours, Alhumdulillah.
How’s your Ramadan coming along so far?