Opportunities don’t knock where doors are not built.
Do you have a family tradition for Fridays or Ramadan or Eid?
It is strange that living in a Muslim country all my life, I rarely got to step in a masjid until ten years ago, even though my mother went regularly for Taraweeh. I had a fair knowledge of congregational prayers, thanks to the Islamic schooling that I had for 18 years👩🎓. In school, prayers were felt like a burden(okay I know many are rolling their eyes but let’s be realistic, our desi strict parenting/schooling is exactly what pushes children away from prayers and the masjid🙄). During wudu time, we were scolded for either wasting a lot of water or for not doing wudu properly because our limbs were not wet enough😅.
Fast forward to a few years later and lots of changes in life, most probably it was my parents’ duas that I found peace in the masjid. I heard my Quran teachers telling each other how they have finished all their housework so they can go to Shaikh Zayed mosque for taraweeh led by some famous Qari. I got home and asked my mom if she knew the Qari my teachers had mentioned? Like who is this guy? A celebrity? And do people actually drive to a masjid so far? We mother and daughter duo decided that the best way to find out is to actually GO there. We went, we heard, and our hearts melted. Our hearts melted just like hot glue melting from a hot glue gun. So by the end of that taraweeh, we were glued to that masjid😆. Like literally. Since that day, we made this Ramadan tradition of going to Shaikh Zayed masjid every single day for Taraweeh and for midnight Qiyam. I found joy in praying beside my mom in the congregation💓. I don’t know if she had the same feelings praying beside her nikammi (lousy) daughter destroying her ‘khushu’😁.
Fast forward few more years, Allah blessed me with Zainab and we took her to Shaikh Zayed mosque as newborn, so she could hear the heart-melting recitation. But what, we were informed that people with children pray in the open courtyard of the mosque. Like what? Seriously? It’s July. It’s the Abu Dhabi summer. It’s humid. It’s HOT. And who prays under the stars in today’s world?😶 Never mind, we did a half hour commute to get to the masjid so let’s pray. I went to the courtyard with the stroller and found it bustling. Mothers praying, strollers and babies with them, children running, giggling, it was bustling but serene. Prayers started and the world stopped. Stars above me, beautiful Quran in the atmosphere, giggles and thumping of feet of happy children running around, hundreds of dedicated worshippers with eyes filled with tears, clothes drenched in sweat or tears? It was beautiful. It was unique. Worshipping your Lord under the open skies. It reminded me of Haram. Of the Mat’af. And we got glued to the masjid even more.💗
Then Allah blessed us with Umar and you should see how he loves falling mashaAllah tabarakAllah (I think he might try sky diving one day🤸♂️). We had to rethink our masjid adventures. We didn’t stop but instead of going to Shaikh Zayed masjid daily, we started frequenting the lovely masjid near our residence and even though some ladies would shushhh and tutt tutt and comment how children don’t belong to the masjid, we didn’t stop.😏
Alhumdulillah Allah blessed us with Aisha this year and we decided to take her to Shaikh Zayed masjid for her first Ramadan. MashaAllah, we were still in the parking lot when we realized that there is no way that we will be able to reach the masjid in time. The one hour it took us to get ready, 5 minutes to leave the house, 5 minutes to load the car with our double stroller and the children, and then 30 minutes on the road and another 15 minutes for parking the car, 10 minutes for getting out of the car and getting the stroller and children ready and 10 minutes walking to the prayer area. Add that up and you realize it will take us more than 2 hours, by then two will need diaper changes and one will need a trip to the toilet and all of them will be hungry again🍼🍜🍔. We concluded that there is no way we can continue our masjid adventures. And as I was sulking at home, when everybody went for Taraweeh, asking Allah to make it easy and answering Zainab’s never-ending questions of why we cannot go to the masjid when we have been going for so many years, our building management decided to start taraweeh for ladies in the building party hall mid Ramadan. Allahu Akbar! So who thought we – a hormonal mother, a 4-year-old, 22 months old and a newborn – couldn’t go for Taraweeh? We went. And went. And went. And went and went.💪 Allah brought the masjid to us. Allahu Akbar!
May our hearts always yearn for the masjid. May Allah bless our feet to always head towards the masjid. May Allah bless us with children that find happiness in the masjid.
The Might of Pen
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