My Masjid-Crawl Activity During Ramadhan

Hi guys! It’s been a long time since I last posted an entry on this blog and I am sorry about that! I was in the process of changing jobs and it took me quite some time to settle down. =)

Anyways, I thought I could share with you my experience attending Tarawikh (pronounced: ta-ra-weh)prayers during this Ramadhan month. I always try to explain the best I can when non-Muslim friends asked me what Tarawikh prayers mean. I say, it’s just a communal prayer that Muslims do during Ramadhan nights.

It starts the night before the first day of fasting, and ends on the night of the second last day of the fasting month. This is because the day starts after dusk, according to Muslim calendar. Maybe someone could verify this calendar bit for me as I have only heard of it (vs. reading about it in a reliable source).

Attending Tarawikh in KL is a bit different for me in a sense that I don’t know anybody in the masjids that I go to. Back in Ipoh where my family stays, I find the environment warmer as I practically know at least 30% of the ladies attending the prayers. In between prayers, we socialize minimally; asking about health, and work, and for me, the most overheard question would be on when am I getting married! =) Sometimes, socializing just means acknowledging each other’s presence through a polite nod, or a wave across the room.

We have a choice of doing 8 prayers or 20 prayers for Tarawikh. Most of the time, at the end of the 8th, you’ll see all the youngsters leaving the masjid; leaving the golden ladies with weak knees to continue until the 20th. This is also the time when we get to further eat – at an occasion fondly called “Moreh”. At Morehs, we get to eat our supper. Perhaps tea with cakes or sweet corn porridge. There’s also “better Morehs”, serving laksa or mi udang, as scheduled on the Moreh sponsorship list prepared by the masjid committee. This sponsorship list extends to the fast breaking session as well. Basically the week before fasting month, the community around a masjid will register their commitment to sponsor food for either the breaking of fast sessions, or the Morehs for the masjid. If you want to get on this list, you better do it in the flashest of flashes as it gets filled up rather quickly!

Even though as a “perantau”, I feel quite lonely to pray Tarawikh around KL, I found a new fun way of doing it – what I’d like to call “masjid-crawl”. Basically it has similar concept with bar-crawl, only that the duration extends to a month as opposed to a night. I would, with friends of similar fate, pray at different masjids and will try to cover as many areas as possible in the Ramadhan month. As a bunch of adults who live far from our family, this provides a consolation of some sort because when we go around different masjids, we will find something that reminds us of home. Perhaps the tap of the wudhuk place, the carpet colour, the curtain that separates the men’s section from the ladies’, the voice of the imam, the way the prayers are said, the fan, the heat – anything.

People in different masjids behave differently too. In a smaller masjid, such as those located deep in an old township, we find considerable socializing happening because people know each other. And it will be pretty obvious that we’re outsiders hence we often get “the look” that stamps “outsiders” on our foreheads. It’s not hostility or anything, but more of us getting extra attention. Sometimes they asked, “Which street do you live in? I have never seen you before”, or “Whose daughter are you?” Obviously they find it hard to fathom that we’re not connected to anyone there, live considerably far from that place, and that we happen to “pass by” and decide to “drop by”.

For big, magnificent masjids like the Masjid Wilayah, people from various parts of KL go there. So it’s like a big melting pot – like Mekah or something. The place is absolutely breathtaking and big, hence we got lost many times trying to find where the ladies’ section is – crisscrossing shyly across the men’s section, men’s toilet, garden, up the stairs, down the stairs before actually finding it. Sometimes you can see the ladies’ section from where you stand but have no idea of how to get there!

Between prayers, instead of socializing, people tend to sit silently and admire the architecture of the masjid, or the artwork of the prayer robe of that lady sitting right under the full-blowing air-conditioner. “Must be from Indonesia..” we always concluded.

So there you go. My masjid-crawl is an adventure I love to do all over again every time Ramadhan is here. Happy Ramadhan to all that celebrate it, and to all that enjoy the food fest it brings!

1 Comment so far

  1. Hafiz (unregistered) on September 24th, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    That’s an interesting concept.

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