I promise this post will be short because I am trying to enjoy some Chicken Tikka Masala takeout. It's delish!
|I'm busy here!|
Here's what I did today organized in a numerical list, which is my way of trying to not ramble on for days. We'll see what happens.
- At noon, I walked on down to the mosque which is 4 blocks from where I work. I am so fortunate to be this close to a mosque, I really should make an effort to go more on Fridays especially. On these days there is a special prayer that takes the place of dhuhr, or mid-day prayer. It is preceded by a short (30 min) lecture called a khutba.
Today's khutba with Sh. Jamal Ben Ameur, recently returned from Mecca, was on the proximity of death—how it's approaching us before we're even created—and how to conduct ourselves to please Allah alone, even if it makes us "strange". This was nice to hear, because I am often the weirdo, especially when I go back to my hometown where I'm probably one of three white Muslims in the county, if that.
Jumuah (Friday) bonus: My friend's husband who sells produce outside the mosque gave me a box of mangoes. They were/are DELICIOUS. Free, wonderful, perfectly ripe mangoes. I shared them with my co-workers.
- At 4:00, I left work early to attend an event during Islam Awareness Week at the University of MN where I spoke on a panel of other converts/reverts. It was great to hear their stories which were so different from mine, and I got to share some things I don't tell people every day. Also, a good sandwich from Afrodeli which was nice! Thanks, AlMadinah Cultural Center!
- At 7:00 I snuck off stage and walked the 1/2 mile back to where I parked my car (U of M construction is CRAZY right now) and drove to a DIFFERENT mosque near Pleasantville (see Wednesday's post from this week) and went to a wonderful lecture on having khushoo', or concentration in your prayer. The teacher was funny but serious too and gave us some really good tips for how to prepare for, approach, and conduct ourselves in the prayer. Here's a few tips I remember off the top of my head:
- Change your lifestyle—you can't expect to go from being rude, unreliable, and untrustworthy to a respectful worshipper the second the prayer begins. It doesn't work like that.
- Know what you're saying in the prayer (you can't concentrate at a lecture in a language you don't understand, so you need to know the meaning of the prayer). I'll come back to this.
- Prepare for the prayer by getting ready early, dressing nice, and "powering down" by putting away the cell phone, closing the computer, turning off the TV etc. If you just texted your friend about dinner plans and then went into the prayer, you will be thinking about kabobs instead of Allah.
This lecture was a preview of a class that's coming to Minneapolis with the same teacher from tonight called "Meaningful Prayer". It's a Bayyinah Institute class and will focus on the linguistic and practical meanings of the actual words of the prayer. Bayyinah is an Arabic learning institution which sends scholars all over the place to teach seminars like this. You should check out their website. It's pretty cool and there are still spots open for the class which is April 13-15 insha Allah (if Allah wills).
Yeah, so, brevity is not my strong suit. Sue me! I just have the gift of gab and am not interested in letting it go to waste :)
I didn't want to bore everyone with my "reversion story" but if you want to hear it, comment on this post and if enough people speak up, I will tell it. Insha Allah.