Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ramadan at a Different Place!

I never felt in greater need for Ramadan as I am feeling this year. I am burdened with sins that can only forgiven by God, and I have so burning questions that need God's guidance.

Like last year, I miss the overwhelming spiritual atmosphere that hangs over Egypt at this time. However, Nairobi over exceeded my expectations for venues for practicing Islam. Despite its relatively small Muslim population there is no shortage of open mosques.

On the first day of Ramadan, as i was walking up to my room after "Sehour" I heard the Fajr call. Without much thought, i followed the sound and headed outside the hotel. This is quite unspoken of for a foreigner in Nairobi. To walking in streets you don't know at 5 am in Nairobi would not be advisable. It was about a 20 minute away. I took a wrong route at the beginning but found a watchman who redirected me to where the mosque is. The streets that lead to the mosque were quite deserted, not much on its sides. There were several people walking down the street who seemed to be workers hurrying in there long daily journey to work. It was so dark, i could hear the footsteps of anyone coming before seeing their face. I made it to the mosque. It was great. That was the first time i pray fajr in a mosque in over a year.

Later that day, i said maybe they do tarawee7 prayer too. This time i went to a different mosque. Simon, my taxi driver, showed me where it is earlier in the day. He told me the walk i did earlier this morning is very unsafe, and this new mosque is closer and the walk is much safer because it is along the side of a Military Base. I went there and I was very happy to find them praying tarawee7. It was a smaller mosque but it was full. It probably had a couple of hundred people there.

This morning i returned to that same mosque again to pray Fajr. There were less people, but still more than those in the far away mosque. Again, it felt soo good, I had missed that spiritual experience. I also didn't pray tarawee7 last year when i was in the US - there is something there that doesn't make me fully relate to Muslims' practice there as i do in Egypt or even in Nairobi.

Anyways, i have another week and I'll be in the US, so i will probably give it another try when i go back. Meanwhile, i'll keep enjoying my daily adventure to the mosques of Nairobi :). May God accept my fasting, my prayer, and good deeds, and May God forgive my sins, those that were commited and those that are yet to come, those that i know of and those that i am unaware of.

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