Fasting not Feasting: Embodying the spirit of Ramadan
Congregation of Creation
In Ramadhan Times mosque attendance shoots through the roof as the believers run towards congregational worship more intensely and with greater duration. Allama Iqbal wrote about the power and meaning of such prayer in his Reconstruction.
The real object of prayer, however, is better achieved when the act of prayer becomes congregational. ... A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse. ... association multiplies the normal man’s power of perception, deepens his emotion, and dynamises his will to a degree unknown to him in the privacy of his individuality.
The whole world is a place of worship, so why restrict ourselves to the insides of buildings? In farms, parks, woods and gardens we could take our place amongst our comrades in creation. Partners that are perpetual in their prostration and remembrance of Allah, not so forgetful as we are.
We will not be distracted by parking hastles, hasty recitations, council 'health and safety' limits and built environment cooling problems as we make our way to pray. So let us straighten the rows and pray as if this is our first.
In case you were interested in co-ordinating a jamat where you are, dont wait for us.
1) find a safe, accessible, open space, 2) collar a few potential imams with delightful qirat, and 3) send out the announcement.
An account a recent Tarawih with the Trees (30/8)
It was a chilly night, but a great night in Mile End Park. We gathered between Burdett Road and Canal Road, north of the the path crossing the park and the canal, a little south of the grassy bridge over Mile End Road. Behind that eatery formerly known as Halalianos.
Londonistan was pre-occupied: with being familial, fundraising for a visionary new mosque for Cambridge, flood victims, Iftaring in other Parks, Tarawihing in the Built Environment and commemorating the death of Imam Ali (ra).
Yet a Jamat gathered for this 'Tarawih with the Trees'. Allahumma accept our devotions and annihilate our pretentions.
The trees framed our space, a mihrab fit for Revelation. Horse chestnuts decorated the floor. It was as if we were wrapped in a semi-permeable membrane of His creativity, ruptured by the sounds and dancing lights from the roads and drunken Muslim youth of East London.
Our Imam's drew from The Cow, The Inevitable and the Last Chapter. And we gave thanks for His blessings, prayed for his forgiveness and called on His names on a night of possible Power, without amplification or fuss.
We think we were able to find some Taqwa amongst these Trees and hoped to meet again to continue our journey, most probably on Friday.