Sep 23, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 2: Ramadhan 21st 1433 / August 9th 2012 
After the Qiyam al Layl, got up and looked for a place to set up base. Found one in the A/C block right behind where I was praying. Found an open space so put my small bag on the floor as a pillow and fell asleep. I was almost immediately woken up by an azaan at about 3:30 am. I had retained a small cheese bun which someone had given so rushed to make wuzu and eat my suhoor. But people kept eating after the azaan was long over. And then I realized fajr wasn't for another hour plus, the first Azaan was the azaan for Tahajjud.

Rest of the day went smoothly. Slept until Zuhr after Fajr. This was the schedule I was also advised by Dad to keep; to sleep during the long gap between Fajr and Zuhr and if possible, a bit of a nap between zuhr and asr. When I woke up for Zuhr, I was joined by some brothers from Kerala on my right and some Arab brothers on my left.

At Taraweeh yesterday and today, I noticed elderly men beside me. They might be Indian or Bangladeshi, but it was endearing to see them cry their hearts out during the taraweeh prayers. They understood the Qu’ran. I felt so left out. My brothers were better muslims than I was because they understood the Qu’ran. The Kalaam of Allah. They were understanding Him. And I wasn't  With all my degrees and scholastic achievements, I've never felt more of an illiterate than in those moments where I really wanted to cry listening to the beautiful words of the Qu’ran, but couldn't….

I haven’t been able to finish more than 1 Chapter for the major part of the Ramadhan, unfortunately. Started chapter 2 enroute to Makkah. The time here allows me to recite as much as possible and I hope to complete the Qu’ran within the days of the Itekaaf, inshaAllah.

So far, met or saw Arab brothers from around the middle east (Saudi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Palestine, Syria), Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Turks, American immigrants, Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese. I'm sure there are many many more. Amazing to see a better assembly than the ongoing Olympics. The world has gathered in London for the love of medals and the glory that goes with it.

The world has gathered in the Haram for the love of their Allah. SubhanAllah!

Day 3: Ramadhan 22nd 1433 / August 10th 2012 

Its been a usual day. The routine is setting in. The place seems to be good enough to stay. I've only stepped out for using the wash-rooms  Even for the Wuzu, I go to the nearby drinking taps which is so jammed that its crazy; you can even stand up straight. SubhanAllah.

On my way to the courtyard of the Haram, I see people sleeping on the floors, in the aisles, on the stairs (like literally with head on one stair and the rest of the body resting down the stairs). One amazing sight was seeing a Pathan Uncle who had 2 prosthetic legs. He was sleeping in the stairways too with his legs removed and kept aside. The peace on his face was beautiful.

I'm sleeping on the carpeted floor with my bag as a pillow and nothing else. No blanket, no sheets, nothing. Being the disturbed sleeper who rolls all over the place, I'm always afraid of my sudden movements in my sleep which may hurt or wake my neighbours. The place where I'm sitting is a small area between 4 pillars not more than 49 square meter in area, with 4 saffs accommodated by 6 men each approximately. So that is a total of 36 people in that area. And at least 20-25 sleep jammed together. But Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, I've been sleeping without much movement. And I've been getting some of the most peaceful and restful sleep in my life here without harming anyone.

No bed and mattress could be more luxurious than the floor of the Haram…
No pillow could be more comfortable than my ihrams bundled under my head…
No blanket could be more protective and cozy than the protection of Allah subhanawataala…

So far the iftars have been simple. Dates and water. Got some drinking yoghurt in addition to that. Getting into the habit of saving some dates from Iftar for Suhoor. The entire masjid is provided for during Iftars by the different sheikhs and societies. Our block is being cared for by 4-5 Sudani- Saudi boys who are working for some local sheikh to provide Iftar for the muttakifs (Those seated in Itekaaf). After Asr, they lay the dining sheets and distribute dates and water and sometimes gavah (Arabic coffee) for all in our block.

Getting to know my Arabic neighbours a bit more and am loving the camaraderie they share. Someone’s got one of those little sprays and fills it with cool zamzam to spray on the faces and heads of us all during the long taraweehs. A welcome feeling of freshness it is.

Had a little bread today with 2 olives and a cheese triangle courtesy to a brother in the end of the row who brought back extra stuff for us all from the supermarket. Alhamdulillah wa Shurkika Ya Allah.

Mobile official dead of empty battery. Tried charging on the mobile power outlet which is used for Vaccums in the masjid but the security dude went bonkers and took my extension. Tabraiz visited me and met him for a while. He got me some tea from outside. Felt awesome to taste hot tea. SubhanAllah. May Allah bless him and his family inshaAllah.

There is an Egyptian uncle who sits on my left and he has become pretty friendly with me. I communicate with him in broken Arabic. He has a distinctive cataract in his left eye (May Allah cure it soon, Aameen). But his face, beard and smile look a lot like Dad. I’ll refer to him as Baba here on. He’s probably a few years elder to dad. He has been very sweet though, correcting my mistakes in Salaah (yes, I'm ashamed too) and advising me on my beard.

The other guy I've met is Ali. A younger man. Very friendly chap. Refers to me as “Besh Muhandis” (Mr. Engineer). He always makes sure I eat a good suhoor. Not just the dates that I save, but he makes sure I eat a bun or something too.

Another superb gentleman I've met is an Ethiopian uncle. Sits on my right. He first got here after doing his Umrah. He was tired beyond words and plopped down in his ihram next to me on Friday. Since then I've watched his spot and he has watched mine as I go out for the loo. Very sweet and jolly person. He reminds me of Qalu (my uncle). Same case, he is also Arabic speaking, so we have a broken communication.

Quran Recitation Update: Chapter 11 Reached. 

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


MashaAllah, upon reading this, I am reminiscing my own first ever tahajjuds in a Masjid in the USA. Being a wife and a mother, I never had any chance to pray Tahajjud except for a few times in Madinah shareef. However upon reading this part of the diary, although we were only three women sometimes four in the small temporary masjid, along with a few brothers who were in itekaf (my husband included in the last few days), I was reminded of my own exhilarating experience...the best ever in the USA.
The freindships with people from different parts of the world, is an experience to have. Without speaking the same language, the brotherhood/sisterhood of Islam is something that supersedes need not speak the same language to communicate with other creations of Allah.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have been sharing these with my other family members.

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