Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mass Ramadan Greetings

Greetings everyone,

This is my first post, so I'll make it short and sweet.

So Ramadan is finally upon us. It's a great time for spiritual rejuvenation and atonement. I love the family atmosphere that overcomes the community; people smiling at each other when they cross paths, saying salams to strangers--it's great.

But Ramadan is also a time for mass text messages, which are not so great. At the beginning of every Ramadan and every Eid, I get at least 10-20 new text messages on my phone. They're all mass text messages, all forwarded, and almost all identical. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate people wishing me Ramadan mubarak and I appreciate the dua'as from everyone who offers them, but a mass text message is so impersonal, and it usually drones on and on--which can become annoying after the 10th identical message.

Moral of the story: pick up the phone and call your brother or sister!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Row Formation

Just got back from was really nice and made me excited about Ramadan.

Since moving to the DC-area, for the first time in my life, I actually have a choice about which masjid to go to. This may not seem like a big deal to y'all big city folks, but having grown up in a place where going to the only masjid meant a 35+ minute drive, this is huge.

Last year, we lived about 10 minutes from a masjid, but we were kind of bad and didn't really go as often as we should have. The ladies at that masjid had this shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot theory of row formation and would pluck at your clothes or pinch your elbow until they felt that you were sufficiently close. I found this to be insanely annoying. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but considering the female anatomy, being shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot also means being plastered together shoulder-to-foot--not exactly fun because:
(a) your neighbor is a complete stranger who is a good eight inches taller and likes to stick her elbows in your ribs;
(b) you concentrate more on keeping your balance than on praying; and
(c) it's really hot.

Anyway, we totally had this perfect strategy for ending up at the end of the row or on the back row where one has more of a right to define one's personal space. But it's not really the best feeling in the world to leave taraweeh and realize that you spent more time thinking about avoidance techniques than prayer. The last straw was when some lady tried to put her foot on top of mine. Umm, no...I will put up with being jammed up so close to someone that I can smell what she had for iftaar for the last three days, but I draw the line at having her foot on top of mine.

Alhamdulillah, we've moved since then and we thought that this Ramadan we would have not problems because now we live close to our favorite masjid. It's really cute and has a great mix of people. It's traditional without being uber-conservative (unlike aforementioned masjid), they do 20 rakat for taraweeh, and we actually go there regularly for Zaytuna classes anyway.

So we go tonight and the place is packed. But as people start leaving, we discover that the women have adopted an ignore-the-gaps-and-resist-your-neighbor's-sleeve-twitching-and-maintain-your-position-at-any-cost theory of row formation. These weren't just a loosely spaced lines, these were lines with three foot holes every half-dozen people. It's awfully ironic, but having these huge gulfs was almost as distracting as standing next to the footsie ladies. What's up with that?

I miss Knoxville.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting

Have you ever been inside a mosque board meeting? Or even better, a general body meeting with the mosque board?

Let me tell ya...HILARIOUS!

I've never seen more finger pointing in my entire life. Someone in Hollywood needs to make a movie about the drama that ensues inside these board meetings. It would be a comedic hit! Of course only Muslims would see the comedy, everyone else would just be scared.

I can already see the title of the first episiode, "Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting" (That title alone is hilarious...just think of the dialouge, and the finger-pointing!)

I should write a script about this, I'm sitting on a gold mine!