So belated Eid Kareem – Happy Eid from Morocco.
This past Monday we finally celebrated Eid in Morocco. The last days of Ramadan were in many ways the most anticipated and yet difficult days of Ramadan here in Morocco.
I was excited for the last 10 days as these are the most significant – religiously speaking of Ramadan for Muslims all over the world. The last ten days encompass the Night of Power – Laylat Al Qadr and the finishing of the recitation of the Qur’an.
And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:
Peace!…This until the rise of dawn!“
—Sura 97 (Al-Qadr), āyāt 1-5
The night of Power is better than any other night during Ramadan not just because its better than a thousand months but because its the night that the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohmmad (pbuh).
The first verses reveals are the first five ayat or sentences of Surah Alaq (The Clot) #96 –
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
96:1 Read in the name of your Lord, Who created-
96:2 Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood [‘alaq علق]:
96:3 Read! And thy Lord is Most honourable,-
96:4 He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
96:5 Taught man that which he knew not.
The fact that the first word revealed to the prophet Mohammad (pbuh) – was Read ( اقرأ) – this was and is significant because he did not know how to read. Thus the command ‘read’ is the first command given by Allah (God) to every Muslim and this points to the importance of reading, learning, knowledge and education in general both in Islam and the Dunya (life).
I finally got to go to one of the local masjids for Taraweeh (Night Prayers) – these shouldn’t be confused with the five regular prayers done during the day and early evening. Taraweeh are special additional prayers that are done during Ramadan – I like to think of them as “brownie point prayers,” and I also refer to them as “sweating to the recitation,” as I have go to a masjid during Ramadan especially during the last days of Ramadan, NOT found it crowded to the max and HOT as heck in the women’s section.
Oh and you thought hot room yoga had anything on this. Please! Especially with the nights here only cooling to 80 or the high 70’s at night if we were lucky – the masjids were still baking little ovens at midnight and 1 am.
By this time in Ramadan the body is use to the intensive detox its being put through and if your smart you don’t try to go crazy with the food once you can eat at night because your body gets to the point where it knows how much it really needs and doesn’t desire the excess.
My tummy basically shuts down except for desiring water.
I was once again struck by two things during Taraweeh – 1. The breathing / sighing rhythm of the entire masjid and 2. Women were once again being treated like second class citizens in the masjid – I don’t say this lightly – but when our fan’s don’t work , the brothers do and they have electric water coolers in the prayer area and the women are left to bring their own water from home or use the few spigots in the wudu area to fill up a water bottle – not to mention the quality difference in rugs – yeah I get pissed. I could go on but this hadith of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) comes to mind when ever I see situations like this.
“The best of you is the one who is best to his family, and I am the best of you to my family.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3895) and Ibn Maajah (1977). Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
So if the masjid is a communal space – should it not reflect equality in how each gender is represented and treated especially in a house of Allah (God)? Think about it.
Now back to the breathe /sighing rhythm – every time we went into sujood the whole masjid seemed to sigh. It was kind of captivating in its own right – in addition to knowing that although the men’s area was 1/3 full – the women’s area was over flowing.
I would like to give Moroccan women props for being the flame of Islam in Morocco. To many men in Morocco reflect a lot of the negative things one would wish disappear from Moroccan culture but the women I have met these women anchor that will keep Morocco inshaAllah on course when it comes to Deen and good manners more often than not.
I also went shopping for Eid and purchased a water heater for my old site mate’s host family , all of the women of the family a new hijab, colonge for the youngest son, cousin and a prayer rug for the host dad.
I am still trying to figure out what to purchase their son who is differently abled … I will ask around but I am stumped because Morocco just doesn’t cater or help people like him in a big way – everything is geared towards able bodied people. Which sucks..
A week after Ramadan – everyone is still struggling to get into the swing of the normal work schedule – and questions like are we meeting at the new time or the old time?
The masjids are empty except for the regulars and all the thobes , hijabs and abayas that were fashionable during Ramadan have been shed in favor of regular street clothes for the young and fashionable.
The school age kids aren’t even thinking about school starting on September 15th although all the PCV’s have it marked on our calendars in preparation of teaching again full time.
I think that at the end of Ramadan I am happy it was what it was but I learned I prefer Ramadan in America with all of the great programming that goes on at night in the Ummah and working during the day – it helps to have things to do.