By Zulfikar Mulji
Thursday, August 8, 2013.
A beautiful sunny day it is; the heat and the humidity this morning is unbearable. As I walked in, the zikr chant of allahu akbar allahu akbar allahu akbar la ilaha ilallah allah hu akbar walillahi hamd greeted me. I took my place outside, under the shade of a ground roof extension where the overhead fans lessened the humidity by circulating the air. For half an hour the zikr chant continued; in addition, the greenery provided by the trees and the plants in the courtyard provided a calm and serene ambiance amid the silent chatter of people exchanging greetings for the occasion.
At exactly 8:30 a.m., the Imams made their entrance, stopping first at the outer door, then at the steps to the courtyard and next at the entrance to the prayer hall. Each time they stopped, they recited over and over again on the public address (p.a.) system, allahu akbar allahu akbar allahu akbar la ilaha ilallah allahhu akbar rabbil aalameen arahmanir raheem walillahi hamd.
Next everyone stood for the salaat; at the end of the al-Fateha, the congregation recited in unison, an emphatic aameen which reverberated all around; one could sense the whole salaat in body, mind and soul. The whole creation within and infinite womb! The One, the Eternal, not Begetting, nor Begotten and none like unto Him! All Praise to the Most High!
I took my exit soon after; I did not wait for the complete sermon. I had taken some pictures and very short clips. Outside, I made my way straight to the restaurant to have rice with mutton and fish, tareli machhi! The tea was excellent. At the table was a man from Morocco, and two others from Urumqi. I exchanged contact information with them.
I saw Muslims from all over; Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of China, Pakistan and I am sure there were others from many other parts of the world. This is a living proof that the Government of China is doing its best to promote diversity and pluralism in the country, contrary to western media reports. Yesterday, I met a man from Syria. It was horrible and terrible to hear him say that nobody really cared about Syria anymore; it was a hopeless statement about the future of Syria existing as a country. Deep inside, I felt otherwise. His vision tells of a better future for all people.
And now here I am back in my room typing this, hoping to send to all of you; some of you, who in a few hours will wake up and celebrate the day with joy, just like I did this morning. As we have been taught, Ramadhan is more than fasting of the body; it is also fasting of the mind through which the veil to and of the soul is lifted.
My thoughts were with you all this morning.
Date posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Copyright: Zulfikar Mulji.
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