I wrote this post back in Ramadhan but never got to post it. So here it is now:
We’d been enjoying our wonderful taraweeh at our masjid ever since Ramadan started. MashaAllah our Imam’s recitation is beautiful. After every few rak’ahs, we have to rearrange the rows in women side because some leave, or go downstairs to drink water etc. A couple days ago, only a few sisters were left to pray after almost 16 rak’ahs were over. I noticed that we had only one row left and it was completely broken. There were sisters on the right corner and on the left corner and a huge space in the middle. So me and another sister tried to pull the sisters from the right towards the left as they were fewer on that side. But it was taking too long because of the gap being unusually longer in the middle. After moving 3-4 sisters , I thought I would miss my rak’ah and I also noticed that the next few sisters to be moved were all Pakistani…they looked very Pakistani 🙂 (if you know what I mean!). So I thought to myself that they might not even move and they might mind me moving them in the middle of their prayer (based on my past experience with older Pakistani ladies who, perhaps, don’t realize the importance of completing the saff).
In any case, I went back to my place to pray but I felt guilty for praying in an incomplete saff (row). After the prayers, the sister whom I didn’t move (from the right side) came and grabbed the sister who was originally standing next to her but I had moved her (towards the left side) and took her back towards her side making her stand next to herself and I overheard her say, ‘why did she move you?!!’
The next set of the prayer had started so I started my prayer without doing anything about it. But, I kept thinking how should I explain to this sister about completing the saff and what would her reaction be. Would she understand the importance of completing the saff or would she tell me to keep my ‘fiqh‘ to myself. AH!!! I really didn’t want to argue. As it is, I am new in the community and people don’t know me as well. I kept thinking whether or not I should even bother to explain to her or should I just leave it at that…My mind kept wondering around even though I really wanted to concentrate in my prayer…and I started making du’a and asked for Allah’s help to resolve this issue.
After the prayer finished, the Imam gave a couple minute break before he started the next one. As I was sitting there, I heard the same sister ask the one next to her, ‘why were they moving people…’ I got this urge to clarify and i seized the opportunity. I turned towards the sister and with a big smile on my face, I told her, ‘There was a gap in the middle and the saff was broken, so I was trying to join everyone together but it was taking too long so I didn’t finish.’ “Oh…” She said with a big relief on her face and none of the reaction I had expected happened, alhamdullilah. Right when the Imam was starting the prayer again, she came close to me and told me, ” I was thinking that you moved the person next to me towards your side because you were putting all the muhajibas (hijab wearing sisters) on one side and leaving the non-muhajibas aside!”
“OH NO!” I almost screamed…”How could I?!” And I hugged her and she hugged me. We exchanged smiles and went back to our prayers. Later, after the prayer ended, I went to her again to explain a bit more. I did realize that coincidently all the jilbab-hijab wearing sisters were on the left side and all the shalwar-qameez wearing sisters were on the left!
SunhanAllah, I couldn’t have thought even in a million years what that sister was thinking. And if we hadn’t talked that night, I would have left the masjid thinking, “older aunties are so hard to deal with…” and she would have left thinking, “these niqaabis are so arrogant!” Alhamdullilah we both left happy and we both made a new friend. Now we see each other at the masjid every day and go out of our way to exchange salams and hugs! 🙂