Friday, April 13, 2007

Let there be light

So I was driving with a friend of mine a few weeks back and she said, seemingly out of nowhere, "You can bark anywhere you want, but you can't PARK here!" Ah the cruel jokes we play.

I recalled it last night in a short lecture by the Durham masjid's new imam, smiling to myself (in the most polite way) as he talked about "beoble" and other interesting Arabized words. I think it's cute, personally, but it highlighted something I think I've noticed--that Christian audiences can be more forgiving of a speaker who they might otherwise have found to be slightly offensive, because of the language barrier. I thought if I had said the same things he had, I would have been grilled. But then if I had said the same things, I wouldn't have had the same knowledge to back it up anyway so I would probably deserve it. Really, he did a wonderful job.

I didn't know until last night that Durham had a new imam--it was shocking because... well, they had a great imam about whom I had only heard wonderful things. I had only gone to one khutbah there and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it, but found it too far to go on a regular basis. At the time, the women were praying in a completely separate room (yes I think we all know how much that bothers me) and access to the speaker was completely restricted and the ladies were at the mercy of the audio speakers and the ability of mummies to shush their little ones--another deterrent. But I just wanted to hear more, hear him speak more.

And today I had the opportunity to hear 5 different khutbahs. The old imam from Durham was speaking at the masjid I normally go to, but earlier than I normally go and consequentlyI missed it. Of course in Raleigh there were two more, but neither from the imam. An additional jummu'ah prayer was being held on campus today as part of Islamic awareness week, so that was fourth. And I considered driving out to Durham to hear the new imam. And... decided that's what to do.

It was about a 30-40 minute trip from my office but well worth it. There has been some progress in the masjid since my last visit actually, and women instead of listening and praying in the cafeteria now had a small section of the musallah. Unfortunately, still behind a wall-on-wheels. So I was not able to see the imam today, not able to see the way his face lit up when he mentioned the Prophet saws, the look of sincerity when he would recite the Qur'an, I could only hear him. But that was enough for today.

After the talk by the imam last night, for islamic awareness (his talking was specifically about Jesus (as)), the MSA had a meeting to elect the new "shura" (aka the executive board.) Alhamdulillah, I am not on it! Yes I was asked, and I'm glad I said no. I wish my brothers and sisters the best, may Allah help and guide them, but I am happy to be free of that responsibility for the next year while I focus on school.

After all of that, I went home, finally arriving around 10:30pm. I had actually decided to skip class that morning, when my relief came in and said, "Sheesh, Amy, you look rough." I had slept a few hours the night before but had a headache and for whatever other reason wasn't much in a state to concentrate so I went home to sleep. When I awoke before going to work, the power was out. I didn't consider it a big deal at the time, figuring the power company might just be doing some work nearby and it would be on soon. Well, when I did get home at 10:30pm, it was still off. Oddly enough, my roommate had not gotten home yet that night so was unaware of the situation. Harried calls to maintenance and the power company by me were no help at all. Maintenance said call the power company. The power company said call maintenace and check the switch. The switch was up, the building had power, just not our apartment!! Why does this happen? Maintenance said call the power company because he wanted to prove to me that we didn't pay our bill. Nonsense I told him, of course we paid it. So he called his supervisor and they checked it out, assuring me that the company had cut off our power because we most likely hadn't paid our bill (based on the insulators in the box.)

Mind you, the apartment next door to ours is vacant, has been for a couple months now, but yet... the lights are on. Isn't that weird? Yes I think so too. Well, Alice was able to get another response from the power company, they had to check the bill and all (of course it was paid) and they were going to send a technician out to take a look. Get this, when I asked them to come take a look, the rep told me that it wasn't their equipment and I needed to call maintenance and have them fix it. Whatever!! So it was about 12:30 or 1 or so before the tech got out there, I was about to go to bed, and the power comes on... alhamdulillah. So we set the a/c and clocks and so forth and eventually went to bed.

Some part of me is incredibly irritated at them (not jumping up and down angry like I suppose I could be) for their mistake. I'm fairly certain they meant to cut off the other unit's power instead of ours, but the run-around I got from them was immensely frustrating--worse than the power just being off. So last Thursday it was the water heater, this Thursday the power. Alhamdulillah. The luxuries we take for granted--warm water, cold food, cooked food, lights at night, air conditioned rooms. Anyway, tonight I've been invited to dinner but I want to attend the imam's class.

I'm on this kick now that I realized something. Listening to the imam last night and today, and having noticed for some time the difference in the lectures by the imam in Raleigh compared to others, I'm beginning to realize the real differences there are in character and manners, not to mention passion and knowledge, coming from true scholars of Islam--men (and women!!) who have taken it upon themselves to study Islam as more than just a hobby, but as their life. Now having listened to brief (very brief) stories about some early scholars--the Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik, As-Shafi'ee, and Ahmed, rahimahumallah--I'm starting to notice this difference in people when I listen to them speak, when I follow them in prayer. Subhanallah.

And inshaAllah later on I'm going to attack this partition issue yet again, having become aware now of another obstacle it creates for women who wish to truly learn--why audio only is not enough. But this post is certainly long enough. Thanks for reading. :-)

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