30Mosques.com | Day 13: Dawood Mosque

By Aman and Bassam

Today I was was Bassam-less and continued my journey into Brooklyn to one of my favorite places to pray at, the Dawood Mosque.

This is a predominantly Arab mosque with a fair amount of South Asians and African Americans as well. I got there about 10 minutes before prayer and was confused why it seemed like I was one of the only one there.

But then I heard people chatting downstairs and realized that’s where everyone was for iftaar. I found waiting for me a plate filled with dates and sharbat, one of my fave drinks made from milk and rose syrup. They made it just the way I like it with lots of pistachios in it.

As I was going back upstairs to pray, one of the people there brought out this huge pot of this cold spicy soup. I didn’t know the name of it (neither did anyone else I asked) but its made of yogurt and has chick peas, tomatoes and tons of onions. If you thought having nasty breath from fasting was bad enough, this stuff was basically like steroids. But seriously, it tasted amazing.

It was time to pray, so we all went back upstairs. Seconds into prayer, the tantalizing smells of lemon rotisserie chicken began caressing my senses. But I snapped out of it and jumped back into concentrating on my prayer.

Back downstairs for dinner, my senses were correct, the volunteers there passed out trays of buttered rice, lemon chicken and salad. I took a tray and made company with the brothers around me.

Just about everyone there was speaking in Arabic, so I didn’t know much of what people were saying. But everyone was friendly nonetheless.

One volunteer with food came up to me and asked in Arabic if I wanted more food. Now my Arabic is pretty rusty. I haven’t taken a legit course in 7 years. Yet for some bizzare reason, I felt confident enough to speak Arabic back. But instead of saying “No thanks, I’m full,” I ended up saying “No, I study in a university.” It made perfect sense, clearly.

After dinner, they passed out some of my fave Arabic desserts: pistachio candies and Mamoul – a ridiculously yummy cookie filled with dates.

On a serious note, I was in deep thought on the subway ride home. One of the toughest things about this 30 Mosques project is leaving each place night after night. Right when you meet a bunch of really cool people, and may not see them again. That’s not to say I’ll never see them because I can always come back when this project is over. This journey has introduced me to parts of the community I didn’t know of, but continue to fall in love with as each day goes by.

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