Having broke my Fast earlier in the evening at Al Rashid Mosque’s 7th Annual A Taste of Ramadan in Centennial Plaza, I made the short walk over to Masjid At-Taqwa in Downtown Edmonton at 10654 101st Street for Isha, Taraweeh, and ultimately Fajr.
It is the Night of the 25th of Ramadan.
One of the possibilities for Laylatul Qadr, The Night of Power.
Taraweeh is 8 Rakats, or units, of Prayer.
After 4 rakats, the Prayer Leader, shares a short reminder about Zakat Al-Fitr. The charity is incumbent upon those who are well off in Muslim Society to distribute to those who are not well off, before the day of Eid Al-Fitr, The Feast After The Fast.
The Rakats go fast, but somehow I am so tired I remove myself from the last line of prayer, I almost fell asleep standing during prayer and would have fell down, so this is prudent.
I actually do fall asleep, still sitting up, in a row all by myself, at the back of those who are completing Taraweeh.
Afterwards, around 2 a.m., someone wakes me up with a simple tap on my shoulder and encourages me to have some Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, before eating time is up.
This Masjid was founded by members of Edmonton’s Somali Community. In an culture, various types of porridge make their appearance.
This morning I find regular white rice being shared in bowls and cups, as milk is poured over the milk.
I don’t recall ever having this simple idea of a meal, but hey, it works. It is filling, and somehow the milk is more flavourful with rice.
The brother who tapped me on the shoulder and woke me up earlier has extended the hospitality and ensures I am eating enough. Oh yeah. There is plenty enough of watermelon, rice, dates, milk, water, leftovers from Iftar the night before as well.
It’s during this time of small talk around the suhoor spread in the middle of the floor in one of the rooms adjacent to the main prayer hall, I get a jolt of wake-me-up when an elder Somali brother having asked where I’m from, says to me,
“So. Still waiting to be Canadian.”
He said it with a sincere smile and glint in his eye as he continued eating.
This Elder Somali Brother himself feels and is Canadian. Yet somehow, I can’t shake his comment, that perhaps, I’m still not comfortable here in the country I grew up in.
It’s soon time for Fajr. I am able to brush my teeth with time to spare.
We pray the dawn prayer. Many brothers have joined very quickly. And after the prayer, many exit almost as quick.
I’m still tired, and even without asking, brothers suggest I can lie down on the other carpeted area, because it’s softer. No one even hints I have to leave.
Masjid At-Taqwa is open for everyone.
It’s only a couple of hours later, but that was enough sleep to refresh me. A brother had turned off the lights, but had not disturbed me. There are still people here, mostly reading Qur’an or also like myself, resting.
I really, really, really, really, like this masjid. There’s no attitude here. It’s a place where you come to pray, do the prayer, and leave when you’re done. Do Masjids have to be more complicated than that?
And in a twist that may make Sister Hind Makki over at Side Entrance happy, in Edmonton’s Masjid At-Taqwa, Sisters enter this masjid from the FRONT Door, while Brothers must use the back door via the alley.
Masjid At-Taqwa, 10654 101st Street, it’s a good place to pray when in downtown Edmonton.