Day 4 – Masjid-Ul Haqq – The BC Muslim Association – 4162 Welwyn Street – Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory

Masjid-Ul Haqq is a neighbourhood masjid located at 4162 Welwyn Street, a few steps north of Kingsway, inbetween Knight Street and Victoria Drive.

This masjid also serves as the Vancouver Branch of The British Columbia Muslim Association.

4162 Welwyn Street was originally a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The BCMA purchased the location in 1988. The property included the main church building and a smaller separate residential house.

Being a former church saved a lot of interior re-design work. Masjids don’t need much, but the public address system that came with the building was a plus.

I spot Rooh-Afza. The south asian syrup drink made from roses. Definitely an Indo-Pakistani touch for tonight’s Iftar.

Watermelon, cake, that small fried round ball of flour with a hit of sugar, and the near obligatory date rounded out tonight’s prepared Iftar plates.

Like the MAC Islamic Centre, which incidentally is around the corner and east down the street at 2122 Kingsway, Masjid-Ul Haqq places a large tarp atop the carpeted prayer space, then another thinner long communal place mat atop that.

Lastly, Iftar plates and Jugs of Rooh Afza are spaced out suggesting where to sit.

I’ve arrived early enough to have my choice of spots where to sit and await Sunset.

Twenty minutes before break fast time.

The main prayer hall is filling up.

Volunteers encourage people now arriving to sit farthest from the entrance, making it easier for people who will show up closer to sunset time.

The brother opposite me is Indonesian. Obvious from his choice of prayer hat. He’s wearing a wonderful gold batik design shirt. A light jacket sporting Indigenous Haida artwork rounds out this brother Sartorially. This intersectional contrast is all West Coast Canada.

My personal preference is always Indonesian Batik in my shirt choices.

I’ve never found a store that actually sells them in North America. I have a random collection of Batik shirts, gathered over the years due to chance.

I only brought the one Batik shirt with me when I did 30Masjids Across Canada last year. The rest of my Batiks are back in Toronto.

I’m eager to ask the brother if he brought this shirt from Indonesia, or if there is a Batik Clothing store anywhere in Metro Vancouver. Sadly, he confirms, the only way to get Batik in Vancouver is a round trip flight to Indonesia.

As we briefly chat quietly, more Indonesian Brothers arrive and sit in our corner of the Masjid.

What strikes me, is how quiet everyone is. Almost no one is talking. Even the recitation of the Qur’an, something many people do while waiting for Iftar, is in hushed tones, barely audible.

The only loud voices are from volunteers instructing new people arriving to squeeze in and sit in front of Iftar Plates.

Unlike the previous nightsIftars, I snap this picture of my unbitten date with which I intend to open my fast.

Adhan Al-Maghrib.

The Call to Sunset Prayer is made.

Time to break the fast.

Roof -Afza. Fresh date. Cake. Watermelon. Much more than yesterday‘s cup of water and I remain just as grateful.

By number of Iftar plates and cups, my count is about 80 people, plus volunteers taking us to about 90 people here tonight for Iftar.

Soon enough, we need to pray the Sunset Prayer, Salat Al-Maghrib.

One of the Indonesian brothers in front of me wearing his country’s style of Muslim Prayer Cap.

After prayer, it’s time to line up for Iftar Dinner Plates. It’s not for long. Everything is organized well.

Grateful for tonight’s Iftar Dinner Plate.

Also grateful for Coffee!

Last Ramadan, there were a number of times I had to go hunting for my caffeine fix after the many hours of fasting.

This year, I am carrying these little single serving size packets of instant coffee. You can get them simply with coffee crystals, or all-in-one with whitener and sugar.

Masjid-Ul Haqq provides a tank of hot tea, enough for second servings for everyone. I simply emptied my coffee package into the tea.

In Chinese Restaurants, you can find Yuenyeung, or you can ask for Coffee with Tea. 

For tonight’s Iftar, I rolled my own.

Conversations around me, but I try to focus on eating.

Volunteers rolling the Tarp after Iftar Dinner was done. As often is the case, I am still eating as clean-up is in progress.

I re-locate to a table still set up and finish my food.

There is plenty of time between now and Isha, The Night Prayer.

The Resident Imam, Mohammed Shujaath Ali Nadwi, will be leading tonight’s Taraweeh prayers.

He’s sitting inside the Mihrab, the prayer niche found in front of Muslim Prayer Rooms. I can hear him reciting verses of the Qur’an which I gather he will be reading during prayer later tonight.

The brother sitting beside him, holds open a Qur’an and follows along with the Iman’s recitation.

Now and again, the brother speaks up with a word or two from the verses he’s hearing from the Iman, who then recites it back to the brother.

This is the way Muslim learn and remind ourselves of what we have memorized from the Qur’an.

Adhan Al-Isha. The Call to Night Prayer at 11 p.m. local Vancouver time.

We pray Isha. By my count about 100 people are here for Isha. Three and half lines are filled with brothers praying Taraweeh, until 8 rakats (units) that is.

This is the first Muslim Congregation I have visited in 2017 that is praying 20 Rakats of Taraweeh.

But tonight, I am tired. Too tired. I sit against the back wall and listen to the Iman lead and recite Qur’an for Rakats 9 and 10.

The Imam’s Qur’an recitation is crisp and quick.

I consider re-joining, yet am already feeling spent.

I hear Shaikh Ahmad Kutty‘s voice echo in my head, “Eight rakats is nothing”  from Ramadan at IIT in Ramadan 2011.

 

It’s 12:05 a.m. now.

About half of the worshippers have stayed and are continuing to pray Taraweeh.

Each of these first nights of Ramadan with visits to break fast with different congregations has provided me with reasons for wanting to return for a second visit.

It’s the same tonight.

I want to be rested up enough ahead of time and then complete praying the 20 Rakats being offered each night at Masjid-Ul Haqq.

At least once during this Ramadan 2017.

InshAllah.

 


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