On the east side of Windsor near a neighbourhood dubbed FordVille, the Muslim Association of Canada operates a Community Centre for the general public. It’s dubbed the Rose City Islamic Centre.
Within the RCIC on the ground floor, are wudu facilities and a complete masjid opened for all five daily prayers including Jumah on Fridays.
It had been a struggle for me to stay awake during Taraweeh Prayers back in London. The night prayer, Isha, has a start time of at least 10:30 in this part of Ontario during Summer months.
Supplementary prayers thereafter, Taraweeh, can take anywhere from an hour or more to complete 20 rakats (units) of prayer. Many people pray 8 rakats, which is also acceptable, before leaving for the night.
Some congregations also decide to only pray 8 rakats plus Witr as part of their Ramadan prayer schedule. But they make up for the amount of Qur’an recited by having longer rakats, so time-wise, it’s as if you prayed 20 but you end up standing for longer units of time.
After completing Isha and/or Taraweeh, there are an additional 1 but usually 3 rakats of prayer called Witr.
In almost every masjid where they pray 20 rakats that I recall, people who want to only pray 8, do so, then pray the 3 rakats of Witr separately one by one in the back rows of the prayer hall while the remaining congregation continues on their way to 20 in group prayer behind the Imam.
After four rakats, a brother named Hassan stands up and shares a few Islamic reminders with the Believers. No surprise, many but not all congregations also have this little break after four rakats before continuing on their way to eight or twenty.
Tonight after the eight rakats are done, the Imam announces they are about to pray Witr, and then they will continue until 20 rakats after Witr.
This was the first time I had experienced this.
All the people who elsewhere would scramble to find an empty spot on the prayer hall carpet to privately pray their Witr, didn’t have to do that here. All but a few brothers, and perhaps one sister, prayer Witr together. Afterwards, a mass exodus to the parking lot.
The photo above shows how many people, besides myself, stayed to continue praying until the full 20 rakats.
Alas, I was still tired and drowsy. I recall what Shaikh Ahmad Kutty said two Ramadans ago encouraging everyone to pray the full twenty saying,
Eight Rakats is Nothing.
Now, like then, I pray more than eight, but less than twenty.
The difference being tonight I prayed Witr, in Jamaat. In Congregation.