As close friends we are comfortable with talking about anything under the sun. Yet, it’s understood that if we decide to pray taraweeh in the same masjid, we would pray in two opposite corners (or at least not close together).
Why? Because we seek the uninhibited freedom & comfort that is afforded by the company of total strangers, to immerse in & relish the prayer experience. Strange? Perhaps.
As strangers, standing so close, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet, motionless, for the lengthy periods of qiyaam – you share a different, almost unique, bond with the individuals on your right & left.
In unison, the hearts sway with the tempo of the recitation of Quran, quivering in fear at the mention of Hell, fluttering in delight at the descriptions of Paradise, awed by the manifestation of Allah (SubbhanaWaTaAla)’s Names & Attributes and humbled at the eloquently cited examples of His creation.
Diversified through various languages, age & social status they seek the same ultimate goals, have the same hopes, and pray for the same successes. As the eyes flow, noses run & tongues move in unison with ‘the Ameen’s, the amazing bond that unites them – the strangers – transcends beyond this world & time.
As the imam calls salaams, the unique relationship comes to an end. Worldly strangers once again, they disperse, sometimes with a polite greeting & sometimes, without even a side glance – at their temporary companions.
The close friends meet again at the door and talk….. about their Eid plans.
A tiny part of them left behind with the nameless companions they will probably never meet again.