Part 2 - A few more unique and unusual things and practices seen this Ramadaan (We have a tradition called "Mosque-hopping"...where we try and pray taraweeh at a different mosque every night... not that hard when there is over 100 masjids/musaala in the area...)
12.) A masjid has hired a blonde non-muslim lady parking attendant in her mid 20s to direct traffic for Taraweeh prayers in a city west of here ...rumour/rumor has it that the masjid attendance has never been higher
13.) A man in the first row accidently said either subhanallah or Allah-u-akbar (potentially after a biryani burp:) ) during the middle of the 18th rakat of taraweeh....the Imam immediately stood up - assuming he made the mistake by sitting down - the confused Jamaat stood up with him - resulting in them praying a 3 rakat unit of prayer (17th -18th and-19th rakat) - Upon completion the Imam was informed of the mistake. Due to the confusion, he asked the Jamaat how many rakaat of prayer were completed - 1/2 the jamaat said 18 rakaats and the other 1/2 said 20 rakaats!!! A breakaway groups says that they needed to redo the previous prayer... finally the imam gets up and solves the problem by starting Witr Salaat Immediately - putting an end to the fitna that was starting...
14.) A masjid's wireless mic died between the 5th and 6th rakat while they were standing... the Imam continued to pray and completed the prayers...with the men in the prayer hall...but the women downstairs did not know what was going on...it was not a good situation as they were left standing...(lesson to be learn, replace batteries every night!)
15.) Some masjids follow the 8 rakat prayer religiousily...however, some get fooled by the numbers...The average time it takes to complete the average rakat in these masjid is 12.5-15 minutes - thus requiring 100 - 120 minutes to complete the 8 rakats vs the average 38-40 minutes in the West Indian / Guyanese runned Masjids... (that's right - we got it timed)...It was killing me to stand that long... until I remember that we will be standing in line for something similar to 50 000 years on the "last day" waiting for our judgement to be read to us...
16.) Before people used to follow the Imam using the Mushaf, now people are following the Imam using Blackberries and iPhones... it looks like their surfing the net or checking emailing while their praying... what happens if they get a text /sms message while they are reading the quran on their phones? Does answering it or even pressing the ignore button invalidate your prayer?
17.) Many resturants have adjusted their schedules for Ramadaan, closing for lunch completely (even though they are losing the lucrative lunchtime crowd)... some open 1/2 before sunset time, others up to 3 hours before... for takeout only.
18.) Theres a lot less Burping Biryani Brothers (BBB) this year versus other years (this usually leads to other brothers breaking line formation to avoid the toxic cloud, passing out, or loosing concentration on what rakat they are praying, or simply asking the BBB to perform his wudu again, as no burp could be that bad!)
19.) The question of Biyan - or sermon during Taraweeh time.... some masjids have it before they start their prayers, some now started after 4 rakats so that the brothers can't skip it, and one masjid has their 20-30 minute biyaan after 6 rakaats... so those 8 rakat people have to stay in order to complete their prayer! (talk about being held hostage!!)
20.) Some of the larger masjids have sponsored Iftaar's everyday!! If your family wants to sponsor an Iftaar during the weekend in these aircraft carrier size masjids, the sponsorship starts at $4000 - $5000 for one iftaar and dinner! I wonder if there is a better use of the money in our community ....soo much money being used for an event that is over in less than 90 minutes ( I know they can feed up to 2000 people at Iftaar, but is it the right target audience? )... wait a minute, how much does a wedding cost...and how long does the Walima last ....hmm...jokes
21.) Helped my sister drop off huge amounts of food at a Muslim Women Shelter ... hidden in the east end, even with directions, I drove past it 5 times in about 3 minutes (despite the fact my family calls me the human GPS and I now answer the phone, saying "Lost already, where do you need to go?" instead of AA
) , until I was doing a u-turn and saw my sister's car in a driveway...we went in to the public area of the building...which is surprising as most shelters we go to don't even allow men go get close to the door ... anyways, the building is extremely run-down, falling apart and old...yet you can see how many advanced DV cameras are setup from all directions...some Ramadaans are not special for families around us...see the reaction of some of these kids when they get clothes for Ramadaan...they don't even care about toys :'(