Friday, November 28, 2008

Being Muslim on Black Friday


Happy Friday!
Listening to my favorite reciter of Quran, Mohammed Jebril. You can download him here.

Is it a, "Black Friday," for you? In the U.S., this is the biggest shopping day of the year. Thanksgiving is done and the mainstreamers must look forward to Christmas IMMEDIATELY. No time for advent--just ZOOOM ahead into the next gluttony.

I am not talking about all Christians. Really. I'm not. I'm talking about Americans who love consumption. There are a growing number of Christians who work to simplify the holidays. I used to be one of them.

So, "Black Friday," has gotten the nickname for it's ability to pull the stores ledgers out of the red and back into black, or profitable. It is the consumer's worship of the almighty dollar

Muslims worship Allah on Fridays with a special sermon, or khotba. The service is called Jumuah because that's the name for Friday in Arabic. Alhumdulillah, our largest masjid now has two Jumuah services: at 12:30PM in English, with the second Jumuah at 1:30PM in Arabic.

To find the information you need for your area, go to and type in your zip code. You might be surprised how many masjids there are in your area. The Jumuah service will most likely be around the same time for your masjid, since it timings for prayer in Islam are solar and not arbitrary.

If you go, inshahallah, wash up at home before arriving. Wash your hands, rinse your mouth and nose, face, touch with water the first third of your hair, take wet fingers to your ears, wash up to your elbows, then wipe water on the top of your right foot, then bottom of foot and the other one as well. This is called, "making wudu." It has to be done with the intention to get clean before meeting Allah in prayer. There are places to wash in the bathrooms at the masjid, but I think it's easier at home.

If you are a woman, there are different rules. Why? Because DUH! Men and women are different. Remember the special talk they gave us in sixth grade?

During menstruation time, you cannot get fully clean and therefore are absolved from trying to make wudu and praying. If a man were bleeding from a cut or injury, by the way, he also would be absolved from praying until the bleeding stopped. It is a mercy, not a punishment.

When choosing what to wear, if you want to wear pants, please wear a long top or tunic covers the crotch area (horrible sounding word, sorry) and backside, even if you bend over. If you don't have something like this in your wardrobe, wear a long skirt or dress, but be mindful of the side slits not showing too much. Long-sleeved shirt or jacket on top. Nothing is to show except face and hands.

So, let's talk about the scarf. Ya, even if you're not Muslim (yet) there must be a scarf on your head; hejab. Think a big wrap, like a pashmina, not a little bandana folded into a triangle. In equal halves upon your head, place the center of the scarf right in the middle of your forehead. Now, pin it under your chin. Tuck the fabric at your temples towards your ears. You can then pull it up towards your hairline. It should be tight without choking you at the neck. The fabric will stretch and form to you a bit within minutes. Throw one end over your shoulder and let the other fall upon your chest. It is a simple way to enter a masjid. You will show respect for the place and the people, and I guarantee that everyone will be fine with you. There are lots of fancy ways to wear scarves, but I'm just trying to get you in the door with an easy way.

Men enter into one area and women into another. If you arrive with some of the opposite sex, it's best to arrange where you are meeting afterwards. Downstairs? Parking lot? Store across the street? It is VERY crowded when the Jumuah service lets out. Try to pick a place away from the lobby and other common areas.

Those waiting for the Jumuah prayer should be sitting quietly, reading Quran for instance. Those who are disruptive, and they will be there too, are not doing the right thing. There should not be long conversations during this time. Children should not be allowed to run around and cause high blood pressure of those attending.

The Call to Prayer happens next. It can be some of the most beautiful sounds you ever hear. I swear to God. It can bring me to exaltation and nearly to tears. If you are blessed to hear such a sound, you will never forget it your whole life. Let the sounds fill you with the spirit of righteousness and transport you to that higher plane we all hope to achieve.

God is Great (4x)
Arabic transliteration: Allaahu Akbar

I bear witness that there is no other god but God (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Ashhadu Allah ilaaha illa-Lah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God(2x)
Arabic transliteration: Ash Hadu anna Muhamadar rasuulullah

Come to Prayer (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Hayya' alas Salaah

Come to Success (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Hayya' ala Falaah

God is Great (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Allaahu Akbar

There is no god but God
Arabic transliteration: Laa ilaaha illa-Lah

Then, there will be the khotba, or sermon. Hopefully, you'll be able to hear it in a language you understand. After the khotba, there is a short du'a, or prayer for the prophets, the Muslims, and the people of the world. After that, there will be another call for us to line up.

You will be standing shoulder to shoulder with someone you don't know. That is beautiful too. There is not a need in Islam to talk first and get to know someone in order to pray with them. In Christianity, there is this whole song and dance about seating in the pews and not sitting too close; not offending. Chances are, you will not know the person next to you, but you will feel the power of that unity like you never did sitting miles apart on a wooden bench back at the church.

How to pray? Just do as they do. Go down when they do, and come up when they do.

One thing that surprised me was that, on Fridays, the zuhr prayer, at mid-day, was only two rakhas. This again is a mercy from Allah. We have used our time to listen to a sermon, so the prayers are cut in half.

When you are done, there will still be others praying extra prayers. Please be careful not to walk infront of them. If necessary, simply sit there until they are done. It will be all of three minutes maximum.

After the service is done would be the time to talk to someone, if you wish. Introduce yourself. There is not a real sense of congregation in big city masjids, so they won't know that you are visiting. You will have to tell them that. Ask them what you want to know. They will gladly inshahallah tell you.

The whole Jumuah experience is about 30 minutes. Alhumdulillah it is the MOST painless worship experience I have ever had. If you have never been, then please do go.

Go today---on Black Friday. Do the opposite of the search out there in the malls and do the search inside. I know you will find more meaning when you go deeper into your soul than going deeper into your wallet.

May God guide you to the right path. Anything I have said correctly here is from Allah. Anything I have said which is incorrect comes from me.
Enjoy this Friday. T.G.I.F.


egyptchick7 said...

What a nice post. Especially after having read such horrible news. A walmart employee was trampled to death by the Black Friday mob not far from where I live.

I thought with the economic downturn, black friday wouldn't be so bad. But people have gotten desperate, and it is beyond sad.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

Thanks for your comment. You are pretty much the only one saying A THING on here. You and Brooke.

I guess when I end the drama, I end the comments, eh?

It was horrible to read about the man who was killed yesterday. How can those shoppers go on to have a, "Happy Holiday," while knowing they crushed a man to death? For what? A big screen TV? That will never bring them pleasure after this.

The odd thing about yesterday is that, after writing so much about going to Jumuah, I couldn't go! I couldn't find a ride. I'm too cheap to call a taxi too. But alhumdulillah, Allah is the best of planners. I had a friend and her baby come over instead.