Muslim-American Sunset

#028


Waiting on the Sun

The boys and men gathered at this house are my first- and second-cousins, uncles, and great-uncles that span from at least four generations. They chatted while waiting for Maghrib and iftari time.

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Maghrib is Arabic for west or sunset and is known as the sunset prayer, which is when a Muslim’s fasting ends with iftari. Iftari is Urdu for the meal that concludes fasting. It’s customary for Muslims to host iftari for family and friends that includes both men and women, but can also be exclusive to a group of people. In this case, my cousin invited me to a guy’s iftari.

The chairs were used to pin the sheets to the ground. Also, the yellow sheet looks like American cheese.

The chairs were used to pin the sheets to the ground. Also, the yellow sheet looks like American cheese.

Forecast of Faith

Despite the looming clouds, we took a chance on the forecast by laying sheets on the neatly trimmed front lawn that would serve as our praying area for Maghrib. From a distance, the cotton-blend sheets appeared to add blocks of color on the green grass. Looking back at it, I’m reminded of how fabric plays a valuable role in my culture. That’s when I was “volun-told” to give the Maghrib adhan, or call to prayer.

The congregation lines up for Maghrib prayer.

The congregation lines up for Maghrib prayer.

Shoes line the pavement while everyone stands on the sheets barefoot.

Shoes line the pavement while everyone stands on the sheets barefoot.

I thought to myself: a Muslim giving the adhan aloud outside in a neighborhood in 2019? I admit that I was feeling nervous. The last time I gave the adhan outside was at an uncle’s house as an elementary school student. It was Maghrib time now, so I ate a date to break my fast and stood at the front of the prayer rugs. The what will they think of us fear quickly faded as I began to feel the sweetness of giving the adhan.

American Landscape

It’s getting darker.

It’s getting darker.

Soon after, we gathered in congregation. While I could hear the imam’s Quran recitation, I felt the soft sheet under my feet take on its own landscape from the grass below. The light breeze shaped the drape of my kurta. I felt light and calm in the comfort of worship. This was one of the highlights of that day. There was a moment to be thankful of the religious freedoms we have in America. Alhamdulillah.

I am grateful to be part of the American landscape.

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Eid Mubarak!

Until next time,

Asad


P.S. If you’re interested in more posts written by me about Culture, check out these below: