Yesterday a bizarre sequence of events led me to a place I would never have found by myself and I did not imagine I would be when I woke up that morning. I spent the evening praying and reading in a room at a run down community centre. When I prayed, I bowed down with an unlikely and strange collection of Jamaican, Syrian, Iraqi, Pakistani and Somali Muslims. It is unreal listening to someone talk about Allah and paradise in a thick Caribbean accent whilst asking us to please help in the building of a new book shop for the centre. Later that evening I sat down and listened to a diminutive Sheikh, Abu Salim, from Damascus' Midan district, give us lessons in the Qur'an and in how to read it. A small and thin old man with a kind face and intelligent, inquisitive eyes, I took an instant liking to him. I had met him earlier at another mosque and it was he who pointed me to this place.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
After he listened to us practice reciting, he told us why we should read the Qur'an constantly, even if only a little. It is because Allah likes the little which is also constant, rather than a lot which is less frequent. The example which he gave, and I liked, was that if you leave a tap dripping, it will eventually leave white marks on the ground below it. But if you took all that water which dripped until the marks became visible and put it in a bucket then chucked it all in one go - no mark will remain. Our connection with the divine is like that, that is if we just keep it at a steady drip. When I left the centre it was dark outside and I felt rejuvenated and calm. That night I slept thinking about those amazing stalactites and stalagmites which I had seen on television as a child, about their beauty and how long it had taken for them to form. I imagined a small one growing near them, one that was all mine.