Saturday, October 24, 2009

O' Qibla Where Art Thou?

A few days ago I was sitting at the gas station behind the counter with two of the employees, my brothers in Islam as well as my dear friends. Asr prayer was approaching and I went to make wuzu (ablution) as they took my place behind the counter. When I came back, ready to pray, I heard one of them taunting the other. "He doesn't know where Kaba is", he told me. I looked up at my friend with quizzical yet sincere eyes, "you don't?". He smiled shyly and a bit embarrassed and stuttered trying to think of some excuse, but it wasn't necessary. I turned to the other and said, "So why don't you tell him where it is?". Then he looked down laughing a bit caught off his guard. He said "I kept telling him he's praying the wrong way, and that he should be facing this way", he said pointing over my shoulder. "But he wouldn't listen". I looked at both of their stubborn faces as they stared grinning at each-other, cousins! "Okay", I said sitting back up on the stool behind the counter and gesturing towards the laptop in front of me with my palm, "Why don't we look it up?" My friend who said he knew which way to pray hopped on the laptop and typed in how to find the direction on google. After figuring out where our location was on the map and which angle to point the screen, we came up with the solution that although my friend had been wrong, my other friend was slightly off course himself, just by a few degrees. True, now if I ever have to pray in the gas station I know which direction to face, but my point is people get so defensive about little things that they forget about helping each other. And if you tell someone and they don't listen and you blame them for not heeding your advice, what if your advice is wrong? What then? These two friends are like my family, and I'd never hold it against them, they are simply an example of every day habits we all develop over time. Maybe we do this most to people we love and care about, because we know that they will love us unconditionally. Perhaps we become stubborn in our ways because we live in America, and we want to show that we're holding onto our faith and we know what we're talking about. But in doing that, sometimes we just prove the opposite. Sure my other friend could have checked online, but perhaps he didn't know that it was available online, I certainly didn't. Some people don't even have computers let alone internet, and maybe even electricity is not as readily available as we might think. It's a luxury we often take for granted. Listed below is a link that can guide you electronically towards the direction of the Kaba once you've typed in your location. But remember, if you're unsure of the direction at the time of your prayer, give your intentions in your heart that you wish to pray in the direction of the Kaba, Allah knows everything, and Allah is the Most Gracious and Kind.

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