Sunday, September 21

The Neverending Tahajjud

(Sung in the style of Limahl's classic.)

Tahajjud or Qiyaam-ul-Layl (literally "standing of the night") isn't a new congregational service being offered by my local mosque, QMT, during the final ten days of Ramadan. They've been doing it for a fair few years and since I was off work at the time I did last year's set (commenting on the appropriateness of bringing a baby to such a thing while I was there) and since I'm a semi-man-of-leisure at the minute I thought I'd take the opportunity again. At the very least it'd get me off the "worship as much as you can in the last ten days of Ramadan" hook.

I mean it's not as bad as it sounds. A couple of rakats, sometimes four, with the recitation of random surahs starting at 3am and taking around an hour isn't that big a deal really. Well at least that's the theory.

"We'll be reading two rakats in the next hour. Qiyaam-ul-Layl means to stand and so we will. If you get tired feel free to sit down for a while during the prayer", the Imam explained. The elitist in me sniggered at anyone who couldn't manage a simple half hour rakat.

And an hour we did indeed take.

For the first rakat.

I honestly couldn't feel my knees by that point, and I'm pretty certain I wasn't the least fit person there. A big part of me was even hoping that the Imam's strategy was to load the first rakat and leave the second with a span of a more normal couple of minutes.

Or not, seeing as the second rakat took another thirty minutes with no sign of the Imam stopping - he only did after someone in the back shouted how the time was now half past four (suhoor, or the beginning of the fast, was due in half an hour, so we had left it pretty late). For those of you interested, I'm told that we had covered Surahs Al-Ankabut, Ar-Rum, Luqman, Al-Ahzab, Saba and the start of Fatir in those ninety minutes.

The Imam promptly finished the prayer, apologising for his absent-mindedness. He seemed genuinely surprised; I suppose that it's a blessing of God that he had lost all track of time - judging by the collective sigh of relief of the congregation unfortunately not many of us had achieved the same state of mind.

I don't think anyone will have to tell him to speed it up a bit tonight.

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