"They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
- Running Orders, by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
The sighting of the crescent moon on Saturday evening marked the beginning of Ramadan and with that the beginning of the taraweeh prayers almost immediately.
The closest mosque to our house, and one that our family frequents, is Masjiduls Quds aka Gatesville mosque.
We arrived at the mosque early for the Esha prayer, but especially for the taraweeh - Gatesville is known to host many well trained huffaath. After the Esha prayer everyone diligently prayed their recommended prayers and waited patiently and excitedly for the announcement of the taraweeh prayer “As salaatul qiyam athaabakumullah”. Instead there were some announcements to be made. One of which was to ceremonialise the turning on of the freshly donated, wonderfully ornate, chandelie.
It is gracious for anyone to make whatever donation to the mosque in whatever form they choose to make the donation. I encouragesp you support your local mosque as I believe it builds a sense of community and one can take pride in the institution they have helped build/maintain.
I do, however, have a problem when we make a spectacle of the event.
It was a gross manipulation of the musallees on an auspicious night, a night on which the mosque would be brimming with people maximising the attention afforded to this show of opulence.
I am not against the idea of beautification of a mosque, but I am apposed to ostentation. Ostentation is a problem. Had the chandelier been installed and used with no ceremony to turn it on or identification of who made the donation, taraweeh would have continued as usual, and those who noticed would have said mashallah.
I can’t say whether the chandelier was necessary or not, it has been years since I sat in the men’s section of the mosque. Perhaps some brothers can share their experiences.
Lots of people have expressed dismay at the fiasco on Saturday through social media and conversations within the community. Some may have chosen to block out the episode. Lets turn our focus back to the values of Ramadan.
May Allah accept all our zakaah, sadaqah, lillah and fitra
a concerned musallee
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