A new year has as much meaning in my eyes as a new day, week or month. Not all that special in other words, and I wasn’t planning to write anything but somehow it turned out to be a quite special last day of the year.
A sister picked me up to attend our weekly class in another town nearby. As she was driving we noticed how dark it was, and started to talk about how nature affects one’s mood and general way of thinking. When we entered the town we realised that the electricity was down in the whole town and after a half an hour wait our teacher decided that we would still have class, without lights, speakers and a microphone (for the sisters). I loved this idea as I love everything that’s done the old way 🙂 The teacher started talking about the importance of knowledge. The salaf used to say that knowledge has pride and honour, and doesn’t give itself to anyone just like that. They used to sleep on the doorstep of the scholars, so as to not miss any goodness that comes from them. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas told his friend, when they were still young, let us seek knowledge. His friend didn’t understand the importance of this, so he left his friend and went to seek knowledge on his own, and after all the time that passed between him and us we can all testify to the vastness of his knowledge and wisdom. So that was quite an inspiring beginning of the lesson.
From fiqh we just reached the book of prayer and so we started with learning the timings of the prayers. And this was simply the perfect topic for tonight, since the lights were off and we were much more aware of the laws of nature than we would have been with a bright artificial light above us. Actually it never occurred to me that I didn’t have electricity for more than 5 minutes (except in our village in Turkey).
It was as if every prayer time had a different feel to it. Starting with dhuhr, when the sun has just passed its highest point, I longed for a place where there’s actually a clear sun and shadows even during winter, because I have been deprived of it for too long!! Same for salat al-‘asr, when the shadow has the same length as an object. The end of ‘asr is actually at two times, first when the sun is about to turn orange, that’s when you should stop praying. But in emergency cases you can pray till maghrib, which is when the sun has went down, and you see a red gleam in the sky. That’s all those beautiful pictures of sunset. When this red gleam disappears isha time starts. ‘Isha has two times as well, the first is the half of the night, and the second the start of fajr. I started to calculate the length of the night to know when half of it is over, and that’s roughly from 5 pm to 7 am, 14 hours of darkness every day :O that’s like more than half of every day! No wonder why everyone seems so gloomy. As I was thinking these ungrateful thoughts my teacher said he met brothers from Norway who came from a place where it’s light during day and night for three months and then dark for three months. So shocking subhanAllah, they are praying dhuhr in the dark and isha during what seems day time. See, things can always be worse. And then, fajr time. After darkness comes light, yes, very dim over here but undeniable. I wish to live in a place where I’m closer to nature, since it reminds me of Allah and gives a different experience to prayer. Imagine reading the prayer times directly off from the sun, being reminded that Allah should be worshipped at all times, not just at 7 a, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm 😀 and that the day and night belong to Him. Until that time it might be a good idea to disconnect from technology every now and then, and realise there’s still life, and a beautiful one as well, away from artificial things.
It’s 11:30 pm now, and I either fall asleep within 15 minutes, or after two hours when people finally realise how much money they wasted on fireworks. So see you next year in sha Allah 😀