So... I had a major culture shock recently.
My whole life I prayed tarawih (which is an optional prayer Muslims pray during the month of Ramadan in the evening), at Sharon mosque in Sharon, MA. Where each rakah (i don't know how to translate that work, but each repetition i guess) took about 15 minutes, and they prayed 8, reciting about 2.5-3 pages of quran per rakah. You prayed so slowly, and calmly, it was soothing to the soul. It was tiring, but soothing. Then I moved to michigan, where our mosque prays 20 rakah's, reciting about 1 page per rakah. It too was soothing, calming, and what not. They recite at a steady, slow pace. You feel relaxed, not tired or overwhelmed. If you get tired, you can stop half way through (around 8 rakah's), and you fulfilled the optional suggested amount.
Recently, I prayed my first tarawih prayer in Syria. And I think I had a heart attack. I swear I didn't expect it. We were praying Isha, and it was all calm and serene. About half a page recited in the rakah. And I was like, hmmm... I can handle this. Then... all of a sudden we're praying tarawih... and it's like PRAYER ON SPEED!
I turned to my sister, who is also having this culture shock, after our first prayer (we pray in reps of 2, break, then start another rep), and we started cracking up. We were sooooo confused! The dude recited the quran SUPER fast... and we were like WHAT JUST HAPPENED???? Then, he recited ONLY 1 verse.... per rakah. Which means, each prayer took about 2 minutes at average. Yes... what just happened we don't even know. People were getting ready to go into the motions, before the Imam (the leader). I could not believe it. It was such a major culture shock.
and it PISSED ME OFF!
I mean, prayer is supposed to be calming, like meditation. You're supposed to reflect upon the verses read. You're supposed to open up your mind, and converse with God. You're supposed to breath. I think... our prayer was none of that. It was frustrating. Fast paced. And heart attack inducing. :s
Anyhow. I got so annoyed, that I had to leave after 8 rakah's. I decided, I'm gonna check out other mosques, but I was told most mosques here pray like that, except a handful :(.
So, I had a major culture shock. I felt prayer, in a country where the majority is muslim, was extremely mechanical. It was a quantity, not quality mind frame. Now, I understand why my brother prays at home. At least, he can benefit by praying tarawih on his own.
Well, anyway... I had to write a blog about it... because I was in legit shock.
I hope people will not pray like they're on speed.
Have a good day... :s
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