Tuesday, September 1, 2009



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.


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



Abul Haarith said...

Alhamdulillaah I've not experience that except for the Tableeghi Masaajid I prayed in back in the U.S.

It would be bullet Salaah. Superman would be exhausted and not able to keep up. (That and the step dancing they do while praying).

But here the Masjid I usually pray in would be about 1 and a half hours where we finish a Juz. But now I've started praying in another Masjid which is like half a page per Rak'ah which I consider really short.

But still, it's about what's easier on the people. Some people cant handle the long salawaat, especially if they have young children who need attention.

And you're right, 1 line per rak'ah is way too fast. How does one keep Khushu' like that?

Aya Sallat said...

Interesting reem. I am surprised they prayed so fast. I know generally in the Middle East it doesnt take as long as it does in the USA but one ayah, haha. That can be annoying.

But then again, Sharon this year brought a brother from Toronto to lead the prayer and he takes really really long. I've noticed that most people leave after Isha now and don't even pray taraweeh anymore(like the years before it was much more ppl who prayed)because it is just too difficult on them. We finish praying taraweeh around 11:30 pm i think.

So i guess its all about moderation. Not doing it too fast that you ruin the benefit of Taraweeh and not doing it too long to annoy the people or discourage them from praying in the masjid. We are created as people of a Middle path.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that you find an Imam that reads more than one aya in Syria...
the same happened to me. you know I am in Saudi Arabia and Taraweeh prayer here is normal in most masjids. You may find imams who read about a page or half a page per rek'ah ( which is the average). and if you want the long deep peacefull reading ( couple of pages per rek'a ), you will find imams who specialize in that too.
but when first praying it in Syria I was shocked exactly like u and Rouba... !
so Ramadhan Mubarak to u and Rouba & everybody there and let me know when you find a longer slower Imam. :-)

Anonymous said...

thats me in previous comment
Usama Habash ;-)

MarjnHomer said...

super speed tarawih. they prob do it because they want to be able to say that completed the whole quran in the month of ramadan, right?

Anonymous said...

Super speed taraweh is just one of those things that happen during Ramadan...