Friday, June 5, 2009

Photographed: Because I see you.

Location: The LUMS University Mosque.
Just returned from here after a Friday prayer break, on a hot afternoon, and was reminded of this picture I took some months ago. No one really notices these, but I liked the random yet chic composition of what I saw.
These little chairs are there for those who cannot kneel, and pray while sitting. My mother also prays while seated because of arthritis, but misses being able to kneel.
Last week, I did not pray with the congregation. But I still caught a special glimpse.
As every forehead touches the ground in humility and submission to God, it is a touching sight of unity, of people grouped shoulder to shoulder in neat rows, but all eyes are downcast, and they do not acknowledge what goes around them and they may not even be aware, as you stand watching people devote themselves in unison for a few minutes to submit to and connect with God.
The most magnificent sight of this is ofcourse, the millions of pilgrims at the Holy Kaabah in Makkah, nearly all in identical attire, and as an ocean of human beings goes down on one haunting call, rises, and then bows again,you cannot help but feel this is something special, and a magnificent show.
I can tell you that amongst the moving sea of millions, neat rows form spontaneously within minutes or seconds, and you fall into place to line your shoulders with the next, rich and poor from every country, presidents and peasants who have saved all their lives and come in old age, all must be equal here, and as the prayer starts, you can only hear the haunting recitation of the Muezzin, and your thoughts if you cannot silence them(but you must try), and other than children crying(because, well, who can explain to them?) there is, when the Muezzin is silent, a rustling hush over the crowd that is amazing because of the sheer magnitude and length for which it carries.