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A Bittersweet Mosque Experience

This Friday, I attended my local mosque for Friday prayers after 67 weeks. I distinctly remember the last time I picked my kids up after their Sunday class on a cold March afternoon. Little did I know that I wont be coming back anytime soon. I missed it everyday but especially on Fridays and weekends. How I missed praying in congregation in neat lines together with friends. That showing up in the wee hours of morning and staying late at night trying to give last minute touches to an event to be held the next day. Terribly miss those women’s only events, the interfaith symposiums where we could bring the community together, youth retreats, educational competitions, national events where we could meet friends from all across America, Meena Bazars (small business expo), book fairs, kids fun day, Eids, cook outs, and above all just being together in the safe space called Masroor Mosque. I missed that sisterhood that was only possible through the mosque.

On Friday, as we pulled up at the mosque’s parking lot and walked through the corridors covered with purple Wisteria vines, I had mixed feelings. The feeling of gratefulness that we are able to come back together as a family. Looking at my mom as she briskly walked to get to the prayer halls, my heart filled with utmost gratitude for her health. Hearing my kids excitement as they saw the crescent shining bright on the roof top, my heart filled with joy. It was the feeling of coming back home.

However, I couldnt help but think about those who couldn’t make it. Sitting 6 feet apart, I missed the presence of those aunties we lost in the last few months. Those prayerful eyes, warm handshakes and tight hugs. Covid changed so much! Today, there were no hand shakes, no hugs, no standing shoulder to shoulder during Salat. It was hard waving at each other from a distance but it was truly a relief to see those familiar faces even though through the masks.

I am grateful that we are able to go back, its still my happy place, my safe haven, my abode of peace, my blissful sanctuary, its my Masroor mosque.

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