Friday, June 17, 2005Thank God It's Friday (part one)
On a typical Friday, if I ever get up before noon I would usually dress up and head straight to the Friday prayer. Today I did wake up before noon with a couple of hours before the prayer starts, but I felt so awful… I was dehydrated with a graving hangover (I had a tough Thursday night lol), so I decided to turn my head the other way and head back to bed, after washing down three Panadols with a couple of water bottles. On my way to the bed, my mobile rang and it was a friend of mine and he was like “Hey, you’re up… How about praying together?”, I roughened my voice a bit and I told him that I’m coming up with a flu and I don’t think I’m gonna make it to the prayer. So, I hung up the phone and continued my way to the bed, but after half an hour of twisting and turning in bed filled with guilty conscious, I decided to go to the prayer. I called my friend, took a shower to wash up last night sins and dressed up.
Normally, I don’t have a particular mosque to go to, but I just choose a nearby mosque with an “express Imam” one who finishes the Friday speech quickly and wraps up the whole prayer in less than 30 minutes (yelakhas ya3ni). But since it was my friend’s call and he arrived with his car…so I made him choose which mosque we should go to and I wish I didn’t. We arrived at a small mosque in Dokki, it was fully packed inside, so they had to close down the adjacent street and fill it with carpets to take up the flocks of prayer. I froze there for a moment “Why?? What’s so special about this mosque?” I asked my friend having in mind that this mosque is far away from our homes as we both live in Zamalek. “The imam inside got a nice voice” he answered and I was shocked as this was his criteria of choosing a mosque, the Imam’s voice?? But who am I to judge him, I choose mosques based on the duration of the Imam’s speech. Anyway, I told him I’m not gonna sit there in the sun to listen to the speech… so we will wait here until the actual prayer starts and everybody gets up and we jump in. So, he agreed… and as we are waiting I lighted a cigarette “What the hell are you doing?” my friend screamed at me and this silly Beavis and Butthead argument took place.
Me: What’s wrong?
Friend: You have to tetwada (prayer wash) all over again… you know that!
Me: No I don’t.
Friend: You idiot, smoking spoils your wash!
Me: Who said so?
Friend: Everyone, cigarettes contain bits of Alcohol in order to be lit easily.
Me: So, it’s smoke... vaporization are you familiar with this process? There will be no traces of Alcohol in my mouth only a taste. It’s just like eating an apple before praying, do you wash after eating an apple?
Friend: No, I don’t but apples do not contain alcohol… plus if you eat or drink anything before prayer you will need to wash your mouth just by water.
Me: So that’s what I’m gonna do. You have a bottle of water in your car, right? I’m gonna wash my mouth after finishing this cigarette.
Friend: You don’t understand cigarettes contain alcohol!
Me: a7a I told it doesn’t matter as I’m not drinking it… okay let’s ask anyone… (some guy was walking by) pssssssssst ya rayes… Does smoking spoils your wash?
Guy: I don’t know but I know it ruins your health. (and the guy smiles and walks away)
Me: Very cute.
Friend: But he’s gotta point.
Me: Anyway, you see he doesn’t know so it’s not a common knowledge!
Friend: Still… you need to wash again, plus they have bathrooms over there… go.
Me: I won’t go and I won’t wash again. Plus I heard it once from the Mufti that you don’t have wash after smoking and an additional plus Sheikh Shaarawi used to smoke before he prays… do you know better than Sheikh Shaarawi, huh?
Friend: Suit yourself, it’s your funeral.
Me: Exactly, it’s not you who will judge me on the judgment day.
Suddenly my friend’s eyes glittered in happiness... he saw something inside the mosque.
Friend: Let’s go!
Friend: I think there’s an empty space we can sit!
He dragged me behind after knocking the cigarette out of my hand.
Me: Wait! I didn’t even wash my mouth!
Friend: Who cares? Come on...
We took off our shoes and rushed inside... I think we managed to get people out their spiritual mood by stepping all over them and our feets poked them in the wrong places and people were like "watch it Idiots" and "Do you want me to break your other hand?" and stuff like that. Finally, we reached the empty spot that my friend spotted from 40 feets away. And there’s was reason why this spot was empty... because it had a pillar and a shoe closet... and the only space can you sit is almost 5 inches wide! So, apparently we can’t go all the way back and stepping over people again because I think the will beat us up this time (I know I would). So, we had to make use of the 5 inches... my friend started shoving surrounding congregation... while excusing and apologizing but one comment that he made that almost broke me into a laughter spree as he wasking some guy to move a little bit “law sama7t momken tetakher farda menhom lel yemeen shewia” (translation: Please can you move one ass cheek a bit to the right?) I know my friend didn’t mean it just came out naturally and the funny thing the guy moved aside. We finally sat down, my face was so red as I was trying to hold the laughter. But being so close to the shoes closet, the smell brought me back to my senses. Of course, in order to sit packed like sardines we had to cut the line of people sitting behind. Few seconds later I kept hearing psssssssssssssst and I looked behind and the guy right behind me is signaling to me to bend my head down... I bent it down but it wasn’t enough for him:-
Guy: Ya captain... I can’t see.
Me: I’m very sorry I know I’m blocking the view but I can’t bend any further.
Guy: But I want to see.
Me: See what exactly?
Friend: You know we are not inside a cinema…
Guy: What do you mean?
Friend: I mean you can just listen…
Guy: But I want to see the Shiekh too.
Me: Do you wanna switch places?
Guy: Yeah sure.
And we switched places and I was thinking “Enjoy the smell idiot”. So, now it’s the time to listen to that “tenor” Imam’s speech.
To be continued...