As an undergraduate, I attended a programme organised by the Muslim Medical Students’ body to usher us into the preclinical classes. I remember one of the points a speaker made; that we should be patient when lecture times conflict with prayer times and should ensure we make our salawat on time in spite of the hectic medical student life. I remember how some of us felt like the non-Muslims just don’t care and won’t give us a break. But really, why should they when even we Muslims do not take our duties seriously. Why do I say this? I’ll tell you.
I attended an Islamic programme (at least, it was organised by Muslims for Muslims). The timing straddled both Dhuhr and Asr prayers and I considered taking a prayer mat along but confidently assured myself that such arrangements would have been made by the organisers. Heck, even non-Muslims programmes often have a lunch-break at Dhuhr or earlier for Muslims to go for prayers, and often close before 4pm. My assumption was wrong.
The programme started during Dhuhr, behind schedule, so there was time to perform the 2nd prayer of the day especially for those who came late. Asr came and the programme continued; the show must go on.
I waited in confusion. I had difficulty wrapping my head around it. No Dhuhr or Asr break? Seriously? Eventually, I get up and ask around for a prayer mat, none of the organisers I asked had one. I asked for the qiblah, no one knew. I must admit I felt very disappointed. You know how we women can delay our salat and…BAM! Our period comes early and we’ve missed two prayers.
Anyway, I went to perform ablution in the restroom and found a spot somewhere in the building to pray then returned to the hall.
The show was still on. Some sisters asked me about the Qiblah and where to pray as I returned. I told them I guessed the direction and described where I had prayed to them; they left instead. They did not see any point in staying any longer. I am not portraying myself as a fantastic Muslim. Allah knows I have a truckload of faults but, really? No lunch break, no time-out; Dhuhr then Asr; a Muslim programme? So, I ask again: why should non-Muslims care when we don’t?
Have you had a similar experience? Please share below.