First night of terawih and we’re not at the mosque.
Just as it was last year, the whole of Aizat’s family travelled to their grandma’s for terawih prayers in her home.
It wasn’t like that the years before that.
In the years before that, we would always have to rush through our iftar, perform our mahgrib prayers, ensure our ablutions are intact before rushing off to Aleem Siddique for terawih. It didn’t matter than it was a 20 minute drive away. My father-in-law would drive us there every single day because this mosque does 20 rakaats instead of 8 and their practice was to complete the recitation of the entire Qur’an over terawih prayers by the end of Ramadhan.
And whenever I would ask if we could do just 8 rakaats, he would tell me how much of a waste that would be, considering how everything was multiplied in this blessed month, and how it was but a tiny thing we could do to please Allah. Just 12 rakaats more for 28 nights.
Such is the character of my father-in-law.
Whenever possible, he prefers to perform his prayers at the mosque. So if he isn’t working over the weekends, all of his prayers would be performed at the mosque. Masha Allah.
On his birthday 2 years back, we were scratching our heads on what to get him because he never asked or expressed a need for anything. That’s when Aizat joked, “You know what papa wants the most? It’s if all of us went to the mosque for Mahgrib!”
And that what exactly what we did.
As we packed the car to head to the mosque, a smile crept across his face.
“That’s all you want for your birthday right, pa? I’m a genius!” Aizat teased.
“Not my birthday only, everyday must go mosque.”
So imagine my surprise when I was told that we would skip the mosque last year and head to their grandma’s house instead.
Why didn’t my father-in-law insist on the mosque this time? I asked Aizat and I got my answer.
There is nothing more he wants than to be in the mosque, praying 20 rakaats, and just standing for hours at the mosque in prayer and worship of Allah. But he chose to bring us there because his mother-in-law said - in passing- that she felt sad that she couldn’t pray in congregation at the mosque.
And so my father-in-law decided that he would bring the congregation to her.
My Ustazah once told us that true happiness in this world is attained through one thing - being in service to others.
In servitude, we place others before ourselves.
In servitude, we affirm our place, our role, and identity with respect to Allah, our creator; we affirm that we are His servants.
And just as we are servants to our Lord, we are servants to our brothers and sisters. We are the servants to our ummah.
Sometimes, the most unassuming acts hide the noblest of intentions.
Surely, performing your terawih prayers in the mosque bears more goodness than performing them at home?
Not if the husband stays at home to be the imam to his wife who is in her final weeks of pregnancy or who have just given birth recently.
Not if the son stays at home to be the imam of his ailing mother who is confined to a wheelchair.
One thing I truly appreciate about this religion is how intentions are rewarded just as much as (if not, more than) our actions.
I pray that my father-in-law be rewarded as he has intended - 20 rakaats of terawih, being in the mosque, completing the Qur’an over Ramadhan - and many, many folds more.
And I pray that he will fully taste the sweetness of what he had intended in his soul.
I also pray for others who have placed themselves in servitude of their loved ones this Ramadhan - that they be rewarded immensely with His blessings and protection.
May we be the best of servants - to our Lord and our loved ones - this blessed Ramadhan 🌙