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Indeed, there is khayr (good) in everything

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By Haleemah Oladamade Ahmad

During the summer and most of the year generally, the interval between prayer times, especially Zuhr and Asr is longer compared to during Winter. So, in summer, Asr (afternoon) prayers could be sometime after 5:30 pm, while at the moment, it is around 3:10 – 3:20 pm.

I have been away from South Bend since May 2022, and between then and January 1st, I have spent time in Morocco, the UK, Nigeria, Baltimore, and the DC area.

I returned to South Bend at the beginning of the year and got to attend Jumah at our Islamic Society of Michiana masjid last week. Due to the timing of the prayers in winter as I earlier mentioned, the interval between Zuhr and Asr is short. So, by the time we concluded the Jumah prayers at about 2:20 pm, it was only 40 minutes to the beginning of Asr prayers at 3:10 pm.

The Imam encouraged the congregation to wait behind for the congregational Asr prayers and about 60 – 70% did.

Before, when we did not have to wait for Asr prayers, once the prayer ends, everyone just says salam to the few people that they can, give and receive a few hugs, and people start leaving the masjid.

This time, we had 40 extra minutes of interaction with one another, and I really enjoyed it.

I had the opportunity to greet more people, and met and was introduced to new sisters that I had not met or interacted with before. Also, we were able to have little chit-chats here and there and have conversations with different people which helped to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood.

I met and interacted with a beautiful sister who reverted to Islam 3 years ago and shared her story with us. Of her three children, only the last has accepted Islam also. It was really nice hearing her story, and she also shared some of her struggles with practicing and integrating with the Muslim community generally. One of us, who is a big sister and has spent more time in the community than me was able to share some useful tips that would be helpful for her.

Another sister also shared the story of how her grandparents accepted Islam during the era of the “Nation of Islam” and how her family has evolved between then and now. It was really heartwarming to hear the stories of these amazing sisters and to just see the different interactions going on around me and the social and spiritual bonds being strengthened.

By the time the Adhan for Solatul Asr resounded from the speakers, it felt like we only just started. Tomorrow is Friday, and I am already looking forward to the Jumah service and the interactions afterward inshallah.

At least for this opportunity (and of course many others), I am grateful for winter!

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