“What time will you break your fasting today, Mas?” I asked Mas Anwar, my friend.
“At 5.29 p.m. today, Bli,” he said.
That time, we were still sitting on the stairs in the warehouse having a rest during our heavy works today. There were hundred of milk products in boxes come in a whole truck. Together with three other friends, we tried to move those boxes; with jokes and smiles.
“Is it okay for me to come to the mosque with you, Mas?” I asked him. “I want to know how this interesting culture is done in here,” I added.
“Yes, sure, why not? Pak Edi and Pak Broto would also come there, I guess,” he affirmed. “Just join us,” he smiled.
“Alright, then, I’ll join you guys,” I said while getting up to get ready to move the rest of the boxes.
After we finished working in the afternoon, we walked to the mosque. It is only 5 minutes walk from our workplace. When we arrived, a security officer smiled and told us to go straight to the second floor to join the prayer.
“Should I open my shoes as well?” I asked, as I saw they directly took the shoes and socks off.
“Yes, Mas,” Pak Broto suggested me to do the same.
To note, some of my friends sometimes call me “Mas” instead of “Bli” – both mean something like “Brother” – in Javanese/Indonesian and Balinese, or “Pak” that means sightly like “Mr.”
We then went up. On that floor, half of the hall was already full of people and they started praying. I stayed at the back because I didn’t want to disturb. Some others who came later, quickly had their wudhu, then started to pray. Some others had to start praying in a smaller group because the main group’s prayers almost finished. And this is pretty interesting in my eyes.
I have to admit, even though I am used to interacting with many Moslem friends, this is my first time to come inside a mosque and saw this activity. It is not because I don’t want to, or I try to be exclusive but it is more likely that I’m worried I won’t be accepted properly. For some reasons, it is still a different thing than what I normally do and I don’t want to disturb any circumstances related to this because of lacks of understanding.
But then I realize, to present yourself in front of God, especially in the God’s house, any of them, doesn’t need any hesitations. A senior pastor, Rob, once told me in a church during his preach that, “To love God is unconditional and he who loves the God, loves himself.” And I feel that way.
What I found interesting during my visit that time was that when someone appears to be the mosque’s warden asked me to spread the carpet. I still enjoyed eating a few dates when he saw me standing at the back corner and he probably thought that I had finished my prayer.
“Hey you, please bring this carpet to the front,” he asked me.
I, looking confused, brought the carpet. But I didn’t understand what to do. I’m worried to do something inappropriate as I am not familiar with the ‘context’ in the Mosque, especially during the fasting month. I also saw some people were still praying on the front line. Then, I just put the carpet at the front and went back eating the dates.
Again, he caught me enjoying the dates and asked, “Why didn’t you spread the carpet? Spread it from front to the back.”
Oh my! Then I understood what he meant. As some other people started to help, I know that the carpet was meant for everyone’s meal table! I was sorry for myself for being silly. Remembering the warden always caught me eating the dates was quite embarrassing! 🙂
We then sat, facing each other, new or old friends, while waiting for our meals to come. I saw some people helped, pouring a huge portion of rice meal, called Beriani (my friend told me), with some macaroni and chicken curry in one big plate, for two persons.
I never tasted this type of rice and this cuisine before. I might not like it – as what I experienced with the Indian cuisine (note: personal experience, others may be different). But then, I just wanted to try. I shared the plate with Pak Edi and we started to eat.
“How do you like it, Pak Made?” he asked.
I had a small bit and it was great!
“Wah, I like it, Pak!” I told my impression to him while keeping my spoon filled with the rice and pasta. “Maybe, because we’re hungry!” I added.
“Yes, that’s true. Especially we’re working hard today!” Pak Edi reminded me about what we did earlier.
While eating, we enjoyed talking with other friends, new and old, to share our gratitude for what we had today. However, as it was a huge portion, I couldn’t finish eating the whole meal. I let Pak Edi continued. He kept going until he also said that he couldn’t finish it. It was unbelievably a very big portion of meal that even two big persons couldn’t finish. But, we did enjoy the meal for sure!
We all then finished eating. We went back to put our socks and shoes on, then we went down to the first level of the building. After having a few chats, we then went separated ways.
Since then, I went to several mosques to enjoy meeting new friends who have different views. I tasted different types of food as well in different events. To me, it is a unique experience that simultaneously works as a network building. I have to tell you this is also something interesting. It’s not only for the meals but for an overall understanding of unity in a diverse universe.
I also have been to several different “God’s houses” in various places, various religious beliefs and each of them present unique addition to my understanding of the existence of all beings and how it relates to our own. It will be very good as it would reflect good values, such as tolerance and peace, in this challenging and changing world.
“Love is other-centred, not self-centred” – Rob Keller (Senior Pastor – Cross Culture Church)
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