Over the weekend, we decided to go to the Taraweeh Prayers at the girls’ school. It was my first time going, so I googled it to see what I could expect. I found that Taraweeh means rest prayer. Taraweeh is the series of prayers after the Ishaa prayer during Ramadan. There are a set of 11 rakahs performed, in which 1/30 of The Quran is recited each night so that at the end of Ramadan, the whole Quran has been recited.
Taraweeh had been discussed at my last Halaka, but I wasn’t completely clear on what exactly would happen. I dressed the same as I would for attending Friday Prayer, and we were off! When we arrived, the prayers were already underway, and we came in at a period of time where there was a break in the recitation. During this break, there was a fundraiser for helping the Pakistani people. We met a lot of people that we see often at school and on Fridays, but where we have become commonplace at other times of prayer, everyone was very happy to see my family at the Taraweeh. I was greeted by friends bearing big smiles and tight hugs.
During the prayers, there is child care available for children under the age of 12, where they do crafts and watch videos, but my ladies prefer to wear their prayer outfits and sit with Khaled and ask questions, and perform the prayers. I sit in the back of the room, in the same place every time so that if I am needed, everyone knows where to find me. It is from this vantage point that I can greet everyone that comes in, and I can observe the prayers and listen without being in the way.
I love to watch my family pray together. Although I do not understand the language of The Quran, I do pick up bits and pieces of phrasing that I do recognize and remember from our discussions at home and at Halaka. There is something so moving about the method of prayer in Islam that is so different from anything I have experienced before.
When the 11th rakah had been performed, and it was time to leave, we stood in the lobby, folding the Hijabs and Prayer Outfits, returning them to their totes and saying goodnight to the friends and acquaintances as they left for home. I felt that we had accomplished something. Somehow, this was a milestone for my family that had been achieved, and I know that every Ramadan from now on, when we are able, we will go to Taraweeh Prayers.