At around ten in the pm, my sister and I left home to go to the mosque. It was as we were leaving that she remembered that our usual route would be closed due to highway construction. So, we were going to be a little late by taking an alternate highway. “Ugh,” she said in frustration. I chose to stay positive. “It’s going to be a one and a half hour prayer, we will get there in time to join in,” I reminded her and off we went.
After about twenty minutes, the mother of all traffic hit us as all the traffic from the non-functioning highway merged onto the alternate route, which is now also under construction, so all traffic is forced to one lane off the highway. My sister’s temper is flying! She was upset that drivers were told to use the alternate route with no mention of it being closed for construction as well. So, we are going to be even later. She grunted, she fumed, she shook her fist, and she ranted and raved even thinking this could be a conspiracy to keep us from reaching the mosque in time for prayer. I actually had to laugh at that thought, as if the city would really try to foil Muslims plan to drive to the night prayer by closing down all of the major highways thus making commute hard for EVERYONE, not just the few of us who chose to pray at this one particular mosque which happens to be located between the two downed major highways. But I chose to stay positive. “No,” I told her, “you need to make dhikr. Every moment we spend in this traffic trying to get to the mosque for prayer is ibadah.” She let out a long heavy sigh and took a sip of her soda.
Apparently, she was not the only one frustrated by the traffic delay. Someone in a car not far from us, actually yelled so loud we could hear them with our windows rolled up and Nasheed playing. In hind sight, I should have popped a Qur’an CD in to help soothe the raging bull inside her. After about an hour of stop and go and stop traffic, my sister contemplated giving up and returning home. That’s how mad she was. But I chose to stay positive. I could not let her do that. She would return home in that highly agitated state and spend the rest of the evening grumbling and unable to focus on any kind of ibadah. While I did not care one way or the other, (this night would have been my first night to pray at the mosque due to time scheduling at my job) I encouraged her to shoulder on. We actually were not THAT far from an exit that would take us a street route to the mosque. She agreed.
We finally get off the highway and use the gps to find our way to the mosque. With little to no traffic now to hold us back, she finally began to calm down. We got there about an hour and a half late but just in time to say Salaam to a couple of friends and pray the last seven rakats with the Imam. It was such a nice prayer at that. Soothing to any agitated soul. I was grateful alone to be able to listen and say “ameen,” to the heartfelt and moving dua of the imam on the last rakat. Even with children about, it was a peaceful prayer.
Naturally on our way back home there was absolutely no traffic and we got home in less than thirty minutes leaving me plenty of time to prepare suhoor and the next day’s iftar AND get a short nap in before suhoor and fajr.
So the lesson I learned from that night, and then later reminded as I read Be Positive, if we want to live happy productive lives and experience happy moments and truly receive Allah’s mercy, we must choose to be positive. We must choose to say "Alhamdulillah ala Kullu Hal" when the most extreme agitations touches us. It is not always easy to temper our tempers, to see that there is always a silver lining under any circumstance. It is when we choose to be positive and put our trust in Allah that all things will work out, including getting to the mosque in time to pray with the Imam despite the closing of the only two major highways to get there.
I pray you all have a wonderful and safe Ramadan. Stay Positive!
Oh, and in case you were wondering what Nasheed we were listening to, we had Maher Zain’s Insha Allah, Alhamdulillah (Thank You Allah), and Ya Nabi Salaam Alayka on loop.
Saba N. Taylor loves to travel, read, write and blog (and not particularly in that order.) She writes children's stories and book reviews of children's books. Check out her blog, The Family-Ship Experience, for picture and chapter books that engage, entertain and educate. You can also find more book reviews, author interviews, giveaways and updates of her own writing experience and works on her writing blog, Of Thoughts and Words. Saba's published works include three teacher study guides published by Muslim Writers Publishing, a fourth in the works. Saba's work has been published in three anthologies and an assortment of online magazines. She has been a member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) since April 2010. On the web: Facebook, Twitter @worddiaries, The Family-Ship Experience (blog), Of Thoughts and Words