Ramadan and the search for Islam

By freshouttatime

بسم اللاه الرحمن الرحيم
merhaba! na haber? çok iyilik? طيب

ُall right enough of me showing off the capabilities of Windows XP

Tonight was the first night of Ramadan, my roommate Kian and I went downtown to Kizilay in hopes of offering 'isha and taraweeh prayers at the
Kocatepe Camii

It was a relatively cool night, but if i remember last year, the start of Ramadan was met with an uncomfortable chilliness.
When we entered the prayer hall, the big "world light" was illuminated and so were its 32 satellites. It looked pretty cool, but i was excited much more at the prospect of hearing a Turkish Qari and observing the nuances of prayer and procedure.
So when we got in the Sheikh was giving a lecture on "Ramzan", Suhoor, Iftaar and the Prophet (these were the words that i could discern) and at 9 the Adhan was heard and we shuffled in line for prayers. We offered 'Isha and all its Sunna prayers, and then got prepared for Taraweeh. The Imam who had a strong voice MashaAllah suddenly switched paces and recited at LIGHTNING speed, I was caught off guard and even disappointed when I realized that we didn't start from the 1st Juz. It dawned on me that indeed its a big city with alot of people and it might not be apt for reciting the whole Quran. But other thoughts ran through me, we offered 20 Raka in rapid fire succession stopping at every 4 and sending Salaam on Muhammad (pbuh) in liturgies that everyone but me and Kian seemed to know. I can't help but think:

Or a little more; and recite the Qur'an in slow, measured rhythmic tones 73:4

I wasn't angry, or disappointed nor really shocked, Islam sadly in the Muslim countries i've been to (eh here and Bangladesh- my experience isn't really that colorful) is relegated to just practices. For real, I want to know what the Sheikh had said in the Khutba for the better part of an hour prior to prayers. In all, Isha Taraweeh and Witr wrapped up in approx 50 minutes. I mean I'm not blaming the establishment, the Mosque or anything, afterall if i want spirituality and to gain closeness to God, i have to seek it myself through private prayers, meditation, reading and being aware of my thoughts and decisions.

So switching it up, the initial Turkish kids i met on campus were for the most part "secularists", i mean it in the friendliest way because afterall these people have been the utmost helpful to me, made me laugh, found me food, and were thoughtful in ways that can only humble you when you experience it. Asking them about religion, mostly all believe in God, but are turned off by organized religion in general. With Islam they see the Islamist parties/advocates as an entity that will deprive them of their freedom of choice, their freedom to have fun and etc. But they recognize that people do practice it but it isn't the most suitable choice for them. That in itself is quite admirable, or maybe because they're young, they don't really care if one practices or not.
The problem it seems is that religion is for the old people, that it is an archaic practice/vocation for people who have no other means of coping with life. This conception is common i guess everywhere, and the solution is to actually define true religion and have people learn that as the correct definition.

What say ye on the terms of religion? This is what i find:

And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight 98:5

Lo! those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings. 98:7

And away from it shall be kept the one who guards most against evil.
Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification,
And have in their minds no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return,
But only the desire to seek for the Countenance of their Lord Most High;
And soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction. 92:17-21

So there is a major worship component - have faith, act on it through devotion, that devotion being prayer. But the second component and its very trite the notion of good works - through regular charity and seeking reward only from God. This is indeed religion, just a disposition for good vibes.

So this being Ramadan aka the month of charity I pray that me and my readers (dayib hehehe) attain this end. Also prayers, sincere prayers, its something i want because its something i'm lacking.

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life without doubt. And Allah knows the deeds that ye do. 29:45

hasta luego amigos.

assalaam alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu