Praying in Germany

Praying in Germany!
Before I came here, I thought it would be a big issue, and that I would have to hide every now and then to make my prayer. I even thought I would have to go back to my dorm every time I had to pray.

Fortunately, I was wrong.
I had forgotten that God who has created this earth has made every spot of it suitable for prayer. You know what, sometimes when I go to a new place, I think: “How many people have stood here in the same spot where I am standing praying to God throughout history?”. Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, said: “The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.”

For those who don’t know: We Muslims can pray anywhere and everywhere (as long as it is clean of physical impurities, of course). And although it is better to pray in groups, you can also stand up alone wherever you are and make your prayer, provided that you are clean, meaning you made ablution. Each of the five daily prayers can take no more than five minutes to perform and their due time is extended between 2 and 8 hours according to the prayer.
So there is no excuse to miss one prayer, other than if you were sleeping or you forgot, or there is really something very serious keeping you from your prayer. In those cases you can pray what you missed with the next prayer.

Now back to the point of this post, as I said I was wrong in my assumptions about praying in Germany. From the very first moment I arrived in Germany, God has made it so easy for me to pray.

We arrived in Munich airport and we had to pray “Fajr” (dawn). I asked my colleagues how we will pray and one of them told us he was here before and that he knows a place to pray.Of course I could have prayed anywhere in the airport but first, I didn’t want to frighten anybody :), second, I didn’t want to end up in prison being associated with Bin Laden or something, especially in the airport, you know. So we followed him, and in the elevator, to my surprise, I found this:

There is actually an official place for praying!

And there are signs everywhere telling you where to go, even written in Arabic!

And even one for men and one for ladies!

We were so happy and we even prayed as a group together.

This was a wonderful start!

I wonder how many people just arriving at the airport or short before flying used to pray at the airport until the people responsible found themselves obliged to offer them a place to pray.

Then, the university in Stuttgart! We don’t go to the main university campus inStuttgart center but to a campus in the east where mainly fields related to Engineering and Computer Science are taught. But still, there are a lot of Muslims there. On my first day at the university, I didn’t know where to pray. I looked around for some Muslim to ask where they usually pray. I saw a veiled girl in the library so I went to her and asked her where she prayed. She told me about a room called “meditation room” and told me that Muslims go and pray there.

So I went there.It was a wonderful quiet room. I think it was originally made for Christians to pray, because of the cross there, but I think I only saw Muslims of different nationalities going there to pray.

So we prayed there the first few weeks.

Then, I started to realize that I can simply pray in my lab. I am most of the time alone in my small computer lab, and there is a partition where I can pray without disturbing anybody, even if there is someone in the lab. Also, there is a toilet next to the lab whenever I want to make ablution. It’s that simple. So since then, I pray in the lab. I don’t care even if somebody sees me.

There are lots of things which people here don’t get embarrassed to do inpublic, so why should I be embarrassed to pray in the presence of someone else?

During my husband’s visit, we also used to pray together in the lab.

Now, the Friday Prayer!

I hadn’t seen the “mosques” in Stuttgart before Muhammad came. As it is an obligation for men to pray the Friday Prayer in the Mosque and listen to the sermon. So the first Friday he was here, we went together searching for a mosque to pray. Some of my friends had told me that there is a mosque in a district called Bad Canstatt which also has an Islamic Center. So we took the “S-Bahn” and went there.

When we arrived, we found lots of Turkish shops, and we asked some Turkish women about the mosque. But as they pray in a Turkish mosque (to understand the sermon), they didn’t know that there was an Arabic Mosque inthis area and they described to us the mosque where they pray. We were already late, as we thought it will be inthe time of the “Duhr” (midday) prayer as usual.

So we decided to go there. We had to take two “U-Bahns” again to arrive there. I was very sad that we arrived after the sermon (I didn’t notice that anyway I wouldn’t understand it as it was in Turkish 🙂 ). So we just prayed with them.Then, on our way back, we wanted to find the shops with the “Halal” meat which people told us were always close to the mosques.

So Muhammad called an Egyptian (married to a Muslim German woman) who he had metin the train on his way to Stuttgart to ask him about the shop. He told us that he is on his way to the mosque to pray the Friday prayer. That late?! The prayer is already over!, we wondered. He told us that in one of the two “Arabic” mosques, they make the prayer a little later, at 3 p.m. , to allow people to come after work, as Friday they come back early from work. We were very happy that we will listen to the sermon in Arabic and pray again so we told him that we will accompany him there.

They are actually not “real mosques” but just flats where they established mosques. After the sermon in Arabic finishes, a German guy summarizes the whole sermon again inGerman for those who don’t understand Arabic. It’s really amazing!

After prayer we had some nice time together in a cafe and then he showed us the “Halal” shops. The next Friaday, we prayed inthe second “Arabic Mosque” which prays early.

These are some photos we took there:

So, by now, I have already prayed in three different mosques in Stuttgart!

Originally Posted By Laila Hussein to Thoughts & Tips at 9/23/2008

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