Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Praying at Odd Places

Salam and good day readers! It's spring here in London, such a beautiful weather to go out and spend with friends and family.

Living abroad is hard enough for a single person, but to be in a non-muslim country is fairly difficult especially in finding Halal food and a place to pray. Prayer times now had become more distant between prayer which is good compared to winter when the gap is just an hour. But when you're travelling, where can you pray.

I have prayed in many odd places whilst travelling. When you are in a group, it's not that hard because you won't be the only one being stared at (or sometimes people took pictures of you praying). I think fo male will be more easier compared to women. I know we should not feel embarrassed to perform our duties as a muslim, but that feeling still comes when people stared at you.

I'll put the places in a list, so it'll be easier for you to read.

1. At the Airport Lobby

I did this when I was travelling to Korea. They have a prayer room or a multi-faith room as they call it. But when I was there, we were rushing to board our flight and the prayer room was on the other side of the hangar which is like 20 minutes walk. So, my friends an I just prayed at the waiting area. You have to be careful though, sometimes the airport security will ask you to stop.

2. At the sidewalk of a stadium. (Emirates Stadium and National Indoor Arena)
 Again, this was with friends, which I thought to be not so bad to be praying in public. People walked around, stared and took pictures of us. I am proud to be praying at NIA though, because I felt like we were the only group that prayed there even though I know there are many Muslim Malaysians there as well. but I'll try to think positive that they are all tourists where they can jama'.

3. Institute of Child Helath, University College London's Library

This is the place where I'm doing my research now. The nearest prayer room is at the University Hospital which is a 10 minute bus ride and a 20 minute walk. I went there a couple of time when I felt like walking. But it's too far...So, I figured that a library is a suitable place for prayer because it's secluded and quiet. No one will bother you as no one bothers people while they are studying. right? There's a small space where they keep the journals which is perfect. At first, I thought I was the only one who's doing that, but one day I saw these two guys prayed there as well. =D

Picture taken by Astro Awani

3. Lift area

This is also at ICH, UCL. There's a lift area near my lab which is quite spacey and a good place for prayer. I only noticed this place recently because previously I prayed at the library or my supervisor's office when she's not around. It's quiet, no one hardly walks through here and there's a toilet nearby as well.

Ignore the guy. He was there when I took this picture.

4. Supermarket's Changing Room

This is the one that I have never thought of. A friend of mine suggested it when we were in a tour at Cambridge. We went for lunch, and there was a Primark nearby. I just thought to find a secluded place to pray, but my friend suggested that we pray at the changing room. I though it was brilliant! We just pick up any clothes from the store and went to the changing room. The clothes are used to cover the floor. After that, we just returned it to the worker. 

5. During events such as Malaysian Night or UKEC (Malaysian Career event)

These events are held by Malaysians, which one would normally thought, there must be somewhere proper to pray. Guess what? NOOOOT!! Malaysian Night was held at Trafalgar square which is an open large area in the city centre of London. There were booth for everything, that's why I couldn't understand why they can't have at least one booth to pray. The people that are involved in the booth  have to pray as well right? I don't know how they perform their prayer. 

At UKEC however, they did provide a space, which is at the basement where the talks are held. However, they just simply put down white sheets. I think we could provide a proper prayer area don't you think? And there aren't even signage showing where this place is. I asked around and no one seems to know. Only after I performed my prayer that I found out about this place. I asked a worker about the praying area, she was a local, but very helpful. She said she didn't know, but she can show me some place quiet and secluded where I can perform my prayer comfortably. She was even more helpful than the Malaysians there. 

6. On the bus, trains...etc

I've also prayed on a moving transport, which I think is easy. You can pray while sitting down. Most coaches here in UK have toilets in them. So it's easy to do ablution. 

Overall, there's always a place to pray. Islam has made it very easy for us to fulfil our duties as Muslims. It's a question whether we are willing or not. There are those who do, and those that make excuses. 

That's all for now,

until next time....

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