After break the fast with dates and milk, we pray and later eat the appetizer: soup with bread. And later comes the main course, usually something with rice or bread, and we eat it: one big tray for 4-6 people in one plate. And, if we are lucky, there are some dessert such as cakes and ice cream. And since the restaurants and public spaces are closed in the evening, they provide a mini café shop, and we can pay with dinar and dirham.
The Prayer Leaders are two Moroccan teenagers who take turn becoming imam: one lead the prayer by reciting a juz of Quran by heart for a night, and one is standing by opening the small Quran and checking the Imam’s recitation.
The Grand Imam, Syeikh Abdassamad, is standing next to him and the prayer leaders are very humble, they also help people preparing and serving the food. And between Salat, there are some dzikir and shalawat, just like most of Muslims do in Indonesia.
Another interesting experience was when I did Iftar and Tarawih prayer at University of East Anglia, my campus in Norwich, July 2015. I didn’t realize that buses are not operating that night due to a reason I can’t remember.
After Tarawih, about 12.30am, everybody goes home. And I just realized that no bus will come by. So I decided to walk and tried to call taxi. Unfortunately it was Saturday night and every taxi is busy, and I should wait for another 30-45 minutes. So, I decided to walk home, alone. It took 45 minutes. By the time I got home, I only have 15 minutes to prepare sahur and eat. And while I am still eating, the adzan prayer is on in my phone and I stopped eating and drinking.
Of course non-Muslims often asked questions about “nil by mouth” for such a long hours:”What for?”” do you suffer?” They try to fast as well. And some Islamic Society also invite and encourage non-Muslims to try fasting and break their fast with Muslim community.
A Muslim, at least, need to know basic Islamic knowledge about it and automatically become ambassador of Islam, whether you like it or not. What beautiful and colorful experiences.