This is a rather mischievous picture. But it had to be done.
A friend and I read the Qur’an together in our circle of two. We alternate pages. I say friend, but he’s a senior student here who really is teaching me Qur’anic phonetics. He’s a Scandinavian convert who is in love with Tareem.
When practical, we head downtown to read in one of the classic mosques. Ba’Alawi Mosque – is where they do not do and do not allow practices in Islam where jurists differ in legal opinions. In this context, taking pictures.
But it had to be done.
Between dusk and night prayer, there’s a main circle reading the Qur’an. Others form their own circle or read solo. Some students revise books and some sit alone quietly. This is as such in almost all mosques in Tareem.
Normally at midway a few men would come serving coffee to attendees, one-to-one in a small cup. I had it high on my mind and was beginning to worry that they had stopped doing it. I reminded myself the intention being here: al-Qur’an, not coffee.
Finally, we heard them piling the cups, starting the rounds. Again, I told myself to not get distracted. After all, I’ve seen, how off-hand these ‘coffee-pourers’ correct the recitation of someone while pouring a cup for another nearby.
Anyhow when one came to us and it was my turn to read, I forced my focus. On my left, he poured for my friend and went away. I had to stop reading, frowning, a little puzzled. He was smiling, nodding, a little puzzled.
He’s a standard guy. In his twenties, the youngest by a margin compared to the other workers and volunteers of the mosque. At this point, it’s my friend’s turn to read a page and I’m far out, roasted into the grounds of distraction.
After pouring for some others nearby, he then comes back to me from the other side, and gives me a cup. Somewhat smiling, he said, ‘better from the right…’ My friend and I are speechless.
Some might say, it’s just a cup of coffee. Others say, such are cups of etiquette.
It was my turn to read again, so I turned my focus back to the Qur’an while letting the piping hot coffee cool down. After reading two very familiar lines, I realized that I hadn’t to flip to the next page.
Sayyidatina Hafsah (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to employ his right hand for eating, drinking and putting on his clothes; and used his left hand for purposes other than these. (Abu Daud, Tirmizi)