Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Night 20- Jamia

My next blog website should be called "odd mosque transformations." The amount of mosques in Chicago in places and buildings where you would least expect is intriguing. Jamia Masjid on Chicago's famous South Asian business district, Devon Avenue, would definitely make that list. A structure that strongly resembles a parking garage has been transformed into a fully functioning mosque. To walk in one must climb a ramp, and wide concrete pillars supporting the roof are blotted throughout the hall inside. 
Jamia Masjid, Chicago

A trip to Devon is never complete without eating. Keeping this in mind, my two friends and I decided to break fast at the local mosque by my home, arrive at Jamia for Isha and Tarawih, then pick out one of the restaurants to have dinner part deux. We arrived at Jamia, and I went inside to check out what time Isha salat started. As I opened the door the smell of burning oud, whose scent immediately transported me to the streets of Madinah, filled the mosque. There was about a half hour to until the iqamah- what to do? Eat of course. We ended up at chaat specialty restaurant called Spinzer where I ordered the desi rendition of a snow cone, gola ganda- shaved ice topped with rose syrup, orange syrup, another green colored syrup, and sweetened condensed milk.

We got back to Jamia just in time for prayers. Dozens of wall fans set on high drained out the sound of the Imam. Either there was no air conditioning, or it was not working to it's full effectiveness. In my row there was a boy with unfortunately one, or maybe two cut limbs. I couldn't determine if it was just one because I did not want to awkwardly stare at him. Being handicapped, this boy still did tarawih sitting down... that is dedication! 
One thing I noticed about some of the Imams at predominantly South Asian mosques was that during their recitation they pause between every few verses which makes it seem like they forgot the next one. This gets me antsy, but maybe it is just the style they learned.  

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