The banker said:
I participated in the jummah prayer for the first time 9 years ago. Before that time I had not set foot in a mosque. Having taught myself the basics of salat by consulting an internet site, I felt confident enough to join in group prayer — I wasn’t aware that there are jamat prayers, also provided opportunity for congregational worship, but knew (at least) that Friday was the day when all came together in Islam.
It a beautiful sight, the prelude. The men sitting in corners reciting from their books, radiating waves of Assertion, scattered rocks on a carpet ocean, extending, echoing across the warehouse.
I intuited the tension between individual prayers and the final assembly before the latter manifested itself … It reminded me of renaissance reliefs and the folk around the floor at the beginning of 90s rave parties, the languid precision of shared habitus, the cool, not of ritual, but of ritual’s eagerness to commence. A kind of subordinate eroticism, I suppose.
I intuited: and then fell into line. As the relief came alive and the folk joined in the dance.
You only get one chance to experience it like that, with a novice eyes, this beauty external.
It took me another 9 years to learn that I was a colonialist. But of what dessert, of what Somalian imagination? Because the eyes are no longer virgin, and experience — humbly — has been internalized. (If there is something this blog relates, it is the trace of that internalization.)