The security men led us out through the backdoor exit. It was right after closing hours and time for Asri prayer. As I was about to leave the bank premises, I saw two men praying side-by-side on a mat. I instantly picked a kettle and went to get water for ablution. But I was in no rush. And I was not alone.
Normally, the most common way to join such a 2-man prayer is to stand by the right-hand man and gently pull him backwards, or calmly motion the Imam to step forward. If only gently and calmly were enough.
The Imaam (leader of the prayer) wore a dark green T-shirt with camouflage trousers and placed a rifle at his front – no doubt a military officer. The second man standing by his right was a policeman.
To complicate issues, they wore stern looks on their faces like they were angry by default. By inference, one could easily earn some pump-action slaps for having the officer move forward and leave his rifle behind. Or could get himself beaten black-and-blue (like the uniform combination worn by the second man) for being the reason for the dust stains on his trousers, after pulling him backwards to the bare floor.
Perhaps they were just two men very serious with their prayer, hence their inscrutable countenance.
Still, it seemed like a case of “If you can’t beat them, (don’t) join them”. But they were human beings, aren’t I human too? They wore uniforms, I wore my 7/7 khaki uniform too (as per “Corper wee!”) so I dared fate. I joined them.
Yes. I did join them with all the intentions and goodwill I could muster. From my seat. Don’t ask what took so long but I finished my ablution at about the same time they finished their prayer. But could it have been because I had ensured to rinse my body parts carefully, meticulously and gently, making sure the water touched all the right places, just like the Prophet (S.A.W.) advised?
Well, you never know…
As soon as the prayer was over and the 2 men left the mat, people I had seen standing about and appearing unconcerned about prayer started walking towards the direction of the mat. One such person came all the way from the ATM queue! The people were so many that there was almost no space for yours sincerely. I mean, this guy had to settle for the edge…
The beginning of wisdom is fear.