If you ask Muslims what is so special about life in Saudi Arabia, apart from the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, they will tell you it is the opportunity to do their Islamic prayers (Salat) at any time and place.
I once visited a shop in a small industrial area in Mahajar town. It has a few small grocery stores and mosques-nothing much else.
It was evening (Magrib) prayer time. The local mosque made the call to prayer (Adhan), and the store owner started to shout in Arabic, ‘Come on! It’s prayer time. Go to prayer. Go to prayer.’
The cashier and workers immediately stopped working and began unfurling a wide carpet across the open floor space at the back of his shop.
I observed the shopkeeper showing customers to an exterior wash area to perform the ablutions (Wudhu). A short while later, workers and customers gathered on the carpet as the shop owner led the evening (Maghrib) prayer.
Before the prayer, the store owner opened the entrance door of his shop to encourage passers-by to join the group prayer (Jamaah).
My mother and I were the only female customers in the store at the time. I always carry a travel prayer mat, so we did our evening prayers on the opposite side of the store within a concealed shopping aisle.
Coming from a non-Muslim country, I know how problematic it is for people to travel about because we are worried about finding a place to pray. We must plan them, find a prayer place, or go home.
In Saudi Arabia, you are free to offer your prayers almost anywhere you like.
Who Is The Author?
Maryam Hussain is an accomplished web based writer, cook, and storyteller. She lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with her husband and two young daughters.
Sometimes, when she feels like doing neither, Maryam indulges in reading novels and experimenting with new recipes.
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org