• The First Prayer

    This morning, it was so cold. When I left the warmth of my bed and put my bare feet into the slippers that fully absorbed the coldness of the night, I shivered.

    It was not dawn yet. I leaned on the window. There was no one in the small and “Minaret of the Ski” (“Old”) Mosque that rises in the sky with spiritual grandeur. Then, the shadow of the young Mu’adhdhin (person who raises the call to prayer – ‘al-Adhan’) appeared in the minaret. I snuggled into my sweater. As I heard the call to prayer that shook my soul full of troubling thoughts, I was thinking about the first of these prayers full of spirituality that I was able to wake up to for fifteen years. Ah, fifteen years ago…

    My respectable mother whom I love the most in this world had waken me up for my first morning prayer fifteen years ago. I guess it was a winter like this one. While I was sleeping in the small bed in my room that was next to hers, by cuddling my hair with her kind and thin fingers as if kissing my forehead, she said:

    Come on my dear Omar, wake up! “ Wake up, come on my child!”

    I had opened up my eyes and said “But mother it is still night…”

    By kissing me from where she always does, from the edge of my left eyebrow, she helped me to get up by holding me from my arms lest the time for prayer passed.

    I put my small slippers on and, rubbing my eyes, I followed her. We passed the dark hall and reached my mother’s room. Near the a person sat cross-legged.

    - Oh... Pervin is awake too…

    Pervin was getting the yellow kettle from the top of the stove. I did not imagine that she would be up. But my mother said:

    - Pervin wakes up every morning.

    Even though I had never woken up this early, I was surprised that she used to wake up every morning. They helped me to take out my sweater and roll up my sleeves, and I bent down next to the ablution kettle. My mother said:

    - “ You would get tired like that” and passed me a little stool to sit on. After making ablution, I went back to the stove to warm up. When I looked back, I saw my mom opening up the angora wool prayer rug…Then she put her green scarf on and called me:

    - Come on…I went. Very young me stayed next to my kind mother on a prayer rug.

    At the beginning, while she raised her hands to her shoulder as women do, I had also copied her without knowing. After finishing the performance of the sunnah of the prayer, she smiled at me with her kind eyes and said:

    - My son! Are you a woman? Women start out like that. You are a male, you have to raise your hands up to your ears.

    With her warm hand, she held my hands up and raised them to my ears, saying:

    - Just like this, and she taught me how males take the Opening Statement (Takbir, i.e., Allah u Akbar).

    - I took al-Takbir like that and completed my prayer. I asked when I was praying to God:

    - Mom, how I am going to pray to God?

    - Mom said that I can pray like:

    - O my God, I thank you that I am a Muslim! I pray that You protect our homeland from the enemies. I pray to you for the well being and health of all the Muslims who are in pain, sick, facing disaster, or poor.

    Then my mother suggested for me to pray to God to be a good person that is not deceived by Satan’s tricks. After the prayer, my mom picked up the prayer rug and asked me whether I want to go back to sleep or not. Was I sleepy? I did not know that… I did not answer her.

    - Come on then, go get your book, let’s listen to your lesson.

    - All right!

    I passed the hall quickly. I took the open book on my desk and ran to my mom. In the end, I did not have any mistakes at all. My mom used to say at night:

    - Read your lesson three times before you go to bed my son, angels will teach you that lesson in your sleep.

    Those angels had taught me my lesson that night too. My mother cuddled me with a merciful ‘Well done’ and said:

    - There is still too much time for school. Then she let me sleep in her bed.

    I was not sleepy and was looking at my mother. In the pale morning light, my mom with her green head scarf on her, got the Holy Quran, moving as in a dream. Sitting on the wide sofa next to the window, she started to read with her thin and delicate voice. I fell asleep listening to this beautiful voice that leaves an imprint of

    a poem, seeing her beautiful and clean face under the big green head scarf. I was comparing her to an angel and watched her head swaying slowly with the harmony of praying to God. Imagining the angels that must have been gathering around my mother reading the Holy Quran, I fell asleep.

    Time Call