In the Malay version of my posting dated Monday, June 13, 2011, I wrote about my surprise at finding that the prayer room that I had used a few minutes before was not the type of prayer rooms found in my home country. In Malaysia, we call these prayer rooms 'surau' (the malay word which means a place where muslims perform their prayers five times a day.) When I, or any other muslim traveller wants to perform our prayer at a RnR (an accronym for 'Rehat Dan Rawat' or stop to rest) on our journey along the PLUS highway, there is always a surau for us. Non-muslim travellers do not go there or, if they happen to go, they do not perform their prayers in this place. After seeing the prayer room in Changi Airport, I have opened my eyes wider. Now, a prayer room in Malaysia may not serve the same function as a prayer room in Singapore, or probably many other countries around the globe.
|Part of a praying room situated at the north-south highway|
Before writing about my experience at Changi Airport, let me explain about the 'prayers' I used to see Chinese people performing when I was small. In the good old days, I used to see Chinese people waving a handful of burning sticks (now I know they joss sticks) in front of their shophouses while citing or mumbling something that I couldn't hear. Soon they finished their prayers and put those still lit sticks (they produced a kind of typical smell, mind you) into a piece of container.
|The notice board|
In addition, a place where muslims pray must not only be clean, it also should be cleaned according to the procedures required in Islam. This requirement is too abstract to be described, therefore I choose not to illustrate it in this limited space. What I would like to suggest to fellow muslims is, probably we can bring along our praying mat where ever we go, and pray on that mat when the need arises. Is that okay, dear brothers and sister? Tarra for now. Salam alaik!