I have tried it many different ways, but in the final analysis it is all in the standing……..
The water runs off my elbows, and I feel the excitement of anticipation. The breeze of the warm southern night laden with moisture greets me as I step out of my car and enter the masjid. The sisters line up and the fard salah begins, which feels like a warm up for the real thing instead of vice versa.
After the fard there is a musical chairs shuffle as some leave and others arrive and the recitation begins in earnest. I usually keep my mushaf and follow the reciter line-by-line understanding words, sentences and then entire tafsirs of sections as he goes through a surah.
I recognize the sections on Sabr that I have struggled with, the words of Salah which make me feel guilty and the mention of “The Fire forever” which I try not to think of. The graphic story of Moses (AS) a thin young man with a stutter facing up to the most powerful king on earth with the support of his brother and the grand finale at the Egyptian arena equivalent of several football fields …..
There is a slew of duas…………Rabbanas…. that I try to softly say Ameen to and pray that my Ameen joins those of the angels…….and gets priority status.
I notice that when I follow the recitation with the mushaf the words fly into reality and open doors of memory: of being in the Haram, of feverishly searching for solace, of standing in the cemetery, of comforting a friend through grief or just closing my eyes in the haram and feeling the energy of Gods words flow into me.
They call it Taraweh which means “resting” I call it “The standing” because it is only then that I feel I am called to His presence in the presence of others and for once all of us in the Saf are in synchronous harmony which the Shaykh calls “resonance” Each cell of our body is in unison with “The word”.
“I hope I have not disturbed you with the turning of the pages of the Mushaf” I ask my neighbor musalli.”Not at all” she responds” I did not even notice it”. That is Khushu I think to myself.
It is all in the standing! the attentive humble posture of listening with my heart when the words of Allah reverberate through me, awakening every cell of my body and then laying it down in submission in resonance with the Universe, which is in Dhikr and make me oblivious of all distractions at least for that hour in Taraweh…………I am missing it!