بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Friday morning we woke up and ordered coffee, tea, dates and a couple cheese sandwiches from the shop below the hotel. We enjoyed the food, talked and watched tv.
Friday (Jumu’ah) in Islam is like Sunday in Christianity. There is a special prayer in congregation on Friday at the noon prayer. The athan will sound as usual, but there will be a sermon (khutbah) before the prayer.
“Oh you who have believed, when the athan (call to prayer) is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Allah (God) and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah (God), and remember Allah (God) often that you may succeed”.
~Quran, Surat Al-Jumu’ah (The Congregation, Friday), 62:9-10
The prayer on Friday is half of what the noon prayer is on all the other days of the week, a beautiful gift from God.
After the Friday prayer we packed up our things and left the hotel.
We started driving around trying to decide what shops to stop at or what mall to visit. Most of the shops were still closed because of it being Friday. It is similar to how everything closes early on Sunday in the USA, except the shops here in KSA open later instead.
Eventually we decided to go to Riyadh Gallery – الرياض جاليري .
It is a three story mall with a beautiful, almost park like design in the middle of the ground floor. There are all kinds of shops, a supermarket and tons of restaurants.
I really enjoyed walking around the mall with Y, Mom and H. We went in and out of various shops, sat to relax while the stores were closed for the afternoon prayer and eventually made our way back out to the car.
It wasn’t my first time at the mall and even at this mall in particular, but the experience was different because of who I was with. I’m not sure how to explain, but just having them around me there made it a much more beautiful experience.
Y’s mom would come to me with a skirt or a shirt that she thought I would like and there is something about that action that makes whatever item more important or more valuable. It is the same feeling that I get when I receive a gift from someone I love, no matter how small. These are things to cherish.
Grocery shopping with Y reminded me of home. It was comforting to have him by my side, pushing the shopping cart and making suggestions of things I might need. It might seem silly, but these are small moments that bring warmth to my heart while he’s away.
To be continued…