Genesis 11:5

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. Genesis 11:5

A Place to Pray

On Saturday afternoon I was waiting for someone at the London Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. It was time to pray, and my guest was late, so I started to search for a prayer or quiet room in the station, as they have in the London Heathrow airport. When I saw that none of the signs direct to a prayer room, I searched for a person who I could ask, a member of staff who may know a place to pray. I walked around for over 20 minutes, probably, looking for someone to ask. I saw staff members, but none who I suspected would know. At one point I turned around to find behind me a brown member of Eurostar staff with a short, gray beard. He was talking on his mobile, but I interrupted him with my facial expression and stare, which indicated I had a question for him. He put the phone down momentarily. Excuse me, I said. Is there a place where I can pray? I did not necessarily look Muslim, especially since I was not wearing my hijab. He paused for a moment, assumedly to overcome the unexpectedness of my question. I did not assume that he was Muslim, but I had a feeling that he might know. There was a prayer room, but they closed it, he replied. But I will show you a place that you can pray. He did not scold me for not wearing hijab, and I was deeply grateful for that - I felt uncomfortable already for leaving it at home, having worn it all week to work. I followed the man, as he continued the conversation on his mobile. He halted the conversation another moment to ask me if I prayer mat, and at that time I assured him I had a cloth to pray on, and my prayer clothes. Eventually we arrived in a corner by a Staff Only door. It was not a separate room, but he said it was a quiet place, and no one would bother me there. He also showed me the direction to pray, and then I knew that he himself had probably prayed in the same place. I thanked him, and as he turned to leave he said "Allah bless you." I felt part of a wider community of Muslims, who pray and fast in unity. Staff came in an out of that door, and people were passing in the main corridor of the station, but no one disturbed me, and I felt happy to have found someone to help me, and to have prayed on time. I am grateful for the function of prayer as a reminder of Allah in Islam. I am thankful for the sense of urgency to pray.

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