I often find the space I use (the disabled toilet) dirty and I have to clean it before I use it so that my clothes don’t get wet with something that I cannot identify (which would render me unable to pray if it is a substance such as urine or blood). It takes time to remove my scarf, shoes and socks and make sure there is no make-up. Because of this over time I have mostly stopped wearing make-up.
The sinks also in the disabled toilet are tiny and the taps are a type that sprays water everywhere ruining your clothes and making a mess. This means I have to open the tap very slightly so that I get a spray that cannot travel too far. If anything, this has meant that I have learnt to do wudhu with a very small amount of water.
I did not help when the organisation I work for locked all of the disabled toilets (which at least offer some privacy for your wudhu) and we were told we cannot use them. After some negotiation, the organisation agreed to leave two of the disabled toilets open for our use and these are heavily used. I have been told quite rudely before that I shouldn’t be using them by people who work in the building and have kept quiet.
Today it was the cleaner who told me off and said I could not use the disabled toilet. I explained two or three times that we had been given permission for our ablutions by HR so that we could pray. She eventually understood, but the toilet was busy and I had to wait. I waited for about twenty minutes of my lunchtime outside both of the disabled toilets and they remained busy. I wonder now if someone had locked them.
A young sister who recently returned from hajj came into the ladies bathroom to adjust her scarf; she saw my face and asked me what was wrong. When I explained, she told me she would stand in front of me to give me privacy and I could do wudhu in the main sinks in the ladies toilets. She encouraged me so gently and kindly that all my anxiety fell away.
I made wudhu, went with her to the “quiet room” set aside for prayer or reflection/rest and made my prayers with a happy heart. Sometimes it can be someone you don’t even know who makes your day or inspires you.
I find wudhu at work hard, but I have reconciled myself to the idea that the ablution is part of the prayer. I approach it as worship rather than a burden and imagine sins washing away with the water. This perspective helps me to be a little more patient.
I went back to my desk with a smile on my face only to find that two of my colleagues (Muslim sisters that I get on well with) had left rice, salad and chips for me for my lunch. I am very grateful at the moment to have good sisters around me Alhamdulillah.
My lunch and current lunchtime read.