Due to some reasons, we (a few of my classmates and I) had to go to our teacher's house for Feqah class, in the evening. The lesson should be started at 4.00pm and finished at 6.00pm. But, we reached the place about half an hour late. The driver took about 1 1/2 hour to pick all of us from various places and then searching for the teacher's residence. I didn't blame the driver as yesterday was the first time for him to chauffeur us. Nobody is to be blamed, indeed.
Upon reaching the venue, we were settled in one of the rooms. No man is allowed. That's the culture of arabs. In fact, there was no man in the house! I guess our teacher has asked her husband to leave the house temporarily and be somewhere else hehee..
It was closed to maghrib prayer. Nada (our teacher) told us that she wanted to get the place ready. I thought she wanted to get the place ready for the prayer. She went out the room and came back with a roll of plastics (melayu called it 'seperah'). Aik! takkanlah nak solat atas plastic seperah kot, I questioned myself. Then, she brought several bottles of water on a tray. She arranged the bottles nicely on the plastic. It didn't look like a prayer mat now. She came again with a few kinds of food and drinks. A few of our friends were actually brought some dishes too. It was 10 Muharram (Asyura day) yesterday and it is a sunnah to fast. A few of us, excluding myself were fasting ;).
We ate as the Marghrib azan was called. While eating, Nada told us these:
- It is a sunnah to eat dates (tamar) with cantelope (arabs call it shammam or batikh). Rasulullah s.a.w used to do this as the dates taste strong on your throat. So, to alleviate the strongness, it is good to eat them together with cantelope. By the way, the cantelope here is quite cheap :).
- It is preferrable (also sunnah) to break your fast with Rotab (the fresh dates - yellow in color). The crunchier the better. If you don't have it, take the half crunchy, half soft one. Otherwise, just eat the usual dates. If you have no dates at all, take plain water. If you're in a car and you have nothing (no biscuit, no sweet and even no gums), you may break your fast with niat - I break my fast now!
- Arabic coffee is not served with sugar. The taste may be disliked by some (it contains special coffee, cardomom and cloves) since the cardomom taste is quite strong. Never and never ask sugar for arabic coffee as you may be laughed by the arabs :). That is the reason why arabic coffee is drink while eating the sweet dates.
- You need to use left hand to pour arabic cofffee in a small cup (you hold the cup with your right hand) and right away serving the guest. Usually, this is the time for mothers to look for future daughter in laws (calon menantu). Those who are serving the coffee with left hands are not a good one to be a wife for their son.
- The use of right hand is crucially important for arabs. Even Rasulullah s.a.w himself took/ate the dates using his right hand and took out the pits with his left hand. Left hand is used for not so good thing.
I think there were a few other things which I couldn't remember, told by Nada. At the end, we spent only about 15 minutes for the Feqah lesson (due to the introductory explanation why 'something had happened' (this one will only be made known to the classmates), meal and prayer). However, it was splendid as we gain so many kind of knowledge thorughout the hours.
Actually, in the evening, I was rushing to go to the place that I'd missed my lunch. I was hungry (the tummy was almost empty) but I know Allah won't let me go hungry. The meal in Nada's house was a great gift from Him. Alhamdulillah!!