This happened in San Antonio. Son as is usual with him, likes to get to a mosque at prayer times, and say his prayers there. Sometimes I get out from the car with him to pray inside, but at other times I pray sitting in the car while he goes inside. The reason I do this is when I don’t have socks with me. We have to take off our shoes when we enter a mosque. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a bit squeamish about walking barefoot.
It was evening, and we heard the muezzin call to Maghreb (evening) prayer on my cell phone. Son directed his car to the nearest 🕌. Son hurriedly strode to the men’s side to make his ablutions, while telling me to find my own way to the women’s side. Men, and women pray in separate halls.
After entering, I was looking here, and there trying to find as to where the women were praying. I saw one woman in a black abaya sitting in the outside hall. I asked her in English as to where we were going to pray. She said no. Perplexed 🤔, I asked her “Why?” She again said no. I was really mystified. With her saying no, no I wasn’t getting anywhere. At the last moment she added to the no — no English. It dawned on me that she was telling me she didn’t speak English. Oops!
I asked her, Arabic? She shook her head. Urdu? Another shake of the head, and then she said, “Pushto”. I’m a Pathan by birth, and Pushto I knew. In no time we were talking, and I laughed at her continuously saying no to me. Since I was a new face, she asked me from where I had come? I told her my Son was on call for a few days in San Antonio. She asked as to where we were staying? Hearing that we were staying at a hotel, she asked me to an evening meal at her home, and stay with her for the rest of our stay there. She kept insisting while I was trying to get out of it.
At the muezzin call to prayer, we turned to pray. After the prayers, she again insisted that we should be her guests. I thanked her warmly, and told her we will do so the next time we come to San Antonio.
I told Son about her when I returned to the car. I was hugely impressed with the lady, and her big heart in inviting a total stranger to her home. Son told me it was Sunnah to invite travelers, and wayfarers to meals, and a place to stay.