I have always been interested in different religions, particularly in Islam and finally I got an opportunity to learn something about it. I shared the apartment with a Muslim guy named Sana in Gwalior during my tour guide training and now we are very good friends. We shared the apartment for 6 weeks in Gwalior and then traveled together for next one week in Jaipur and Agra and I stayed at his apartment in Delhi. I had always wanted to learn about Namaz (the prayer to Allah). I was in Agra on Id and I was staying with Sana, his friend Khesal and Prem. We were staying at hardly five minutes walk from Taj Mahal.
Sana is a different kind of Muslim. I remember him once telling that he was an atheist whereas Khesal was really strict Muslim. He used to go for Namaz by leaving the class during training period. Sana was open for everything, even for drinking which is completely prohibited in Islam. It was Id day and Sana and Khesal both wanted to go for Namaz at Taj Mahal. Id is a day when entry is free to Taj Mahal so they decided to go to Taj Mahal for Namaz. I also asked Sana and Khesal to take me with them. Sana was open for it but Khesal seemed a bit concerned taking me to a mosque.I had already talked about Namaz with Khesal on the night before to Id and I had some idea about how it would be like and I was so excited for it but I was a bit scared also at the same time.
I did not want somebody to stop me and tell to leave the mosque because I was a Hindu. I talked about it with Sana and he said everything would be fine if I follow his instructions. He asked me to hide the red thread I had over my wrist and asked me to take care of my Janeu so that nobody could see it. I was excited for the Namaz but I was feeling a bit scared. I asked my friend Prem to come with us to the Namaz and he seemed okay at first but later he said that he did not want to come with us. He was also a kind of Hindu who did not know Hinduism well because Hinduism teaches to respect all the religions. Well, I went to the Taj Mahal for Namaz with Sana and Prem.
I bought a handkerchief to cover my head and was pretending to be a familiar guy to Islam. I think there were at least twenty to thirty thousand people at Taj Mahal for Namaz and I am sure that I was only Hindu there, and worst thing about me was that I was a Bramhin. Finally the Namaz was started and now I was seriously concerned about me doing anything stupid. Sana had already taught me basics of Namaz and I was just looking at other people around me with my half opened eyes but still I made a mistake but fortunately Sana saw me making this mistake and stopped me from doing so. Sana had told me that people repeat Ayats of Kuran during the Namaz but I did not know anything so I started repeating the Gayatri Mantra and somehow I was able to complete the Namaz without anybody letting know that I was a Bramhin doing Namaz there.
I was so happy to have completed the Namaz. Sana had told me that the people who do Namaz regularly never get any joint pains because they have to sit and stand up several times and now I seriously believe it. I think I had to sit down, band my whole body and put my head on the ground and then stand up for at least five times and the right way to perform Namaz is to perform it five times a day. So I am sure that if anybody is performing Namaz for five times a day, he would never get any joint pains and it is a very good physical exercise. After performing the Namaz, I went in the Muslim neighborhood right behind the Taj and saw Muslism celebrating the festival. It was really a nice experience performing the Namaz and I would really love to learn it properly and would love to whenever I get anyone like Sana who secures my safety and take cares of me.