As I recited the Qur’an in the second unit of my evening prayers, the door bell rang. I could hear the children giggling outside my front door and a woman shushing them to be quiet. I completed my prayer and looked towards the door and I could see their silhouettes standing there quietly. On Halloween night, that was pretty darned creepy.
So I rushed to the door, opened it, and the children chanted “Trick or treat” with a bit more reservation than I had expected. I wondered if hearing my prayers had scared them and made them think I’d be a bearded guy with a scowl. So with a big smile I pulled out a 5 gallon bucket filled with candy and told them, “Knock yourselves out!” The kids excitedly began to dig into the bucket and pull out handfuls of Sweet Tarts, Smarties and other sugary confections.
The whole time the woman —presumably one of their mothers— smiled and watched dutifully, telling the kids, “Say ‘Thank you,'” if they forgot. After the last kid darted away, she looked up at me and said pensively, “I heard you praying and I’m so sorry for interrupting.” I smiled with my characteristically silly grin and told her, “You didn’t. Nothing could interrupt my prayers.” She let out a small laugh, looked back at the kids, and then back at me and said, “It sounded so beautiful. That was the Koran, right?” I replied, “The Qur’an and, yes ma’am, it truly is.” Her smile was more conveying of peace than most Muslim greetings of “al-salamu `alaykum” (“Peace be upon you”) that I encounter.
The fact is, she and the kids did get nervous and apprehensive —and, yes, maybe a little scared— when they heard me praying out loud. Maybe it sounded like those scary Moslems in the movies. But for some reason the woman decided to stay there with the kids and listen. She overcame any apprehension she may have felt and decided to wait and see who would come to the door.
On Halloween night she confronted what was scary and found that the “monster” ended up having a nice voice, a really big smile, and a bucket full of candy.
I’m glad I didn’t turn out the lights.