an old scratched CD in Paris

when you least expect it the human race will show you indisputable proofs of religious faith.

Under a little arcade in one of Paris’s most famous monuments this homeless old man was praying (a Muslim prayer), it took me a split second to decide I had to take a picture of him……everything about that image of him crystallised in my mind…..all the contrasts slapped me in the face, his poverty against the richness of his faith – how the world seemed to have forgotten him like we forget the homeless in our cities but he still remembered, he remembered to pray for us – his dishevelled homelessness against the majesty of the monument in which he has found refuge.

I stayed there staring at the old man…..5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed, 15 minutes passed then i realised that the poor man was stuck in a prayer loop….yes a loop, he prayed for over 15 minutes in a loop, yes the irony of it all is that he was stuck on repeat just like a scratched CD repeating the same note without ending the song to move to the next one. the homeless old man was a scratched CD


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10 responses to “an old scratched CD in Paris

  • maysaloon

    I like how people are staring at this man as if he is insane (first picture). Some would almost call this behaviour backwards. That is why I sometimes pray if time is running out for me on a pavement somewhere on the side, even if people are walking past. I like to remind myself how close I was to this man’s situation and also to humble myself. If the city forgot about this man, I can assure you categorically that Allah has not.

    Maybe it wasn’t a scratched CD, maybe he just decided to pray 100 prostrations. A desparate man with time on his hands can find solace in such things, I know I did. Your post and pictures brought a tear to my eyes. Allah guide him and us all to the straight path.

    • melicieuse

      the staring people are 99.9% likely to be tourists, they already think all French citizens are insane.
      I don’t agree with praying outside for all to see in a place where it is not of common habit to the locals……..the freedom of self stops when the freedom of others start, as much as the act of prayer anywhere so that the time doesn’t go is of true virtue (debatable depending on the real motive for the prayer anywhere, some would do it just out of provocation) I think that this act can offend some people…………….don’t ask why would it offend anyone because it would.
      religion has to have a personal private side to it, and I believe that private side can vary depending on the environment one lives in, in the west prayer has a bigger private dimension that in the Middle East…..in the Middle East it would be shocking to see men praying on the side of the road next to their car if they are no where near a mosque…..but it would be shocking to see this in a European country.
      Why alienate ourselves, it is good to want to show Europeans what a Muslim prayer is all about and spike their curiosity to know more but there are ways and manners for it……….and lets face it, for some people there is really no point trying to make them curious they will only snare
      oh and one more thing, does this mean you always carry around a clean cloth with you to pray on?
      and yes it could be that he is doing a 100 prosternations, but I really do think he was stuck on repeat his mannerism was not normal

      • maysaloon

        No I don’t, in fact it was just on a pavement which was dry and reasonably clean 🙂 don’t ask, I do these weird things to crush my ego sometimes. Somebody like me needs to be reminded otherwise my brilliance, good looks and intelligence all get to my head…

        I agree with you though, where it is provocative I’m against it. In fact I would say the private element is the only one which counts. Recently the Islamic society at my university started doing Friday prayers outside because of a long drawn dispute with the uni, the first time they did it I joined them, but when I find that the Uni provided acceptable alternative rooms I didn’t. I felt it was being petty and provocative, which is not what Friday should be about. The Prophet used to calm people with his sermons, not get them fuming about little things.

        • melicieuse

          good good, some are just in there for the provocation……why is it that it is only Muslims that love to provoke….i never heard of Jewish students protesting for the ban of university activity on Saturdays and Friday afternoons so that they can observe the Shabat……i never heard of Christian students protesting for a chapel….I never heard of Buddhist students protesting because they want a temple room that was pretty and big…..I never heard of Sikh students protesting because they weren’t given a glamorous enough room to prosternate or protest to be allowed to walk around with their religious dagger

          • maysaloon

            I think you are being unfair in making this comparison. Putting the victim mentality of many of these provocateurs aside for a little bit, and media sensationalism on the other, you will find many of these kids are idealistic, impressionable and trying to change the world. Why are they any different to activist students who used to stage sit-ins or take over campus buildings in the sixties or seventies. One member of the University Student union noted that the Islamic society was the most active, vocal and involved society at the university. I would take that to an apathetic student society that just nods and says yes, regardless of the world around it, any day. N’est-ce pas? 😉

  • maysaloon

    Ah yes, I remember what I wanted to end my comment with…

    و استعينو بالصبر و الصلاة, انها لكبيرة الا على الخاشعين

    Resort to patience and prayer, it is a hassle, except for those who are humble.

  • melicieuse

    eeeiiihhhh maybe, but don’t forget 60s and 70s most people were under the effect of drugs sex and rock’n’roll 😉

  • whisper

    for me I liked the pictures 🙂

    I think as usual they thought he is a terrorist,and unfortunately they will act with him as one 😦

    they forget his poorness and that he is a human practicing his rights there

    Thanks for sharing it with us

    • melicieuse

      glad to have shared it Whisper 🙂
      ill post something soon about the new law they want to pass….the legal banning of full veil (anything from niqab and more) all in the name of women’s dignity

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