With a kaleidoscope of colors and exotic threads depicting famous mosques and holy locations, janamazs have become a piece of art in many households. However, the janamazs in my family represents so much more than art- specifically, our green janamaz. It was the janamaz that I’ve always wanted to pray on as a child because of the beautiful green and red patterned border and the colorful depiction of minarets and of the Kabah. My family has used that janamaz to pray, on special days like Eid as well as on ordinary days. But this janamaz serves as a ticket to my past. Though I don’t have many memories of my grandfather, sometimes I think of how he would pray on it. I remember the distinct scent that it had after my grandfather prayed on it because of his strong ittr, or perfume. I like to think that the green janamaz felt softer back then because over the years it has accumulated tears, lost many threads and generally has worn out. Perhaps the tears are a tangible representation of the hardships of my parents’ immigrations from Bangladesh to America as well as our migrations from New York to New Jersey and back.

Year: 1990

– Tanvir Islam

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