The literal Islamic translation of Jamaat is a group or congregation.
In the Ismaili community, the Jamaat is where we have our group prayers. It can take the form of a school hall, a rented room in a community centre, or purpose built permanent facilities. The purpose built facilities are aesthetically pleasing and incredibly tranquil places, but wherever it happens to be, there is always a space for congregation and some socializing (after prayers, of course!)
There are a number of reasons I am immensely proud of my faith, but one of them is the community itself. Of course, there are varying degrees of opinion on faith, my religion, your religion (or choice not to have religion) and every shade of grey in between. Which is great and necessary (I believe.) This post is not about opinions on faith and religion; attendance at church / mosque / prayers or non-attendance; believing or disbelieving - it's about community.
The feeling of family - the love and support of the members of of the jamaat is an integral and beautiful part of being a member of the ummah (Muslim community.) I have my jamaat that I grew up in, in Toronto, where I made lifelong friendships and where my family still attends. Now, I've got one in Auckland. My attendance is spotty (at best.) It always has been. Whether it has been two weeks since I've last gone in Auckland or a year since I've gone in Toronto, it's always like coming home.
The members of Auckland jamaat are always loving, accepting and genuinely happy to see me. Since moving to New Zealand seven years ago, they have been my family - both in time of incredible sorrow and unbelievable joy. I have made friends there that I know I can count on at any time. They are truly amazing, wonderful and kind people. I am so lucky to have their support in my life. Not just a couple of them - but the whole lot of them. I have no doubt about that. I feel so lucky - how can I not be grateful?