What a difference a week makes!
My wife and I recently moved to a new neighborhood here in Singapore, where I'll be attending a different masjid for jumu'ah, Masjid Darul Ghufran. The mosque is somewhat large by Singapore standards, holding up to 4,500 people. The previous Friday, the weather was extremely wet and I was able to find a place to sit inside fairly easily.
Yesterday, though, the sun was out and the masjid was standing room only; in fact, the masjid was so full that I didn't even try to go inside. Instead, some tarps were laid out on the ground, and I sat down at the back of one, as you can see from the photo. (By the way, what you can't see are the hundreds of men and boys standing behind the tarps on the grass, as the empty areas of the tarps were too hot to stand upon. Those empty spaces filled up when salat started.)
This is not the first time I have done salat outside in the open, but each time I have done so I have found the experience refreshing. There is something to be said for praying outdoors in the open, under an open sky. Not that I pray outside so that I may be seen praying (astaghfirullah!), but simply that I feel more connected to my Creator while praying on lumpy uneven earth with a bright sun burning and the wind blowing upon my back than when my nose is pressed into soft carpeting.
Note: The title of this post stands for: Standing Room Only at Masjid Darul Ghufran.