Islam (service)

Before I attended to service with my friend Zihni we went over the basic rules I would have to abide by, I would cover myself appropriately, only shake hands with those who offer first, enter and sit in my separate section, and not wear shoes inside. For the service I wore a loose headscarf, a long sleeved shirt, jeans (with two small holes in them), and shoes i could easily slip on and off. Zihni introduced me to the imam (the man chosen to lead the service that Friday) and he described the service to me, 20 minutes of him giving a sermon in English and then 10 minutes of prayer in Arabic. The room was staged to where the men sat in the front of the room and then a row of chairs (for the elderly/sick men to sit) acted as a barrier for the women to sit behind. The imam began his sermon and talked about the idea that although praying to Allah for materialistic items such as a nicer house may seem wrong in the short run if in the long run the goal is to have the nicer house because it is in a better school district then your reason for praying for materialistic things can be validated. Shortly after concluding his sermon the imam began the prayer, reading straight from the Quran,moving into various prayer positions with different verses. Although I did not understand what the imam was saying during the prayer, his words began to flow together into what sounded like a song. I uncovered the reason why women cover themselves, not that it is commanded but done by choice, to allow women to feel modest. I also was able to observe the peacefulness of the Muslim community during a time of scrutiny. After the service, Zihni invited the imam to discuss the service with me. The imam explained to me how he understands many people have misconceptions about Islam and the effort the Muslim community is pushing to create themselves as more “approachable” to everyone. (For example, they were advertising a breakfast for anyone of any origin to come and talk with the leaders of the Muslim community). I left the service no longer feeling nervous or afraid, I felt enlightened… and that is the gospel truth.

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