For my site visit, I chose to do my work on the Islamic religion and visited a mosque. I have always wanted to get a better understanding of Islam because I always feel as though I, as well as many others, misinterpret Islam quite a bit. Growing up as a Christian, I always thought that Muslims were worshipers of a completely new god but doing this site visit has given me an entirely new way of looking at Islam. Although I was very much looking forward to visiting the mosque, I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I was rather nervous thinking to myself ‘what if they all stare at me since I’m dressed differently?’ or ‘what if they are not at all welcoming but very judgmental’? I did not feel at ease because I was not sure if I’d be the only young female there or not or if I’m required to do their religious practices along with them.
Contrary to my belief prior to visiting the Mosque, although it was very different to what I am used to, it was fairly easy entering the mosque. Everyone removed their shoes which was a sign that I too have to remove mine. They entered in with their right foot first which I didn’t notice until a little after. Removing the shoes, like we spoke about in class is a way to show respect to Allah, who they believe is their almighty and god of the universe. It is also done as a way of keep the inside of the mosque clean. Everyone was very kind and welcoming. A few did look my way but I believe that that is natural everywhere one goes. Once I removed my shoes, I entered into the mosque and noticed how beautiful the designs are. I followed the people entering in and most were heading to the washroom and probably because of the confused look on my face, one woman smiled at me and told I am welcome to go in and do a cleansing as well. I decided take a brief tour inside the Mosque and found one section where very few people doing personal or private reflections. There was also a place for the children to learn about the traditions and etc. The prayer hall, I found to be very interesting how they all lined to pray and when they stand, their shoulder has to be close to the other person next to them and etc.
I was given full access to the rituals from the time I removed my shoes, to being welcome into the washroom and entering their prayer room. The only time I would say I was excluded was when they were praying, standing, kneeling. The only obstacle I would say is that the men and women are separated which I don’t believe is necessary but it is tradition to them. I asked one of the woman next to me the reason they are separated and she said the main reason is to keep men focused on Allah alone while they are worshiping. I felt as though everyone I spoke with were more than happy to answer my questions which in my opinion was probably because they believe that I might be interested in converting to Islam.
I would say one thing that what impacted me was how devoted they are to their religion, god, and the Qur’an. They believe that the mosque is in fact the house of Allah and they treat it with great respect. I think that is phenomenal because in some churches I visit, even though the pastors refer to the church as the House of God, enough respect is not given to it. They are so devoted that they do exactly as the Qur’an ask and also they did not let it touch the floor. Praying five times a day is a great example of how devoted they are; they even had a clock that tells the different times they should pray.