Masjid MIami- Islamic Mosque

The best thing about going somewhere new with no expectations is that you can leave all bias aside and completely immerse yourself in a new experience. I decided to visit a Muslim mosque, or Masjid, perhaps because of all the religions Islam is the one that I am most ignorant about. At least from what the media portrays, Islam mostly seems to carry a negative stigma. Nevertheless, I went not having a clue as to how it would turn out. I visited Masjid Miami alone, a nondescript location in a residential area. It was so quiet and lifeless at first it was abandoned but as I wandered around the mosque I noticed shoes outside the entrances in shelves. Then an older man came out from the mosque and after explaining my reason for visit he told me to sit on one of the picnic tables in broken English; they were praying inside and would soon come out to help me. Shortly after a man in loose white clothing and cap, whom I later learned was named Hadeem warmly greeted me and asked if I was a student from FIU. He then welcomed me inside, after taking my shoes off, and pulled a chair for me to sit at the back to mosque while I observed their prayer. As more men came in, they joined a silent individual prayer in which they kneeled, bowed down their foreheads to the ground, and stood back up several times. Another similarly dressed man greeted me and made sure someone had helped me, then going back to his car just to give me a copy of the Qur’an in English. I watched their group prayer: the men and boys stood side by side chanting and repeating their bows. It was fascinating to me. They finished their prayer and Hadeem came over to answer all my questions –which he was more than willing to answer – and I could not help feeling like a reporter. I knew Muslims prayed five times a day but I was unaware they timed the prayers according to the sun’s position. He described each of the five pillars of Islam, and recounted his own pilgrimage to Mecca just last year. He told me how women and men pray in different sections of the masjid but both follow the Imam who leads the prayer. I noticed they said something every time at the mentions oh Muhammad’s name, which Hadeem told me meant “peace be upon him” out of respect. He spoke lovingly and wisely of his religion, but with the some of the religious zealously encountered in some devout believer. He spoke of how the Christian Bible, Jewish Torah, and Islamic Qur’an were all connected mainly because they speak of one God, Allah, we just follow him differently. My Muslim experience lasted around two hours, and on the way home I kept thinking about the kindness and openness with which I was received. I found the Mosque, as well as the entirety of the religion beautiful and the experience was surprisingly enlightening.

-Paula Gutierrez

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One response to “Masjid MIami- Islamic Mosque

  1. Great experience Paula. It is interesting that you felt like a reporter, somehow marginal to the space. This “distance” works for your advantage because it will allow you to ask all sorts of questions without being “judged.” Keep in mind that “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” so it should not be understood as the “name of god” or a different deity.
    25/25

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