Sunni Muslim Mosque visit
Basic Introduction to Sunni Muslim:
There are five Pillars in Islam:
1. Shahada (Faith): Believe in one God and Prophet Muhammad as his last messenger
2. Salat (Prayer): Pray towards Mecca five times each day once at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. These prayers can be done anywhere as long as it is facing toward Mecca.
3. Zakat (Charity): Giving back to those in need.
4. Sawm (Fasting): Go without food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan in order to sympathize with those who are in need and do not have the means to eat every day.
5. Hajj (Pilgrimage): Visit Mecca and perform the Hajj. Hajj includes circling the Kaaba seven times and going seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa.
Scriptures:Also called the Books of God includes the Torah, The Bible, and the Quran the holy book of Islam.
Teachers: Muslims believe in many, many prophets this includes those mentioned in the Torah and the Bible including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. They also believe that Muhammad was the last prophet for all humanity and completed the message of God started by Adam.
When Islam was founded: “Contrary to popular belief, Islam was not started by Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 7th century. Muslims, the followers of Islam, believe that Islam was first followed by Adam, then by all of the prophets thereafter. Muslims believe that the same basic message of belief in one God was communicated through all prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) over time.” -Miamimuslim.org
Why is the religion here in South Florida?
The reason that Islam is here in South Florida is because Islam is the second largest religion in the world right after Christianity. With over 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and 7 million being here in the United States some are bound to be located here in South Florida. One thing I was ignorant about was how many mosques there actually are here in South Florida and how massive they can be. I only know of one friend that is Muslim and sometimes goes to a Mosque, so in my mind in comparison to how many of my friends had roots in Christianity I applied it to all of South Florida. This Mosque in Miami Gardens was huge and had some really nice architecture and really nice carpets too.
Art, Symbols, Images, Cultic objects:
There was beautiful sanskrit on the walls in the front. I had no idea what they meant but it looked really nice in bright gold over a wooden wall. The entire floor was a burgundy carpet with a design of columns holding arches. The rest if the interior was white walls with columns and arches just like the carpet and sanskrit under each arch. There also was colorful round glass window panes in the front with sanskrit written on them too. It was very similar to what you would see in a regular Christian church. Arches were very prevalent through the whole building, inside and out. The roof of the building had golden onion looking bulbs which represented two dimensional would be an arch, and on top of those were crescent moons. One thing that was clearly missing was pictures of Muhammed which aren’t allowed in Islam.
Distinctive dress/articles of clothing
Most men either wore suits, button up shirts, traditional long and loose fitting button ups with kofi hats, and some kids just wearing casual clothing. Women wore hijabs or scarves around their heads and covered up the rest of themselves too.
Forms of ritual, worship:
From what I saw was how important prayer is in Islam. They even had a timer/clock at the front of the Mosque for the five times of prayer in a day. The ritual for praying was to stand with your arms cross and your hands holding your forearms and then bow to end their prayer. It was sort of difficult for me to understand what the speaker was saying because of his thick accent, but he was talking about his fellow brothers and sisters “jihad” or internal conflicts and prayers that these will be made easy for them.
How I Was Impacted:
What Impacted me the most was how Asian middle eastern culture is compared to how I thought. Usually there is this great divide between middle and east Asians, east Asians usually are seen as the ones that are well mannered and clean while middle eastern people are in a barren wasteland and are not as sophisticated or well mannered as east Asians are. My mom being Japanese I realize Japanese people don’t really understand the concept of racism and simply use stereotypes to describe a group, not to ridicule them or undermine them but really that’s all they have to describe other groups of people other than Japanese. Being that over 98% of the Japanese population is ethnically Japanese. How they remove their shoes before entering the building, they sit with their legs crossed or kneel, the idea that women should be modest and reserve themselves for their husband, and bowing are very much like east Asian culture. Another thing was how they greet each other is hugging and then crossing heads 3 times, just like how hispanic people do minus the kissing.