1. Did the exterior of the worship facility add to the overall religious feeling of the visit? Describe your first impression as you pulled up to the building. Did the architecture lend itself to worship? Add specific details to support your answer.
I always said I would visit a mosque one day. I live in a high Muslim community and have always been invited to go with one of my peers. The exterior of the building was designed right out of what I would describe as old time desert days. The building had domes that came to a peak sort of like an ice cream on top of a cone.
My first impression was that this was surely a design that was distinctive from the other buildings of worship like Christian, Baptist, and Catholic churches, or even halls for Jehovah Witnesses. As I came closer to the doors I felt overwhelmed by the actual size of the building but inside looked much like home. Inside it was simple, there were restrooms, and places for women to tend children, many windows, Qurans, and a large drape right down the middle separating carpeted space one side for men and one side for women.
2. Describe the nature of the worship facility service you saw. This will probably be the longest section of the report, so be as thorough as possible. For example, what was the overall religious program? What was the theme of the message for that day? Were there any rituals that struck you as different from your own? Elaborate
Once service started I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before we were able to sit in the service we first had to wash our feet and hands. There were no programs but there were men who help sort of like the “mc” over the crowd. Service started with a prayer in which nearly everyone except me knew. Although I tried my hardest to keep my eyes close during the prayer for the sake of this paper and my curiosity I open my eyes to see all except a few small boys not speaking aloud the prayer.
During this prayer everyone is in the position on his or her hands in knee as to sort of like submit while during the prayer. Once the prayer was over we resumed position on our knees. Next was the message, I could not help but notice that there was no women in our section, instead through I barely visible colorful sheet the women were in their own service and prayer. The message today wasn’t really a message at all but instead a teaching of the Quran.
Before the reading of the text spare Qurans were passed around to members who wanted one. I opted to take one only to find out the entire book was written in another language. During the reading the text was read as is in the language was written in, and later after the reading translated for others. The text he spoke about interesting enough was about Jesus and his actual role Muslims believe he played. Although Christian believe Jesus played a huge role, Muslims believe that not only is he not the Child of God but just another of God prophets.
I also learned that they believe that Jesus did not do many of the healing described in the Bible. Accompanied with scriptures I cannot read nor remember Muslims also believe their text to be older and more accurate than that of the Bible. The only ritual that I think struck me is the fact that women were not able to congregate with us instead they were behind the curtain. I would later find out the reason. The washing of hand in feet were different for me and me being conscience of my feet I felt a little uneasy about the situation.
3. What was your overall reaction to the service? Was it positive or negative? Did any members of the congregation talk to you, and if they did, what was the nature of the conversation?
My overall reaction was interested I would say. I had a positive experience and a lot of people approached me after the service about my inquiry of Islam. I was told I came during a good sermon and they hoped I learned from the experience, if I was coming back and also what I thought about the whole thing. I told them I like the experience and I was honestly doing this for a class and that my interest peaked most when I actually walked inside the building.
I asked about the curtain and was kind of token back with the answer. I was told that the curtain is used to hide the women during the service. Because women are appealing to the eye it is sometimes hard to concentrate on worship and this simply isn’t tolerated. I could see the point of view about a “time and place for everything” but I think if a person will is that of a higher being one would not engage in deeds. I also notice that after, women mingled amongst each other, but younger women and kids mingled amongst each other.
I also asked a guy why made him follow this religion, and he told me culturally where his parents are from this is like tradition. Similar to religion and myself being passed down he had experience the same thing. He also mentioned that although he was sort of given this religion he believe in it whole-heartedly. He said that many of the other religions text had been altered many times and the Quran the last standing oldest religious text was untampered.