Mosques are worship places for Muslims. Muslims go to the mosques for prayers and ceremonies like marriages. Muslims perceive the mosque as a holy place. In this paper, a discussion of a visit to Islamic Center of Portland is done. In the tour, a Muslim who attends the particular mosque was interviewed. Being a non-Muslim, I have been curious to visit a mosque to know more about the religion. Muslims have a strict culture. Their mode of dressing and their prayer pattern is unique. In this paper I will discuss Muslim religious beliefs and their practices. I will also consider the reasons behind their religious beliefs and practices.
The interviewee said they believe in one sole creator who is Allah. The Quran is the holy book they believe in. It was initially written in Arabic. Islam is a lifestyle and not just a religion. The interviewee was taught the Quran in Arabic at a very young age and encouraged to learn Arabic. The interviewee said that Muslim children are usually taught about their religion when they are young, so they are active in their faith. In the Islam religion they believe in praying five times a day, and before prayers they wash their face they wipe their feet their hands and the mouth. Females are supposed to cover their heads and bodies to avoid tempting men. Women have a different place where they sit in the mosque during services.
The Muslim ladies prefer praying at home because of family responsibilities while their male counterparts are usually encouraged to visit the mosque frequently. Friday is the special day for Muslims where most of them go to the mosque. The prayers are lead by Imam who also presides over other ceremonies like marriages. Female Muslims are not supposed to pray when they are in their menstrual periods. During this period they are considered to be unclean, so they have to cleanse themselves before going back to their prayer patterns. They pray facing Mecca which is the city where Islam started. They usually carry their mats to work or school and use them during prayers. They use this mats while praying and these rugs are not supposed to be stepped on with shoes. During prayers, they are supposed to concentrate entirely without looking at the surrounding. They fast during the day in the holy month of Ramadan. They pay pilgrimage to the land of Mecca once a year. They believe in helping the poor and less fortunate in the community. Muslims only eat meat killed in a particular way and blessed in the name of Allah. They are not supposed to take alcoholic drinks and pork. Dancing is allowed for ladies when they are in an environment of only females.
The Muslims believe in Quran because it is the holy book which was given to prophet Mohamed by angle Gabriel and he was helped to write it down. The Quran is similar to the commandments which were given to Moses by God (McGregor, 2016, p301). Muslim ladies dress modestly (Mutawali, 2016, p167) by wearing a hijab on their heads as a sign of a commitment to their Islamic faith. Muslims remove their shoes before prayers and before entering the mosque for cleanness. They wash their feet, hands and their faces before prayers for cleanness before God (Mutawali, 2016, p301). Men are usually encouraged to pray from the mosque (Azim, 2011, p174) to strengthen community bonds because they will meet with other men from the community. Women are allowed to pray from home because of family chores (Widiyanto, 2015, p7).
Muslims are allowed to pray from anywhere so long as they offer their prayers towards Mecca. Mecca is the holy land where Islam started and the place where Abraham, Hagar and their son Ishmael underwent struggles. The Imam is the Muslim spiritual leader who leads them during prayers and religious support. The imam is someone who has a deep understanding and believes in Islam. The Imam does not act as an intercessor between the Muslims and God since they believe in direct connection with Allah (Rosadi, 2015, p21). During ceremonies when the Imam is not around any Muslim can lead the others in prayers. In Islam their believers are supposed to fast and pray during the whole month of Ramadan, they sacrifice their food to the poor empathize with the poor. The fasting teaches them to persevere and have patience. The fasting is suitable for both their body and soul. When the fasting is over, they pray and celebrate together.
Prayers dont need to be conducted only in a sacred place. The Muslims pray from anywhere so long as they have their mats with them. Unlike Muslims who pray five times a day in my religion, we have no specified number of times for prayer. Also unlike in Islam where they pray during specific times a day in my faith, we do not have a specific time for prayer. In the two religions Prayer, it creates a connection between the believer and god. The Muslims fast during the daylight during the Ramadan month, unlike our faith where we do not have a specific month for fasting. In both my religion and the Islam religion fasting is helpful for both the body mind and the soul. It enables one to be patient and practice perseverance. Also in the two religions during fasting, we should offer our food to the poor people.
Muslims pray while facing Mecca, unlike my religion where we dont face a particular location. Both religions believe in helping the poor in the society by contributing more of our wealth to the poor in the community. My faith should be more vigilant in advocating for ladies to dress modestly. Dressing modestly is good, and this can help reduce sexual harassment and respect to ones body. Dressing unobtrusively creates dignity for the ladies. The idea of removing shoes before prayers and before entering mosque is not in my religion. Religion should create and promote peace and harmony. Brotherhood is essential in the society. People should be able to create bonds in the community and share with the less unfortunate. The less fortunate in the nation should not be marginalized they should be given the same rights as the other people.
In conclusion, Islam is a religion which beliefs in one God the creator. They believe in the Quran. They practice and advocate for peace. They have a clear set of rules and regulations which they believe in. Muslim ladies dress modestly by covering their heads, but nowadays some Muslim ladies do not cover their heads. They believe in giving a portion of their excess wealth to the poor.
Azim, F. (2011). Editorial introduction: Islam, culture and women. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 12(2), 173-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649373.2011.554646
McGregor, R. (2016). Islam and Global Dialogue: Religious Pluralism and the Pursuit of Peace - Edited by Roger Boase. Religious Studies Review, 33(2), 167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-0922.2007.00182_2.x
Mutawali, M. (2016). MODERATE ISLAM IN LOMBOK: The Dialectic between Islam and Local Culture. Journal Of Indonesian Islam, 10(2), 309. http://dx.doi.org/10.15642/jiis.2016.10.2.309-334
Rosadi, A. (2015). Religious Radicalism and Pluralism: The Conflict Between Religious People and Relation of Power Industry in Bekasi. International Journal Of Nusantara Islam, 2(2), 45. http://dx.doi.org/10.15575/ijni.v2i2.148
Widiyanto, A. (2015). Female Religious Authority, Religious Minority and the Ahmadiyya: The Activism of Sinta Nuriyah Wahid. Journal of Indonesian Islam, 9(1), 17. http://dx.doi.org/10.15642/jiis.2015.9.1.1-24
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