In my last blog, you may recall, Marie and I were invited to Rawan’s home, where the family prepared a Muslim meal. Also at that time, Marie invited Rawan and her family to our home.
When they arrived at our home, they presented us with a beautiful teapot and a can of the tea. It was the same tea that they served us at their home. Marie prepared a typical dinner of chicken, baked with carrots and potatoes, and lasagna made with cheese only. The lasagna was made as such, to respect their belief. For dessert, we offered the Italian delicacy: cannoli (tubular shells with cheese or cream inside). They were very gracious in their compliments. Great food … great conversation … great things that unite us!
If you recall, previously upon the request of Rawan’s mother to see a Catholic church, we visited both St. Peter’s Cathedral and St. George’s. After the visitations, I requested to see a mosque. So, let me discuss that visit.
I was met by Rawan’s father, whose name is Jamal. We seemed to hit it off immediately. A sincere and kind word between two individuals always seems to break barriers.
We entered the mosque, and before we entered the prayer area, we took our shoes off. It struck me immediately of the message God gave Moses, “You are entering hallowed ground, remove your sandals.” After we removed our shoes, he showed me the washroom. There is a washing ritual of purification that every man must go through before entering the prayer area. He must wash three times the following parts of the body: face, hands, hair, feet and ankles. Also, a swish of water as a mouth rinse and a wash of the nostrils.
Water is very important in our faith, too. Do not we bless ourselves as we enter Mass? Another thing that unites us!
The prayer area is completely covered with a rug. The simplicity of the prayer area is what hit me. There are no pews, no statues. On the walls there are sayings in Islam and the weekly prayer schedules. You are there to pray every day if your schedule permits. The women are in a separate room. Jamal proceeded to kneel, and said, “We pray in a prostrate position and repeat a series of prayers three times.” Their prayers, in essence, are similar to ours: for praise to ALLAH (GOD) … for blessings … for forgiveness and for good works. Do not we incorporate all those practices in a Christian Mass?
Jamal said on Friday the Imam (like a pastor) will give a talk equivalent to a Christian sermon. Sound familiar? Do we not do the same, even though the rituals are different? Another thing that unites us.
Also, they have an alms box and a clothes rack for gifts to the poor. Again, sound familiar? They also have a room for children, where they are taught the faith. Sounds like religious instruction classes that we have. So many things unite us.
Jamal made a point to say that Islam is not a closed religion, all people are welcome to their prayer service. The visitation did something very powerful for me. It brought home the fact that ALL individuals are ingrained with the same principles and they are given by ALLAH (GOD), regardless of their faith. And, it starts with love.
After the visitation, as we were about to depart, both Jamal and I embraced, two people of different faiths, united in ALLAH (GOD).
In closing, I would like to post the Principle Articles of Faith that the Muslims believe in. They are a belief in the following:
- One God. The prophets. The Angels. Judgment Day. Predestination.
- God’s revelation through the Torah, the Koran and yes, the Gospels.
We have more things that unite us than keep us apart!
Praise GOD. Praise ALLAH. We are brothers and sisters, regardless of our differences.