Today for my Inter Cultural Leadership class we went to the Islamic Culture Center. As a woman I was asked along with the rest of my classmates to bring a scarf with which to cover our hair. Nobody protested as it seems to be common knowledge as a practice which we should be respectful of while in their place of worship. The mosque itself was beautiful inside, when we first got there we went into the mosque after taking off our shoes to look at the inside, the shape of it, the way the people faced when they prayed as well as the straight lines on the carpet. The man showing us around and giving us the tour mentioned how people had to be in straight lines to pray which I found interesting, it was very helpful that the carpet more or less had spaces for people denoted in the lines which they were supposed to form.
We were told how the women weren’t obliged to go to the mosque to pray, that it was only the men who had to go to the mosque if they could. That wasn’t to say that the women weren’t allowed to pray, they were just in a different section and not the main floor–theirs was the balcony area covered by a screen. The prayers are said five times a day; Fajr 5.04, Zuhr 1.10, Asr 4.36, Maghrib7.34,and Isha at 8.51. We were there in time to see the Asr prayer time before we left which was interesting. We even got to hear the call to worship which I’ve heard before just never in person so it was really quite interesting! We were invited into the mosque for the prayer time but I felt uncomfortable doing that based purely on how I would have felt had I seen people coming to watch me if I were praying. Overall this was a really good experience, I didn’t break down any prejudice I could have had since there weren’t any to begin with but I learned a great deal about how they pray, why they pray and details that I would have never known before!
On another note, my grandma comes tomorrow and I’m so excited! We’ve got a few places we’ll be going in the next week and a half and I can’t wait! Until tomorrow!