The Outsider Looking and Listening In-A New Religious Perspective

RAMADANDuring the holy month of Ramadan, the Muslim culture shows incredible restraint and self-control by fasting during the day, a ritual that lasts for one month. During this event they strengthen their relationship with Allah (God), friends and relatives. Ramadan is a sanctified month of purifying where the Muslim population does not eat, drink, or do evil actions. The Muslim community fast and focus on being pure, thanking Allah for another year of blessings.

When a Muslim community mosque opens its doors to let an outsider observe their holy time, it is truly an honor and a sight to see; a blessing for those who are not Muslim. Mosques are so beautiful that joining while such a blessed holiday is occurring to learn about the Muslim traditions and culture truly is visually appealing. Ramadan requires a great deal of self-control and focus, yet it is a rewarding experience.

Mosques are truly beautiful and elegantly designed; their prayer halls are truly places of worship and. The words from the holy Quran are beautifully scripted on the walls throughout the prayer hall. There are no pews or chairs to sit on; mats are placed upon a beautiful floor to participate in prayer. With such a large room, wireless stereo speakers are set up so those in the back can clearly hear the word from the Quran. For purity purposes, no shoes are to be worn inside the prayer hall. At the front is the Minbar, some steps raised for an imam to deliver a sermon at Friday Prayer. There is a roof niche called a Mihrab near the Minbar indicating the direction of the Ka’aba.

The Ka’aba is the most sacred place in Islam; it is a cube-shaped building, therefore all mosques are built facing the Ka’aba. The Muslim culture always prays in the direction of the Ka’aba. All prayers within the Mosques are facing the sacred direction pointed out by the Mihrab. Intricate patterns run through pillars, along the ceiling, and across the walls, making the prayer hall rather than statues or pictures. The decorations enshrouding the prayer hall keep the Muslim community from the idolization.

Many mosques have shelved lining the walls filled with books of theology, law, and Islamic traditions. Though many mosques have bookshelves, all mosques have a place for charity; This is called zakat and is where donations are made by the members to help support the Mosque, help the poor and those in need.

There are also meetings occasionally where members meet for spiritual cleansing. These gatherings are not the same as the sermon delivered on Fridays completely focusing on purifying the spiritual self. The Quran is available for those who do not have their own as well. The availability allows all visitors to have the ability to follow the teachings and understand what is being said. The Quran is written in Arabic originally, but is available in additional languages to ensure its teachings can reach the extensive of horizons.

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