Brown. Slightly almond shaped. Surrounded by dark lashes and mocha skin.
I am sitting in a corner in a small room, on a loosely coiled orange extension cord (don’t ask). The walls are beige and in need of a new paint job. Electrical wiring is seemingly haphazardly hung along the ceiling and corners where the walls meet. There are flats of iced tea and ramen noodles along the back wall with a microwave perched atop a cabinet. I try to take it all in yet am struck only by the sea of eyes.
Well, I did it.
I went to prayer, not at a mosque, at a banquet hall, but Muslim prayer nonetheless.
An amazing cousin kindly sat next to me, guided me, and explained all aspects of the service. Thank you!!!
First, when you walk in you take off your shoes and are given plastic bags in which to keep them. Then you enter the side of the room reserved for women, similar to orthodox Judaism, the men and women are separated. The women sit in rows which are outlined by long rolls of a white cloth.
The actual service is quite short. The Imam, I believe, chanted and again, similar to Judaism, we alternately sat and stood and performed a ritual movement with our hands. There was also a sermon which I could not quite hear over the din of chatting and due to the lackluster quality of the audio system. After the sermon, there was a short chant and that was it.
It went by so quickly that I barely had time to process the experience. The one thing I did notice was how similar it was to the Jewish prayer services I’ve attended throughout my life. Really. Really. Similar. Continue reading