An Experience at a Muslim Worship Service essay
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I attended the Muslim Service to learn some things regarding this religion. The whole service took place in a holy house well-known as a mosque. A mosque refers to a converging point for most, if not all Muslims. It is considered a divine place where Muslims go to perform their salah or prayers on a daily basis. On arrival at the mosque, I met a large number of people outside it. I believed they were waiting for the usual call that indicates that it is time for a prayer. I noticed that men stood aloof from the women. In addition, the two sexes possessed separate areas in the mosque for carrying out their prayers and listening to the Imam as he conducted the entire service. Furthermore, at no given point would they mingle within or outside the mosque.
Before entering the mosque, each person washed his or her feet, face and hands in a particular procedure. This step, as one of the women explained to me after the service, is meant to cleanse them before entering the sacred house. Different mosques possess different rules. Some of the mosques prohibit the women from engaging in salah within the mosque, whereas others allow them inside. However, these differences occur in different countries. For instance, Turkish mosques possess no restrictions on women worshipping inside the mosque.
My experience in the mosque occurred rather exciting. The events appeared similar to the studies I carried out in the internet and books. Procedures from the start of the service to the end of it were the same as some of the information written in most books and Islamic magazines. The women and young girls covered almost every part of their body in black gowns of different designs. They also used hijabs of different colors, to cover their heads completely. As such, I had to appear in the same dress code to evade attracting attention and going against the laid down rules (Hovannisian, 1999).
The kind of dressing the Muslim women get entitled to occur rather restricting to me. Why would they have to cover themselves so much in the name of religion? In addition, this looks as a means of suppressing women since men never considered factors such as weather changes and so on. I experienced quite a difficult time in the heavy gowns and cloths wrapped all over me. Moreover, they made me feel extremely hot.
I encountered immense emotional distress during the entire procedure. The fact that women were considered a minor sex even in the place of worship made me feel annoyed. This occurred mainly because I am a woman, too and I had to sit where other women were sitting. Since I was only a visitor to the service, it seemed clear that the rest of the congregation noticed that I was from a different culture. Thus, some treats me with some level of detestation and rejection. I had to understand it since nobody should destruct the prayer services of others.
I sensed immense chauvinism even in the instructions that were being relayed by the Imam. On that particular day the Imam was giving instruction on the duties of men and women in the Muslim culture. Muslims value their culture regardless of how contradictory they may appear to others. To that effect, I felt more like of an intruder in this event, since much of what they did contradicted what I learnt in my own religious culture (Reisman, 2011).
My negative response to the religious cultures occurred due to a number of reasons. In my Christian culture, women are not subjected to such kinds of obligations, especially in the dress code. At least, a woman should appear decent when going to church. Women in the Christian community are supposed to appear in acceptable attire but not cover their entire bodies in dark garments that only bring immense discomfort and heat. Moreover, during the church services everybody sits wherever he or she pleases. This is different from the Islamic services where women sit in separate areas as the men. I tend to think that there occurs some level of insecurity in the minds of Muslim men for them to restrict their women to such extreme levels. All the Muslim men possess the possibility to attempt the services during each occasion in which a service occurs. On the contrary, majority of mosques possess laws that govern when and how women should be in the mosque. This factor only emphasizes the level of slavery and is undermining that Muslim women have been exposed to.
I managed to learn quite a number of Muslim concepts and rules in this immersion experience. First, I found out that in the Muslim culture women appear as a lower gender. This was obvious during the service I attended. In addition, they possess their own separate part of the mosque away from the men. I also learnt that Muslim men and women do not mingle or sit side by side at any given occasion. This act occurs only once when a Muslim man and woman get married. As I tried to talk with one of the Muslim women after the service, I managed to understand that different Islamic nations possess different laws governing how both men and women should carry themselves within and outside the mosque. She also informed me that one of the main reasons when a woman is not allowed to visit the mosque for prayer is when she encounters her menses (Ende, 2010).
In conclusion, my encounter with the Muslim service appeared immensely interesting. I managed to learn things that I initially never knew. In addition, I realized the large difference that occurs between Muslim culture and other religious cultures. Muslims stand firm in their culture regardless of the detestation they encounter from other religions. Furthermore, Muslim culture largely differs from other cultures in the way how they treat their women, their dress code and the kind of foods they eat. I may say that this may occur as the main reason why they live mainly in communities.