hamdullah

by

The blue tiles along the walls had exquisite details that were reminiscent of the Alhambra. The hospitality that the Imam and his disciples had for us was incredible. From the moment we walked into the sitting room, we were offered dates, almond milk, bread, and water. They were constantly checking on us to make sure we didn’t need anything, or if we were too hot. Then the Imam came into the room and immediately praised God for our time together. I watched the Imam’s every move. He was so gentle, and had a fluidity to his movement. He opened our time together with a prayer and then told us he wished to set any misconceptions we had about Islam straight. They all wanted us to know so badly that they did not hate Christians or Jews; they in fact loved them. The first questions we asked was what was said during the call to prayer, one of the five pillars of Islam. The Imam replied that we ought to hear it for ourselves. Then, one of the men in the room began singing the call to prayer. His voice was smooth and so filled with passion. The conviction in each syllable of the call to prayer was moving and I found myself brought to tears by the shear beauty of the call. Allah is the greatest. There is no other god than Allah. Come to prayer. Allah is the greatest. I watched the Imam and others meditate on this call and saw how in love they were with Allah.

We then proceeded to ask more questions about Islam. I asked the Imam if he believed that the God of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity were the same. I was floored by his answer. He described our world and universe as an immense and precise creation. That if something so large and so beautify exists, there is only the possibility that one Creator exists. The God of Abraham is the God of mercy. He is merciful and a form of his mercy are the messengers he sends. Astounding. What a thought that we are all worshipping the same God, the God of Abraham. If this is really the case or not, that is another thought to ponder for a long time..

This was such a spiritual experience for me. I lived reconciliation with these people and felt so connected to them. People I had just met and did not know at all immediately felt like family to me. The love and tenderness that filled the room was overwhelming; and yet there was so much pain. Pain when I thought of how I was raised to dislike all of Islam. Pain when I remembered the unfair stereotypes projected onto Muslims. Pain when I saw the love and eagerness to welcome us to Morocco by these beautiful people while I knew that same graceful welcoming was unlikely in America. How haunting of a thought. What then does it mean to love God and love his people? To me, here and now in this moment, it means to embrace my Islamic brothers and sisters in Morocco. I can’t help but think of what a radical idea that must seem. But doesn’t Jesus call us to live radical lives to begin with?

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