Monthly Archives: July 2008

Learning the Prayers of Islam

Have you done your daily 5 today?

Since becoming more and more a Muslim I have begun the process of learning to pray the Muslim Way. First of all there are 5 prayers for each and every day…for someone new to this it can be daunting! It is also a wonder as well..the faith, praise, and worship that is in every single prayer.

For a Muslim there day begins with prayer just before sunrise with the athan (the call to prayer) and in my nighbourhood you will see many on the way to the Masjid when many of us are  normally tucked in our beds. Each prayer while being ritualistic also has some give. Each prayer is also don in Arabic, so yes this Canadian girl who only speaks English is learning Arabic.

The second prayer comes just about lunch time for many, but before we eat we remeber to worhip God. The next prayer I think comes at the hardest time of day to pray…the very busy end of work school day, that is a hard one of me because we are such a busy house but it gives this mom a moment to stop and remember what is this life really about. It is about submitting ourselves to God.

The third prayer is right at Sunset and as I look forward to participating in my first Ramadan this prayer is the one we break the fast just before. I think I will like this time of day alot! And then there is the final prayer the night prayer or Isha which is done after dark has settled.

How am I learning to pray and how did I learn Wudu( the cleaning all Muslims do before prayer)? It was called googling it and finding some great rsources on Youtube. It is hard though and I have been told to give myself time to learn…I am gratful that I have a God that is full of mercy and love.

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For me this journey caused me to ask many questions and I am so grateful that God brought some pretty good people into my life who answer questions and help me to reason things out. I am thankful for this blessing.

At each fork in the road I have taken God at that time puts someone in my life who becomes a teacher and guide into things that i do not know. For me recently one of those has been my new friend Jameelah.  When it comes to embracing Islam she knows alot as she is a revert herself. She has been able to answer many questions about Islam…

More and more each I feel the reversion happening, more and more I see myself as a Muslim. I see the things that make sense.

An Islamic Wedding

 On Sunday I received a last minute wedding invitation to the wedding of a revert and his bride that was happening here in Toronto…My friends across the street thought it would be important to me to see this.

First it was so different then anything that i have seen here in the west. Here it is all about the show of it. I liked that it was simple in so many ways… The women gathered on the sisters side of the masjid to help the bride celebrate and the groom well he was over with the men.

In Islam there is the dowry to consider, and there is the needed permission from the Wali or sponsor. So the women’s representative and his haggle it out ceremonially of course. For this was decided long before the wedding,  The sisters party with the bride…

Prayers are said, and the Iman speaks to the couple and then the food is served. What a feast it was! The food was amazing!!

There is no magical kiss, no music, no dj, none of that…..the simplicity was very cool to watch.

First time at the Masjid

Well yesterday my daughter ( she is 10) and I got ready and attended afternoon prayer at the Masjid Toronto.  it was my first experience inside a Masjid. First there is an entrance for the men and one for the women. Men and women are separated, the women going upstairs to pray and listen to the talk that is given on Fridays. There were young and old alike from every nation it seemed so Islam is not just an Arab faith. my daughter and I were welcomed by sisters who showed us such great hospitality. We listened intently and were able to make some new contacts in the community. For us it was a good experience.  It was exciting to see the absolute reverence about worship, the quiet still even from the children. I came home feeling renewed and glad I went.

First Hand Expereince with the Hijab

Well today I decided to take my journey one step further today and wore the hijab. Yes I was going to the mosque for the mid afternoon prayer and well to be respectful I decoded to would go attired properly. So my daughter and I dressed modestly and put on the hijab. Then we went to run a few errands on the way to the meting. Lets just say i was a bit surprised by a few of the reactions I got considering that I live in Toronto.

Reactions:

  • bank teller- what is that garb you are wearing? and why? haven’t sen that on you before.
  • my landlord who I bumped into- You are thinking of becoming what!
  • Muslims sisters- smiles and greetings!
  • a Muslim Brother who I had a conversation with after we were done talking: It is so cool to see you wearing it I wished more of the sisters did.

I will write more later about my experience at the mosque.

Investigating Islam

The last month as I have really looked at Islam there is much that can attract someone, but there are the things that can turn someone away as well. I am sure this is common in every faith that I can think of.

Yesterday I volunteered with a Christian organization and got into an interesting conversation with another volunteer. She too is checking out Islam.  We were talking about some of the things that are likely to happen if we revert.

Here is my list:

  • First I will have to find a job that is more appropriate
  • Wearing the hijab will turn heads especially since I chair my daughters school parents organization.
  • Getting up to pray when I would rather sleep.
  • My family would likely disown me.
  • No more looking at men

Now some of these are serious concerns and others well they wouldn’t bug me. Islam I am realizing is not a religion for the faint of heart. You need to realize that here in the west you are turning your back on so much you were raised with and embracing a new faith and a new way of life.

    Comparing Religous Thought

    This past week sometimes I feel as my head is spinning! As I strive to learn more about God and religion and what is right and what is wrong with differing thought it leads one to compare and really look at the doctrines and history of the religions.

    Okay first since it was the Christian faith that I embraced as a child and youth. This has also been the faith that I now question most. First I find the “trinity” a doctrine that really does not stand especially when you put it into the context of the times of the early Christian. I do believe Christ lived, that he performed miracles and taught people to follow him. The Gospels I still love till this day.

    Then there is the Mormon faith that I embraced as a young adult. Because of the death of the apostles I really do believe that much of what Christ taught was lost. I think many of toady’s “Christians” don’thave a leg to stand out doctrinally and if they do why do we see the denominational ism that there is, with everyone fighting to best the other? Were is the unity and love Christ taught? Was there a need for someone to follow Christ that becomes the question of the day. Now Mormon thought is that there was a “dark ages”, a falling away, where religion was hid up and kept from the masses and in the “Christian world” this was the truth where in Arabia at the same time the masses were embracing Islam as fast as they heard it. Okay so either there was this falling away and the need for a restoration or there wasn’t. With Mormonism came new scriptures, a new way of life and many “different” doctrines: rules for living. Where have we heard this before? In Islam.

    First in Mormonism there is the Book of Mormon which tells of the life and times on the American side of the World before and after Christ. Many Mormons want you to take this book on faith. Besides the 3 witnesses no one saw this book. It was taken back after its translation. After its translation it has gone through many edits along the way. This is fact. Then come the doctrines that change “lives”. The Word of Wisdom are health laws that every practicing Mormon follow. There is the doctrine of enduring to the end if you want to achieve the celestial kingdom. Oh and women you have to have your husband call you there…or you don’t get in. Much of the LDS faith one has to take on faith. Now historically as well Islam and Mormonism have something important in common.

    What could these two religions have in common? How much each is hated in America! Often when either are written about in the media, or online it is a hate piece. It is a piece that demonizes the faith of those that follow it. In the US when the Mormon faith was beginning Mormons were persecuted in a land that was based on religious freedom. The prophet Joseph Smith was murdered for what he taught. Today even there are huge misunderstanding of what each of these faiths teach.

    Now I will admit that I have just begun to look at the Muslim faith. From what I understand so far the Quran comes from the prophet Mohammed being told  of God ( Allah) these words. These words were then shared with many who basically memorized it at a time when many were illiterate. From what I understand so far there are lots of rules in the faith as well, but so far most make sense at least.

    Where is all this comparing leading m right now i am unsure. I really do feel as if I have been in a desert, and there was a sand storm and my eyes are just beginning to see again. Where will this journey take me Im unsure right now but I do know that I believe in God and I know he will guide me on the way.