Allah of Us All

   Every member of the Mosque we encountered as we arrived Monday evening greeted us with a warm smile, a welcome, and a gracious handshake. We visited and sat at table with both visitors and members with water and bowls of dates.
The fasting of Ramadan was explained to us and we were welcomed to the ending of the fast for that day. The dates were there to be shared and used as the Prophet Muhammad had used to break the fast at sundown.
   Following the sharing of dates and water we were invited to attend the prayer time as we continued our time together. I stood reverently at the back of the room watching and listening as the prayers were offered in the beautifully lyrical music sung by the leader. A friend of mine quoting a friend of hers told me one day that anytime music moves you it is sacred. The rhythm and voice soared as I closed my eyes and let the prayer fill me, it moved me, it was a sacred moment.
   We then returned to the hall and were served a most wonderful meal where we sat and broke bread and shared stories of our families, our faith, and our lives. It was in a very sacred sense communal and a time when lives were deepened in and through understanding and mutual respect and care.
   I have been touched deeply by the hospitality, the welcome, the acceptance, and the generosity of my new found friends. Our evening was a moving and sacred evening in the presence of others of God’s children. It breaks my heart to hear of those of any faith painting broad brushstrokes of hate and bigotry toward good people of good faith.
   I wondered how many of those who are so hateful toward our Muslim brothers and sisters have actually taken the time to know someone of the Muslim faith? I wondered of those so set against the new Muslim Center in New York City. I wondered if any of them have actually taken the time and energy to invest themselves in learning and studying the faith, or if they have rather simply believed the ignorance of news pundits and paranoid christian leaders to distort and misinform those who will listen. I wondered…
   I found myself in the presence of brothers and sisters, followers of the God of my ancestors and faith. There are those in my faith tradition and theirs who would do well to learn from the gracious open arms of this community of faith here in our city. Sharing in welcome, in the sacred song of prayer, and the breaking of bread around the table, I found myself in the presence of family. I found myself in the presence the God of us all, Allah, God, Spirit of grace, the God of love, in whom we live and move and have our being. Thanks be.


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