Welcoming The Other Experience

By Rosemary Wangui

I got to the Mosque earlier than scheduled, so I decided to do a bit of work. I could not access the internet so a lady, Mariam from Horizon Television directed me to the library. She led me to a place near the door so that I could see those walking in.

The librarian came in shortly to assist. He informed me that I could not sit at that table, that there was a place allocated specifically for ladies in the library; it was an enclosed space on the side of the library. I did not get a chance to ask why there was a secluded place for the ladies.

We later toured the Mosque.

The first step is to remove shoes at the door step, this is because mosques are regarded as holy places.

Jamia Mosque was built by Indians in 1925 and I must say the architecture is a sight to behold. Prayers at the mosques are done five times a day, each prayer takes ten minutes. Friday is a day reserved solely for prayer and teachings as per the Quran, teachings that help you adapt in the world, these teachings are done by an Imam. For example, this particular Friday it was learning about the Corona Virus.

The next step is perform ablution. There are two types of ablution:

  • Minor ablution is performed before the normal, daily prayers where you start by washing your hands, one to three times. Then proceed to the face where one gaggles and spits and also cleans their nose. One is required to clean the face at a circumference, from the original point of the hair line to the chin, ear to ear. The next step is to clean the head by running your hands over the head and inside the ears, then clean your hands up to the elbows then your limbs up to the ankle.
  • Major ablution is performed when one has had sexual intercourse or wet dreams, for both men and women or when a woman has completed their monthly period. During these instances, one is regarded as impure and should therefore take a complete shower to cleanse themselves.

Men and women have different areas of ablution; this is because some parts of their bodies should not be exposed. They also have different areas of prayer because of how they perform the prayers since bowing can be controversial if both genders are to be mixed.

We then proceeded to the main mosque where we listened to the call of prayer which is normally done by the Sheikh. After the itinerary of the day, we were served sweet Pilau and wali wa sukari. Most people went for second helping.

It was a great experience dressing and learning about the Islamic religion and culture. The Mosque administration gifted each of us with literature materials.

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