Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Mosque Tour

In between the three lectures today, we had a brief tour of the campus mosque. It was a great experience, although it was quite brief. Like all of the mosques I have seen in the various cities and towns thus far, the mosque here at Al Akhawyn is green.

When we were in Meknes, I asked the tour guide that was showing us a madrasa why mosques were green. The guide said that before the current dynasty, the mosques used to be white. After the change in dynasty, the new dynasty changed the color to green, as green was the representative color of the new King.

Today, in one of the lectures, a professor said that the color green is used for mosques because it represents life in a sea of desert. Since it is mostly hot in the region, it makes sense that green would be the color of fertility. Professor Monette also mentioned that the prophet Muhammad wore green; it was his preferred color. Thus, to honor the prophet, mosques were adorned in green.

The Al Akhawayn mosque is beautiful. We were given a glimpse to the inside of the mosque and we were given some information about the rituals that take place inside. First of all, as soon as one enters, one notices the beautiful architecture and unique chandeliers. The walls were painted white with design engraved around the windows and certain parts of the wall. We were shown where the imam prays and where the worshippers kneel. There was a see through wooden wall separating the males from the females. Professor Monette made a great point that in this way, women do not have to worry about being looked at by men. It is an opportunity for women to worship at ease. We were also informed that if a person is sick, he or she is exempt from prayer. Also, during fasting, a pregnant woman does not have to fast. It is strictly the woman's choice. After all, it should not be a burden to worship Allah.

One last interesting observation was that there are no idols in the mosque. There is not even a picture of the king. It is important for worshippers to know who they are revering. Finally, the carpet was gorgeous. Its intricate design was a thing of beauty. I am glad to know more of Islam and its beautiful practices.

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