Over the past year we have been blessed to learn about Islam and meet Muslims from our local mosque who joined us at Saint Margaret’s for the Building Bridges lecture by Imam Jamal Rahman. With encouragement from our local Imam Reymundo Nour a group of us attended Jumaa Prayer and Salat at the Coachella Valley Mosque. We arrived about 20 minutes early for the 1 p.m. Friday service, and entered through the women’s entrance into a room that doubles as a nursery during the service. Here we removed our shoes and donned our scarves before entering into the prayer area through a side door. We were immediately greeted with smiles and welcomes and the Islam traditional greeting of Asallamu Alaikum, “peace be upon you”. We were given folding chairs and bottled water and several members visited with us, sharing information about Islam, Jumaa Prayer and Salat as the room filled with men of all ages. A row of chairs in front of us and towards the back of the room faced east and were reserved for the elders who are no longer able to perform the traditional prayer movements throughout the service. Otherwise, the room was clear with the exception of floor markings that served as guides for “rows” facing east. The 45 minute service included traditional prayer movements, chanting, prayers aloud and a sermon. Throughout the service we prayed prayers of our own, celebrating both diversity and commonality. As the participants filed out after the service many greeted us and thanked us for coming. We experienced a bond of common faith that confirmed the principle that there are many paths to expressing and sharing God’s love.
Any one of us would be pleased to share more about our experience and encourage your visit.
Judy Burton, Mary McKenzie, Kay Wood, Ruth Mitchell