Janet: Message of Mutual Love Central at Mosque

Janet Guaderrama

Voices of Reason, Action for a Better Tomorrow, and Indivisible IL-18

Members of local politically progressive groups joined Feb. 10 to visit the Masjid Ibrahim (Mosque) for their 1 pm Friday service at the invitation of  Shaikh Imam Abu-Emad Al-Talla (our first speaker at the Not In Our Town rally Feb. 1 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts). The mosque is located at 2407 E Washington St. in Bloomington.

    Shaikh Imam Abu-Emad Al-Talla chats with Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, left, and former First Christian Church Associate Minister Kelley Becker during last summer's Not In Our Town: Bloomington-Normal 20th Anniversary.   

 Shaikh Imam Abu-Emad Al-Talla chats with Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, left, and former First Christian Church Associate Minister Kelley Becker during last summer's Not In Our Town: Bloomington-Normal 20th Anniversary. 

My experience began with "Hello," as I introduced myself to the Imam after the rally. He was very gracious and welcomed anyone to visit their service on Fridays. He was pleased when I told him that I had taken a photo of him during his speech and he asked that I share it with him. I sent the photo from my cell phone to his and that began the conversation about a visit to Masjid Ibrahim.

When we arrived today, we discovered several rituals that occur. The women enter through the left door in the back of the building, and men enter through the door to its right.

Several men graciously welcomed us and the women in our group removed our shoes and were seated in a room separate from the men. The Imam came back to welcome us before his service. We were joined by a gathering group of women worshipers coming from their homes and jobs for prayer. We could see the Imam speaking through windows and hear him through intercom. One of the women turned on a television on the wall and we could view him there also.

We were told that prayers happen 5 times a day in the building, but that Fridays are special, like Sundays are for Christians.

Most of the service was in Arabic, however, occasional English was used to convey the message so that we could understand.

I was particularly taken with the words, "Fly to Allah." We were urged to "Fly to Allah" as Allah (God) is everything and all praise to him. We fly to him to leave our worldly cares and worries, to thank him. We were urged to care for one another, to love each other, to befriend each other, to do charity, to accept everyone, Black and White, Muslim and not as we are all created by Allah.

The women welcomed us after the service was completed and we all had very warm and interesting conversations. The Imam came back after the service to thank us all for coming and welcomed us to come back. He also welcomed anyone to come to join them in prayer any Friday at 1 pm. (The service lasts 45 minutes).

We thanked our new friends for the kind welcome and agreed that we were all moved by our experience.