Masjid-ul-Ansaar: Mosque Open Day
I would like to say that never in my entire life have I been so proud to be a part of Madrassah-tul-Ansaar and to be a part of the Lakefield community.
Masjid-ul-Ansaar opened in 2004 in Lakefield, Benoni. Renovations have been ongoing since last year and as they are almost done, for the first in fifteen years, our masjid opened its doors and invited people of all faiths within the Lakefield community (and Benoni as a whole) to come and visit the masjid. When I got there (early) on Saturday morning to help at the request of my Aapa (my teacher at the madrassah), I didn’t know what to expect and I most definitely didn’t realise the magnitude of the open day.
I’m pretty sure that everyone who isn’t muslim wondered what goes on in a masjid. I mean, people go to the masjid five times a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five (or sixty six) days of the year. “What can these people possibly be doing?” Going to a place five times a day, every single day, is definitely something out of the ordinary. The purpose of the mosque open day was to educate people, to clear misconceptions and to fulfil our duty to our people (we are all answerable on the day of judgement, the people will come to us and tell us you knew the truth yet you didn’t tell us, how will we be able to answer them?).
We weren’t the only ones excited, you could see the excitement in our visitor’s eyes. This is one of the many blessings of our country, we have many problems but embracing different religions and cultures, learning about them and uniting people isn’t amongst them. Seeing so many different faces wearing a scarves on their heads was heartwarming.
The visitors were seated in the courtyard of the masjid and a presentation was done for them. The Moulana (the cleric) began by saying “I greet you with the universal greeting of peace.” and with that I could already see that the visitors were ready to listen to him. Next, there was an introduction by the chairman of the masjid and then a recitation of Surah Rahmaan by the Imaam of the masjid. Then, a slideshow on the masjid followed by a demonstration of the postures of salaah (prayer) and the actions of wudhu (ablution) was done. The session ended with a tour of the masjid.
Surah Rahmaan is one of my favourite surahs in the Qur’aan as it is the Surah (chapter of the Qur’aan) I listen to when I feel stressed, upset or sad and it immediately makes me feel calm.
فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
“So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?” (55:13)
This aayat (verse), which is constantly repeated throughout the Surah, strikes me every time I listen to it. It makes me reflect upon everything that Allah has favoured and blessed me with. The greatest blessing that Allah has given me (and you) is that of Imaan. We don’t realise how lucky we are to have it. A lady said to me, “Your religion is deep and meaningful and that’s why I love it.” She’s right. Islam has meaning. The word alone means “to submit” as well as “peace”. We submit to Allah and we accept that there is no one worthy of worship besides Allah. The way I see it, after submission comes peace. This peace is only felt through submission to the Lord of all the universes, Allah.
Something that continues to mesmerise me is watching the jamaat (the congregation) in salaah, the way every single person falls in every position effortlessly from qiyam (standing position) to rukhu (bowing) to sajdah (prostration). How beautiful is sujood? “You whisper on the ground and you’re heard in the highest level of the heavens.” As we were running behind schedule, zohr salaah arrived before the tour was over so our visitors were given the opportunity to watch the men pray in jamaat. The looks on their faces were of absolute awe, it was like they were watching poetry in motion.
There are many differences in all of our religions but there are also many similarities. The biggest one is that we all believe in one supreme being, we all believe that is a being greater than all of us and He has created every single bounty in this universe. There’s no denying this. There’s no debate about this. We all agree on this. Muslims pray in a masjid and call this being Allah. Christians pray in a church and call this being God. Jews pray in a synagogue and call this being HaShem. Hindus pray in a temple and call this being Brahman. We are united under this belief. Religion is all about what’s in your heart (and usually your actions are a reflection of what’s in your heart).
The mosque open day left me feeling complete happiness in my heart. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life and I can’t wait for the next one. May Allah accept from you and us.
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you