Today we did something we’ve often wondered about but never thought we would actually do. Today we toured the “Masjid Negara,” the National Mosque of Malaysia. Our feelings upon entering were mixed. We were excited, anxious, and probably even a little scared. Not afraid of what may happen to us but more, “fear of the unknown” type of feeling. I’m sure a lot of that fear resonates with Americans, in particular, simply as a result of 9/11.
Any ounce of fear that was within us was dispelled shortly after we arrived. The people were warm and welcoming as they instructed us where to go. We removed our shoes and friendly women helped me into a traditional robe and hijaab, which must be worn in order to enter the mosque. The mosque itself was beautiful. It wasn’t at all ornate like I was imagining but the architecture was remarkable.
A gentlemen approached us and asked if he could explain a little about the mosque and the Muslim religion. I was fascinated at how closely his description followed the Bible. The same Bible I have read my entire life. He shared stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark, Abraham and Sarah; all the stories I heard growing up. He even spoke of Jesus Christ. He spoke of my God, that I follow, that One in which I believe. But how can that be? Where are the ‘scary’ parts about not liking Americans? As he continued talking we were realizing that none of those parts were in there. And while there are DEFINITE differences in our religions, there are similarities, as well. While this may not come as a surprise for you, it did for the both of us, as did several other things we came to learn on this short tour.
Beyond the very basic fundamentals of this religion, today’s experience allowed us to catch a glimpse of their devotion and it made me question mine. My beliefs remain the same but I questioned my reverence. Am I doing enough? The short answer is, “No.” But the good news is that I am aware and that change is possible. I’m thankful for yet another life-changing experience and am soaking up every bit of knowledge I can get my hands on!
If anyone would like to talk further about this we would love to hear from you. We’re anxious to hear of others’ experiences and if their mindset was changed at all.