My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

Archive for November 2013

I have been always wanting to go to a shia mosque. It saddens me that sunnis and shias have separate mosques and rarely intermingle. Shias are our brothers in faith. They believe in the same God, the same Prophet, the same Quran and i wanted to prove myself that i can pray with them and so can they with us. I was a bit nervous as to how i will be welcomed there. I had all sorts of questions in my mind – will they question my ways? will i get stares? will i be allowed to pray with them? I live in toronto and i went to this mosque called The Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jama’at of Toronto (ISIJ of Toronto). It is pretty much located on the outskirts of the city. Its a huge place. Not just a mosque, a center with many activities and services for the community. I went into the mosque and sat down. I started observing everyone and noticed there prayers were not very different from  the prayers of sunnis. There was a class for kids going on which is why there were a lot of kids there. One of them was distributing tasbih ( prayer beads in a string, called misbaha in arabic) to everyone. He gave one to me too and i stopped looking here and there and just got busy zikr which was amazing. Finally, it was prayer time and everyone stood up to form rows. I was at the back behind the kids and since there was space in the front row, one of the imams or mosque management person invited me to come to the first row. Everyone had a stone in front of them on which they put their forehead when they prostrate. I didn’t. We finished the zuhr prayer and sat down for sometime and there was a very brief speech from the imam. Then we prayed asr. After that everyone got up, shook hands with the imam (including me), greetings were exchanged and left. I didn’t notice or hear any act of shirk (associating partners to God) as many people accuse them of. Many of their prayer actions are valid even from sunni sources of hadiths. I will not go into prayer details in this post. Before leaving, I met with one of the management persons and told him that i am not a shia, but it was a nice experience to come here. And he said it is the house of Allah, doesn’t matter from which sect you are from, you are welcome to pray. I then left with a smile of face, and peace in my heart with a feeling that i am not a sunni or a shia but just a muslim!

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