Grand Mosque 2445 Waverley St. Winnipeg, MB. https://www.miaonline.org/winnipeg-grand-mosque/
Taras and I visited a mosque a few months ago, but I wanted to post our experience there in honour of those who were affected by the attack that happened in ChristChurch, New Zealand.
Holy places are the place people go to set aside their differences and come to their God with an open heart. They are places where all people are welcome and that sacred trust should never be breached.
When we came in, we had no idea where to go. A woman told us where to keep our boots and told me that I , as a woman, could either come upstairs to the woman’s gallery, or sit in a room adjacent to the prayer hall. She was very welcoming.
I watched a grandpa and grandson play together in the main prayer hall as we waited for the service to begin. It was just beautiful to watch how they interacted and played. Both of them were so thrilled to be together. Watching them touched my heart and I thought about how worship was something that was passed down, generation to generation.
As it got closer to the time of the service, the main prayer hall got pretty packed. The stress of the people was represented as energy that moved across the floor like snakes. When the Imam came in and began to pray I saw this energy dissipate. He asked the men to stand together, shoulder to shoulder and pray. That really touched me. The men stood so that their shoulders were touching and the Imam led them in prayer.
To me, that was a strong reminder that we need to set aside our differences and focus on oneness. There were people in the mosque from so many different countries. When it came to prayer though, they all stood in union.
Then when the Imam started chanting I saw a symbol in copper in arabic writing. This symbol says Allah, the name of God in Islam. It was four feet above the ground in front of the speaker in the middle of the mosque. While in the mosque, I could see the sky rather than a deity. It again made me think of the one sky that we all live under. The one air that we all breathe. God seemed to be without form in the mosque, all encompassing. I later learned that in Islam, they consider God to be formless, present in his name and all pervading. The symbol and sky showing up seem to be in line with those beliefs.
Divinity always seems to show up in the way that the faithful feel comfortable.
The imam said a nice sermon on the importance of forgiveness, which was very uplifting. We were welcomed into the mosque and were able to enjoy the sermon along with the faithful.
We are posting this post to honour those who suffered loss due to the ChristChurch tragedy. We feel honoured to have been able to attend the mosque without judgement and wish peace for all of those who lost loved ones or suffered from the sorrow of the shooting. We extend our love and prayers and pray for peace for all people. We are ultimately all one in God. God does not discriminate God is one. God shines down on all of us with equal love and care.