It was at the London Central Mosque where just a few months ago I testified that "there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the final messenger of Allah." This declaration is also known as the Shahada, the first pillar of Islam. I attended an Introduction to Islam event, designed for new reverts to Islam (The term 'revert' rather than 'convert' is used, because Muslims believe that everyone is born Muslim. When someone whose religion was changed by non-Muslim parents or influences chooses to follow Islam, they are considered to have returned to their original faith.)
I felt happy and inspired to see other new Muslims who reverted today or recently. We prayed Dhuhr, Asr, and Magrib together, and I had the privilege to teach another young Malaysian lady how to make wu'du, or to wash to be ritually clean before prayer. Hearing the Adhan (Call to Prayer) and realising that she did not know how to wash properly, I quickly began to take her through it step by step. I was reminded of my dear friend from Libya who helped me memorise some of the Quran, taught me how to perform wu'du at the University, and showed me how to pray in her own home.
I sat beside a young Bangladeshi-British woman throughout the seminar today who was born Muslim, but has never practised. She complimented my knowledge of the faith, and expressed admiration for reverts who practice Islam so sincerely. Even she asked several questions as we made wu'du in the washroom, which I was happy to answer. I will not forget the vibrant blue art on the ceilings and the blue carpet inside this mosque.
|This photo taken on my mobile certainly does not begin to do the beauty of this mosque justice.|
How pleased I was to also see the Sheikh with whom I said my Shahada. The discussions and teachings at the seminar today made me thankful that I've already chosen Islam. One of my favourite points made today was the reminder that Allah is neither male nor female, and does not have parents or children.