Genesis 11:5

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. Genesis 11:5

The old man is snoring

The rain is pouring, pattering on all of the rooftops and asphalt. There's not much a view from my window - I can't see the sky, only another building stares back at me. A cool breeze drifts into my room, a mercy on this the 9th day of Ramadan. I've been spending my afternoons and evenings at the mosque. The environment is growing on me; strong personalities, the array of cultural differences, and all. Sometimes arguments arise between the men, or between the women, and the conflicts are resolved quickly. But other times more challenging personalities with very negative behaviour wander into the mosque environment, posing serious problems. Last night the police were called to escort a disruptive man out of the building. Overall, I want to attend as many days as possible, accepting the weaknesses and challenges facing the Muslim community in New York City. It is different from what I experienced in the UK, and will take more getting used to.

I've met several ladies who came to the US many years ago, but still do not speak English well. Perhaps if I stayed here, or if I ever return here, I could offer free English classes. Also, whenever I've mentioned my background working with refugees, I've had ladies approach me saying that they are refugees and need assistance applying for asylum. In short, the needs of the Muslim community here are becoming apparent to me. I feel strongly that I can't complain about the areas that concern me, unless I stay or invest long enough to contribute myself to the improvement and growth of this community. 

Photo of men's prayer area taken from the women's balcony. Notice the man napping in the masjid. When he woke up he recited one of the most beautiful recitations of Ayat al-Kursi that I've ever heard. Incidentally, his recitation woke me from my nap in the balcony.

More education about Islam is definitely needed, as well.  Certainly the conflicts that I mentioned initially would be resolved much more quickly, or even be completely avoided, if folks actually adhered to the mandate of peace and kindness established in Islam. Perhaps I'll return to the states in a couple of years with a lot more knowledge and ability to implement beneficial classes and support in the American Muslim community.

Sinjab (squirrel) hanging out at the masjid. It's not common to see squirrels running around the city!

I prayed Salat Al-Istikharah yesterday and today regarding a marriage proposal by a middle-aged, Muslim professional. Even my mom complimented my decision to refuse it. Allah knows better than anyone what I wish for and need the most.

Taraweeh prayers tonight were most definitely worth the trek down and across town. The children were more rowdy than I expected - now I understand why the ladies were complaining earlier this week. I love the recitation. I love praying shoulder to shoulder with sisters.

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