Surah of the week

" The originator of the heavens and earth! When He decreeth a thing,He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
(2:117)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My first experience at Juma Prayer

Salaams and juma mubarak! yesterday I went to juma for the very first time alhamdullilah! However, I didnt leave feeling rejuvenated like I had expected too. I wasnt that comfortable sitting in a crowded room on the floor listening to the imam through speakers(The tv wasnt on for some reason). I found it hard to concentrate when I couldnt see the speaker. Secondly, there were children and they were talking and crying and crawling around and I found the whole thing chaotic. I use to attend church regularly and I came to rely on that spiritual rejuvenation at the end of the week. I want the same thing with islam except I didn't find it at juma at this particular masjid. Another thing was the vibe was not as friendly as I had hoped or expected. I asked this one sister where the sisters go to pray and she looked at me frustrated and said "what do you mean?" which obvious she knew what I meant. I said "can you show me where the sisters pray" and she says who sent you? I am like "no one sent me" and I walked away and found it myself. When it came time to pray I was praying and someone's toddler was LITERALLY playing with my toes which was distracting and I looked around like is someone going to get their child?? Then after the prayer this sister comes up to me and says "I noticed you looking around during the prayer and your not suppose to. Your suppose to look at the spot on the floor where you place your head." Im like" ok, Im a new muslim and I new to the masjid, thanks". She is like" oh Iam so happy for you alhamdullilah!!" and hugs me and turned out to be a nice sister but still Iam iffy on my whole experience.


Another thing I felt out of place maybe a bit is I felt too glamourous and I was just being myself but compared to all the other sisters in there I looked like I was going for a photo shoot and they looked like they were running errands. Everyone literally had on all types of stuff, scarves that didn't match ect. This is fine, Iam not judging them. Im saying because I was so different and all dressed up with bracelets, and 2 scarves wrapped in a new style I learned and my trench coat with 3/4 sleeves, and so fourth, I felt not overdressed but I definitely stood out. I guess because I blog so much and Im not around sisters very often, I had thought I was going to see a bunch of hijab fashionistas ( like the ones I see on my my muslimah blogs) and I didn't. I was the only one, so I felt awkward. I expected to see women looking all the polyvore sets we all create on our blogs. That was naive I suppose. I dont mean literally that glamorous but more than what I saw. It leads me to another point. Just because you have to wear a scarf doesnt mean you dont have to care about what you look like. I still take a lot of time coordinating my outfits and scarves and accessories everyday so that I feel pretty and confident when I go out and I think a lot of sisters who maybe have a lot going on like families and such give up on this . Lastly, I just thought of why the lady asked me who sent me. Maybe I looked like I had a scarf on but that I was doing journalist or someone there to observe for like a school project or something. I totally think thats what she thought!!!! LIGHTBULB!!!! ( remember how I said i stood out like a sore thumb)..HAHA THAT IS FUNNY! I will not give up on juma, I will just try another masjid next friday. :) salaams

23 comments:

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Hi hun, so sorry for a first bad experience :(

Don't give up! But do realize that it can be like this more often than not... Sometimes you will be looked upon as an outsider, it is unfortunate, but I have found this to be true with my Mosque experiences also...
I found myself being criticized by women no matter what I did.. This was frustrating and also extremely petty...
As far as you being fashionable, many women will think of you as insincere about being Muslim and merely trying to "look" good, which is a big no no in Islam.. Although I disagree and see nothing wrong with wanting to look good (without being sexy) many people will say that since you are hijabi now, the point is not to look good, but to worship Allah and be modest... I know I know, it sounds bad, but many people do think this... Some even think that a Muslim woman should not wear any makeup at all, and should not care about her looks...
I am telling you all this because it has been my own experience... But, do not let this deter you.. I actually got so frustrated I stopped going to the Mosque all together... I disagree with the segregation, I think it is wrong, especially when we can only hear a loudspeaker and not even see a face... This is ridiculous to me.. An imam I spoke with said, "you joined Islam for God, not for the community" and that is what I have to remember when dealing with closed minded people...
I think you should keep trying to go to the Mosques, don't give up sis!!! But also don't stop being yourself and don't let anyone bully you...

Random Muslima said...

Oh sis... sounds like my first time at the masjid. Except that I went to a masjid that is one floor and there was no sign where is the sisters side and brothers side.. so yeah, I went to the brothers side and there was many doors so I peeked here and there and they all were glancing at me and it came to NOBODY's mind (at least not to the level they would have took some action) to tell me that I had enetered the wrong door!! (the masjid is more like just musalla, so I did not know the other door belonged the masjid too)

When I finally was taken by a sister (who came to collect kids) to the other side, I got bunch of Looks from the sisters and no salaams--- that was pretty akward-

And so on :)

We muslims are unfortunately not one big happy family..

And about the hijabs, I am sure no polyvore (and belong to that extreme ;) group that think wearing make-up outside is haraam.. it is beautifying one's self and that is not something for outside in Islam) and wear simple clothing (khimar+abaya) but always try to look tidy and clean for sure inshaAllah... However I realize at for many just to start wearing scarf is a big deal and trial (though one can think of the purpose of the scarf if one looks betteer with it than without ;) ).... Besides hijab is so much more than just that headscarf..

InshaAllah your experiences in the future will be better and you will find a masjid that meets your needs (a place of worship and safe haven of sisterhood... )

Jamilah said...

Don't give up sister. That first sister that you asked seemed a bit out of line.. you are right she might have thought you were a journalist or something.

As for feeling glamorous..there are a lot of ways to look at this. When a woman first accepts Islam there are a lot of challenges she faces. Once of them being wearing hijab. Most reverts were used to wearing what ever they wanted and probably had a strong sense of fashion before Islam. I did this too. I tried to incorporate the old with the new. And that is really fine! You may choose to stick with that and carry on.. no problem. What I found (meaning my personal experience) is that as my knowledge grew I stopped worrying so much about fitting in. I started to wear long skirts all the time with loose long tops. My hijabs became less flashy and eventually I started wearing an abaya occasionally too. Once I realized how easy an abaya was I went to wearing one full time. This was not about being lazy and saying to myself, 'I can throw this on and be wearing pj's under it, it was about realizing what was best for me and what would please Allah the most. I actually felt safer in it. There is an ayat in the Quran:

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

This really holds true. I am recognized as a Muslim. Most of the time that means leave me alone (if you are a man) and tells other women that I follow my religion strictly.

Finally as for the segragation, it used to bother me but not anymore. We have a divider (L shaped) in our musullah and I like it that way. I'm a niqabi and when I come into the womens area I can lift my veil and feel comfortable and safe. If there are breast feeding mums they can feed their children without worry, and its safer for everyone. I've gotten used to not seeing the imam during Jummah buy listening to so many lectures in the car! :)

And the kids.... yes....sigh. Well that is a problem everyhwere. I've come to the point that if I'm not praying and I see them acting up I go tell them to calm down and that the Musullah is not a playground... does not make me popular sometimes but if their parents are not going to do it I will! (big meanie that I am!)

Take care sister and May Allah guide and protect you.

M.J. said...

sounds a lot like my first few times at the masjid. i had a woman who made me cry, women who demanded to know who i came with, etc. it was really awful and i always left feeling the same way... wanting to know why it hadnt been at least as organized as church and where the parents of these kids where. alhamdulilah it's gotten MUCH better with time so keep trying, once they feel less shy they'll inshAllah turn out to be a lot of fun!

M.J. said...

PS as for looking glam, i dont see a problem with it!! dont change if its just how you are and it helps you wear your hijab more proudly. it's not haraam so dont worry about it since your intentions are halal. i loved dressing up the first 6 months i started wearing hijab and although i've relaxed a lot, it still can make me feel more comfy in hijab at times. maybe these girls just dont consider it comftorable, but dont change if it makes you comfy!

Inspired Muslimah said...

All: Ok you all made me feel so much better about this situation. I did very unwelcomed,no one salaamed me and I was uncomfortable. However,I didnt know this happened to so many others. That is so interesting. I dont think I will give up, I think I will try another masjid. I really want a place where I can go and congregate with other muslims so insha'allah I will find the right spot for me.

Adventurous Ammena said...

salam.. Im just happy you went sis.. I know tons of sisters who have never been to a masjid which makes me sad. You took the first step masha'allah, granted it wasnt a good experience but God has a plan for you that noone knows, maybe its so you will be more grateful for the things u see in the future insha'allah. Just keep your head up, dont worry about everyone else and worship your creator. As for clothes.. Ive been told many times that once I have children my fashion sense will go out the window lol :P Allahu alim.

Lisa said...

Just take this one day at a time sister. It can be like culture shock the first 10 times, and then you start getting the hang of it. The sister who told you not to look around....argggg. They do tht a lot. Some of them really mean well, others are jealous and don't have much of a life and like to make you miserable.

And no worries about being glam at the masjid. I say good for you! Those sisters who mis-match often don't wear hijab at all, an carry a scarf in their backseat. I love you, keep your head up sis.

Inspired Muslimah said...

Adventurous Ameena: Yes sis I agree and I wanted to go to experience it and I can imagine being in a religion and never visiting its house of worship so I has to go. I probably wont attend juma at that masjid but I will fine another one insha'allah

Lisa: Thanks so much sis and your right, I bet those sisters probably just keep one in the car to throw on when appropriate. Yes it was an experience but worth going.I love you too sis and thanks for the support!

Zawjat Marouane said...

I understand. I have been a Muslimah for 3 years now and have NEVER been inside a mosque! I know its hard to believe, but I have so much anxiety built upon the whole ordeal that I can never bring myself to go. My husband has even encouraged me to go, but I'm just being a big baby about it I guess. However, so many sisters at school are so "rude" I guess is what you could call it when I try to be friendly and form friendships that it is really discouraging. Anyway, I know what you mean sis, just keep a good attitude, and don't let others get you down. Salam!

zainab1 said...

As salaamu alaikum sister Iam new to your site and I think it's great , I know how you feel I have only been to a mosque once and that was when I was visiting new york with my husband I always feel out of place like you mentioned the sisters arent always that friendly , especially in the area where I live , I pray to Allah (swt) that you will find a mosque that you can comfortably worship in , Ameen. Sister Iam a new blogger who has recently started my own blog I invite you and other sister to visit me at zainab1.blogspot.com and tell me what you think any suggestions , comments, etc. I am looking forward to bonding with sisters. As salaamu alaikum

zainab1 said...

As salaamu alaikum sister ,thank you so much for taking the time to visit my site, masha Allah,you are the first sister to actually leave a comment ,yeah!(smile)that is is cool. Please stop by again , insha Allah. As salaamu alaikum

eyes serene said...

Assalamu alaikom,
I was completely surprised the first few times I went to a mosque, too, because I was expecting it to be like my experiences going to churches... Nope. heh Well, do you have more than one mosque in your area? Perhaps you can find one where you feel most comfortable. But don't stop going... Even give this one more chances.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I had some weird experiences at mosques too. Mostly women just making sure our feet were touching and pulling on my skirt when my toes showed at all during sujuud. I did visit a Somali masjid in MN that I liked and went to for awhile though. The shiekh actually came and introduced himself to me while I was with my friend and gave us free Arabic lessons after Jumaa for awhile so that I could learn to write and read Quran a bit. That I think is what Islam should be like.

Muslim Kid said...

Heyyy!

Wow this is like the most down to earth blog I have ever read.

Haha "I guess because I blog so much and Im not around sisters very often, I had thought I was going to see a bunch of hijab fashionistas ( like the ones I see on my my muslimah blogs)"

thats halarious because what your saying is absolutely true. With every other Female Muslim blog having some mention of a stylish hijab, you would think that.

Yet as you saw, on the contrary, reality is much different.

Im sorry you had a bad experience, and that lady was very very rude, "Who send you here?"

I know what she was thinking, "Her friend or someone sent her to see what Islam is all about, but shes going to come once, think she's Muslim and go about life as she had before" --Very typical.

But I really reccomend that you keep going!

by the way, nice blog.

Check out mine: themuslimkid.blogspot.com

(im a boy, 14 years old)
lol

If you would rather I didn't read your blog, just drop by a message.
-The Muslim Kid-

Stephanie said...

Salam Alaikum,
sorry I'm answering this so late but I just started blogging and found your blog. This post reminds me so much of when I first converted and going to the masjid was often such an upsetting experience. Unfortunately, many masjids aren't set up or don't want proper space for women so that's what you end up with. Don't give up though, you're sure to find some nice sisters and eventually you will feel like you're fitting in better. I've been a Muslim for 5 years, alhumdillah, and it took me probably 3 years until I really felt comfortable going to the masjid. That's just me though, I'm kind of antisocial, so inshallah it won't take so long for you. Please keep us posted. Did you try another masjid yet?

zahra said...

Salaam,

Is there any convert whose first visit to the Mosque isn't traumatizing!? I just can't get past the refusal to have child care during prayer (maybe by women who can't pray) - geez. And the whole "you come to pray, not hang out" or whatever - it makes a psychological difference when you can't see or hear, kids nibbling on you, older children running and screaming. Always someone has to tell you something you are doing wrong - feet not apart enough or not close enough, hands not high enough - bleh bleh. But for dress, we should look our best for prayer (like Sunday best is to Christians). This includes the women. while you don't want to show up totally bejeweled and pamela anderson make-up, it is wrong to look like a slouch who just threw on something. I can't say stick it out or not. I have been Muslim for 7 years in a small community and have given up on Mosque and community because it affects me negatively. So sad

Modern Muslimah said...

As'Salaam Alaikum


OMG I can recall my first time going to my local Masjid and it was HORRIBLE astagfurAllah. no one spoke to me, a few sisters gave me the greetings but for the most part i was sitting there alone feeling UNWELCOMED. I have never been to church ever but i heard that at church's they welcome you and I just wish Masjids were like that. They make people feel like they do not even want to ever come to another Masjib. insha'allah Allah will guide these people to the true light and let them see what Islam is all about Ameen.

Suz said...

I am not muslim as of yet but have been researching and going to jummah at my university. I have some american friends that are muslim and I usually go with them so that I am not lost. The few times I have been without them, I have felt lost and pretty unwelcomed. I grew up in the mormon church and with the background that at church you notice who is new or visiting and make them feel welcome. We always introduced ourselves and so on. We also had child care or the parents would take disruptive parents out of the worship area so others could worship in peace.

So going to jummah has been a bit intimidating for me. I also understand the part about it being hard to concentrate when all you head is a voice on the loudspeaker. One masjid that I went to was like that. The women's room was small, packed, and very warm and sweaty. The imman was broadcast just over speakers.

I was really hoping for some kind of welcome or some sort of community so that I felt comfortable. And also would have people to ask questions to when I have questions.

So far I've just been reading books and relying on my friends for answers. But I really like the jummah that is held at the university because there are more people there my age, and I don't stick out too bad when I try to wear the hijab a little more fashionable (I've actually had compliments!). But I won't be going back to the one masjid that I went to because of the reasons you listed!

Looks like you have at least a great online community here and that is encouraging! Too bad we don't all live in the same area!

Hopefully it gets better and maybe soon I will be reverting, inshallah. I like what I have learned so far and am glad that I'm not alone in some of the experiences I've had with going to jummah, its less discouraging now!

brighter-days@hotmail.com said...

Assalamu Alaikum
I think that as a revert myself , more I learn about Islam the more I find that born Muslim are not even at masjid practicing in the right ways . Sisters and also brothers should be welcoming to any new face they see and people should being saying there Salam as a matter fact fighting to be first to say it as it has great reward. Also as far as what you wore to masjid it was totally not the place to dress up , sure you can put best scarf on and Aybaa ,but remember as sisters we are not ware hijab to look pretty but to be modest , we do not want to draw attention of men to us ,If you dress in your best Abyaa and scarf to go to masjid make sure you are doing because you are enter Allah place and you will stand before Allah . Not do because fashion or because people . I wish Imam will start to do on fridays speech on manners of the Muslim

Mariam said...

Dear Sister,
Salams - While I do understand it may be a frustrating experience with children crying and yelling in the masjid, keep in mind the Masjid is not just for single sisters without children.

Women (that includes mothers) are not prohibited to go to the masjid. As Prophet saw do not stop your women or children from going to the mosques. Its wrong for people to complain that children are disturbing them, rather we should all get together and encourage the management of the masjid to create special rooms for sisters with children.

Saying "no children allowed" (as written in some mosques) is offensive and completely against islam. Children need exposure in the deen and feel the welcomeness of the mosques and islam. Some sisters who were angered by children in fact regret it when they have kids and are unable to attend mosques because of people bickering and telling them to go home (yes this has happened, its a very ignorant way of being a muslim)

Hope that helps! :) Salams Don't let it ruin your experience, think of it as a gathering and needing to expose children to islam, otherwise what will be the outcome of the future?

Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum Sisters,
Further to the responses regarding no one saying salaam, no one would know you are a new muslim so dont be shy to introduce yourself either or smile at someone and give them salaams. For many born muslims unfortunately going to the masjid is routine so by you being friendly first insha allah you can set a warm and beautiful tone. May Allah commend you for your efforts. The beginning is always hard but it gets easier and later on in the journey you may feel so much contentment at just being able to attend the mosque and sit among muslims that you will find sweetness in the nuances. Allah is merciful and the prophet peace be upon him would pray with his grandson jumping on his back :)

Uhkti to Uhkti said...

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,Sisters and little brother. After reading the comments mirroring some of my past experiences,Alhamdulillah I go to Jumuah wherever I'm closest to. I give salaams upon entering. I go to receive the message,and to meet my sisters in faith. I will admit meeting sister's in passing,supermarkets,schools etc... has been for me a better experience than at Masjid. Mostly because some for cultural reasons or even just their way Say it's inappropriate to talk at Jumuah(of course not during khutbah). So,because I can relate to your blogs, Remember We are seeking the Acceptance of Allah subhana wa ta'ala,first and foremost.Wherever YOU choose to attend Jumuah,Go,seeking the bounties of Allah swt,In shaa Allah everything else will fall into place. As for the little ones, I have my grandbaby who even at home during salat is climbing,hanging or even sitting on my head...Sister this is where Patience should be sought after hehehe. I've been asked to keep bringing her to Jumuah>_>Salaam my dear sister's and little brother.

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