We met with Imam Ossama Bahloul (an imam is comparable to a priest in Christianity or a rabbi in Judaism). Imam Bahloul informed us that though he may have a higher leadership position in the mosque, he is not more in touch with God than anyone else who worships Him—he stressed the principle of equality in Islam: all are equal, including men and women, and everyone’s relationship to God is corresponding as well.
After having some time to ask the imam some questions pertaining to Islam, we were just in time to observe Friday afternoon prayers. I watched, entranced, as the prayer room filled with worshippers of all kinds, and listened intriguingly to the imam recite passages of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is always read in a rhythmic, almost songlike tone, and it was amazing to hear the intricate Arabic enunciated by the imam.
It was a great experience, and after the prayers, we were all given a special gift: our very own Qur’an to read and study to further our understanding of the religion.
In the evening, we all went out to dinner at Café Coco’s, then headed back to campus for a pool party.
The walk to the Recreational Center pool was very lengthy, but it was definitely worth it. We all had tons of fun in the pool, and some friends even tried to teach me how to swim and float in the water (I usually just wade and bounce around the more shallow section of pools). Unfortunately, my natural human instincts would not allow me to let go and trust that the principle of buoyancy would uphold me. However, I am very grateful that Aiyana and our friend Kristen helped me try to overcome the obstacle. I admire the kindness many of the people here exert to one another.