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Masjid Muhammad, where the main ingredient is love.

June 23, 2011

Every month my organization has a Board of Directors and Assembly meeting.  This month, DC area mosque called Masjid Muhammad opened their doors and hearts and allowed our meeting to take place.

As the night went on, I admit I wasn’t listening to the meeting (when people start talking about numbers I start getting faint).  But I did watch their scrolling banner. Over and over again.  One of these types, you know? –>Scrolling marquee

So it would say… “Welcome to Masjid Muhammad.  Feel free to check out the kitchen where the main ingredient is love.”  I wish I had taken a picture of the marquee, because Masjid Muhammad’s presence is truly a feeling of love.

I had been looking forward to this meeting for quite some time as I had never had the opportunity to go to an American mosque (only been to mosques in Turkey).  For my first American experience, I have to say I am incredibly glad to have been invited into their space.

Masjid Muhammad, as the Imam pointed out, is the first mosque built by Americans in America.  Its history spans seventy-five years and has seen its fair share of notable guest speakers (including Malcome X).  Masjid Muhammad was originally a mosque that adhered to Nation of Islam, a now defunct offshoot of the Islamic tradition.  In its day, Nation of Islam was an African American movement started by Elijah Muhammad.  Some women of the congregation have been there since its earliest days and can tell you about its fascinating timeline.

These same women provided an amazing meal for us that evening.  Huge dishes of salad, bread, fruits, eggs, and spaghetti lined long tables waiting for our consumption.  The women in that community can cook!  And they did it with love.  You could really taste the love cooked into that food.

At the end of the night I approached one of the women and shook her hand.  I wanted her to know that her services were gratefully appreciated that evening, and her generosity really permeated throughout the room.  I told her that it was my first time in an American mosque and the first time I’d met a congregation, and I felt comfortable and welcomed.   We got to talking and she said that I was welcome any time and that if I ever wanted to attend an actual service, Friday would be the best (that’s a big deal for those who are unfamiliar with Islamic traditions- Friday sermons are like Sunday sermons in Christianity).  I told her I would be delighted to attend and parted ways.

So thank you Masjid Muhammad.  I know I will always have a place to visit where the doors are wide open and people are ready and waiting to welcome visitors.  You truly are a place where love can be felt all around.

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