Hosted in North Carolina, Siti Nur Hannany wrote two lovely blogs about her encounters that really captured the spirit about the YES Program.
I told my host mother that I only wanted to visit the mosque in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, instead how thoughtful of her insisting that I should do my Zohor prayers right after her church service.
I imagined the mosque being small, with less facilities than the regular mosques back in Malaysia. As soon as I entered the mosque and uttered the word Assalamualaikum, there were people who replied back and instantly my heart felt warmth.
Inside the mosque there was a lesson going on, where little boys were practicing how to summon an azan while the girls giggled. Together I sat with them and read out Al-Fatihah and other verses of the great Al-Quran. No word could describe how comforting it felt reading together at a foreign country where people who see us as a threat.
After Zohor prayers, the Imam was guiding everyone to recite the Zikir step-by-step. It was pleasant to see him teaching a few people on how to pray to Allah. His guidance to the Mubalighs was gentle, opening their hearts to Islam as a way of life with ease. The people in the Mosque were very welcoming, they even asked me to draw a map of where I’m from.
When I see everyone in the mosque smiling, giggling and laughing, I couldn’t help but think even if we’re different in skin colour or ethnicity, we are still the same people. Allah swt asserts in Al-Quran that He created mankind as one ummah, and it was man that created divisions within themselves.
Looking at the riots, arguments, feuds among Muslims, who are we to uphold our ego more than the words of Allah who summon us to unite and make peace of the world? It might be a small thought for a very young girl, but I truly pray that insya-Allah one day Islam will stand tall where no one will ever associate Islam with terrorism, but rather associate Islam with peace, as indeed Islam has always been a religion of peace.
Siti Nur Hannany