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The Beauty of Islam
Speaking with people at the masjid, the beauty of Islam and the beauty they desire for the masjid emerged as an ongoing theme. People often spoke of the beauty they found in their religion—even in places like the not-yet-remodeled masjid, which struck some of them as less than beautiful.
Young women spoke over and over again about the beauty of mosques they’d seen in the Islamic world, contrasted with the plainness of the Faribault masjid. “They’re so beautiful, you don’t want to leave,” Ambro said. For these young women, mosques and beauty were almost necessarily linked. The plan for remodeling the building, they told me, was to:
Make it look like a masjid—make it beautiful. If you go to a Muslim country and go to a mosque there, they're beautiful.
The same young women talked about the adhan, the call to prayer, as supremely beautiful—especially when done by “five voices at once” in the Islamic world, or, in Faribault, by an imam whose voice they particularly loved. The beauty they found in the adhan and in traditional mosques figured heavily in their hopes for the masjid’s future.
One evening at a class, Bashir recited a poem that he later called “a beautiful recitation.” (For more on this poem, see YouTube Lectures and Sources of Authority). He contrasted the beauty of this recitation to the ugliness of hip-hop and country music:
I’m not gonna say [popular music] is haram or halal, because I don’t know about that, I don’t have the knowledge…but I don’t listen [to it], because they always swear and negative stuff. And my religion says, why would you listen to that, something that’s very negative to your life?
Sagal, a high-school girl, retold a story she’d read online, in which she contrasted the sadness of the old man’s situation to the beauty of the Qur’an and of Islam.
I heard this story and it makes me so sad. There was a young American nurse, who was caring for an old, old man in hospital who was Muslim. He forgot everything, because he was so old and so sick, except the Qur’an. She didn’t know the religion, but she learned a lot from him…he would be making wudu, and praying in his bed, saying beautiful verses, he would do adhan…One day she went to a mosque to see what Islam really was…And she actually converted to Islam…She converted, came back to the guy, and told him. Then he died. She said “That man was my way to become Islam.”
Finally, an imam mentioned a night that was “hidden” in Ramadan:
In Ramadan we have one night that is better than one thousand nights—you can get closer to Allah, worship him more. We don’t know what night that is, it is a hidden night…It is the equivalent of eighty-three years of fasting. It is sacred… Ramadan is one of the Islamic pillars. It’s very important to us to welcome it, and we cannot wait to welcome it again…We love to welcome Ramadan.
More thoughts on beauty may be found in the Visions of the Future page.