Saturday, September 29, 2012

Muslims in Morocco

Religion has always fascinated me. I have always had the desire to go "religion hopping" and learn about all different kinds of religions and why they believe the things that they believe. Not because I wanted a change from my own beliefs, but because I enjoyed learning about others.' Growing up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, I didn't get much religious diversity. It is mainly Christian up in CDA, and the most diversity I got was the mix of Catholics, Non-denominational, Protestants, and Christian Scientists. I grew up in the Mormon faith, (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints) which is also a Christian faith. But really, CDA didn't have much else, at least not that I was aware of. 

So going to Morocco and seeing the strong Muslim religion taking place all around me as I was there was fascinating to me. FASCINATING. It was so different to anything that I was accustomed to. The biggest wake up call that I ever got was on our first morning there at 5AM when the first call to prayer went off right outside of our hotel window. I heard it as clear as day. It was a very effective alarm clock and afterwards, I was wide awake. We continued to hear it every morning bright and early at 5AM and there was no off switch to it. 

5 times a day, they have a call to prayer. I know they are speaking in Arabic, but since I don't know the Arabic language, to me it just sounds like a big loud scary noise full of some speaking and some monotone singing/chanting. It freaked me out every time that I heard it but fascinated me at the same time. And even after being in the country for a whole week, I still didn't get used to it. On the last day, the whole thing was still shocking and mind boggling to me. When the "alarm" goes off, you see all the men rushing to the mosques to begin their daily prayers. Such commitment to their faith. 

On the picture below you can see a pole sticking up from the top with a perpendicular crook going out. This is where they hang people when they go against the Muslim religion or when they commit some serious sin. I don't think they use it as much as they used to in the past, but still, it is there. I think it is more as a reminder of what could happen. 

Every time the call to prayer would go off, I would imagine what it would be like if President Monson, the Mormon latter day prophet did a similar thing. Can you imagine him getting on a big loud speaker and telling everyone that it was time to pray? Can you imagine him singing into a big microphone that had a speaker throughout the whole country? Can you imagine him forcing you to pray and having him tell you when to pray and when not to? I can't. Prayer seems like such a personal thing to me that you do when you show thanks or when you humbly ask for blessings. Yes it is good to pray throughout the day, and to always have a prayer in your heart, but I can't imagine doing it on someone else's timetable. I don't think I could ever get used to that.
 Stand up.....
 Squat down.....
 Stand up...

 The 5 times daily prayer ritual is only required for men. It was interesting to watch what the women were doing during this time. Here are some of them. They mostly were hanging out, siting around for their husbands to get done so they could go back home. Interesting I thought. Women are seen so differently than they are in the US. They aren't really worth much in Morocco and don't have authority at all. They are there to please their husbands and to have children. When people would come up to Nate and I, they would always address Nate, not me. It was like I didn't even exist there and wasn't important. They would barely even look at me. Even going through security in the Marrakesh airport, they made two lines, one for males and one for women. No mixing of genders allowed. The women's line was way longer so the men got through much quicker. Fair? Not really, but that is just how it is in Morocco. Feminists wouldn't survive there. 

Kneel down....
And repeat....
for a long, long, long time,
or so it seemed like to me. 
I think so. 

Being in Morocco made me feel so grateful to be an American. I have never appreciated my country as much as after I came home from Morocco. The people there are trapped. They don't have the freedom of speech or freedom of religion laws like Americans do. They have to do what the government and their religion says they will do or else.....they will have a serious punishment.....maybe even being hung. 

We should all be grateful to live in America and to experience the freedoms that we do. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)