Beauty Veiled Essay

3558 words - 15 pages

Hot and sticky, on an early September afternoon, I was sitting idly in traffic waiting for the light on Pensacola and Jefferson to turn green. With the music blaring, windows down, and a line of sweat slowly trickling down the back of my neck, my eyes were drawn to a group of people chatting in a run-down parking lot to my right. Behind them lay an old building into which the people were slowly making their way. It wasn't the building that held my attention it was the women in front of it. They were too fully dressed for the sweltering September afternoon, wearing long sleeved dresses and most with scarves covering their heads. All I could see of their bodies was the skin of their faces and ...view middle of the document...

Not only was the building small and run down, but the parking lot was as well.

There were only a few spaces, enough to hold about ten compact cars, and small rocks and a few potholes were scattered across the lot. It looked as if it was in need of a new repaving. The dilapidated state of the building made me thirsty to know what the inside was like. How much room was there? I asked myself. I knew now that it was a mosque, but how did its congregation worship? Why were the women so fully dressed and why were their heads covered? And most importantly, as a non-Muslim, would they welcome me in to find out more?

After waiting for about half an hour, I still had not seen any of the women and decided to go home. My curiosity peaked, I did the first thing that came to mind; I went to the Internet. With a little bit of research on Florida State University's website, I discovered that there is Muslim Student Association (MSA) and they meet every other Monday night at 6:30 at the International Students Center. The site lead me to the email address of Harry Ikcus*, president of the MSA. After I emailed him, he informed me that the Al-Ansar Mosque is home to Tallahassee's Muslim community. However, due to its run-down state the meetings are held on campus. The MSA contains a large part of Tallahassee's Muslim population and welcomes believers of Islam and those who wish to explore its meaning. It is a "gateway" organization to the world of Islam, which was founded by Prophet Muhammad in the Arabian Peninsula 1400 years ago. The Islamic community of Tallahassee has set an objective to establish a place where people can come to truly understand the basic teachings of Islam and rid themselves of any preconceived notions or misunderstandings they may have. They have opened up their membership to all students and non-students who have an interest in learning. Their membership is composed of members of all religions and nationalities, making a community of rich and diverse culture. In relation with educating people about Islam, they conduct social/cultural religious activities, and hold, "congregational prayers and Islamic festivals, to promote relations between Muslim and non-Muslims"(MSA Website).

Although the website contained helpful information about the MSA and it's purpose, I said nothing of why the women who I had seen in the parking lot were dressed so heavily. Harry had given me the address of Heather Miker*, a member of the MSA, who dressed in such a manner and who was to be my guide into Islam. She invited me to a meeting of the Muslim Student Association, where she said I would have a better chance to learn a little more about their organization and meet more people.

Nervously, I awaited the day of my first look into the religion of Islam. With a week to go questions circled in my mind. Visions of women with veils covering their heads continue to pop into my head and I had a thirsting desire to find out why they were dressed in such a...

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