Religion's Impact on People's Lives - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-29
Religion's Impact on People's Lives - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Religion Personal experience
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1191 words
10 min read


The life of people is greatly influenced by their religion. Whether a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or any other religion, people tend to behave in a certain way that is greatly influenced by their religion. For example, it is common to find differences in the dressing of Christians and Muslims. These differences in dressings are deeply entrenched in the religion of the people. For quite a number of years, I have been interested in knowing how other religions conduct their prayers and what value they instill in the people. As a Christian, I have always wanted to understand more about Islamic culture as well as how religion influences that culture. As a result, I planned to visit a mosque and learn more about their culture and religion.

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Before visiting the mosque, I conducted some preliminary research to determine the dos and the donts. I looked online and obtained a number of one of the Imams of the mosque I was to visit and inquired about the dressing. The Imam informed me about the dressing code for men and women. People, whether visitors or not, are supposed to dress in long clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are advisable for men. I arrived at the mosque in time and removed my shoes, and put them on the shelves just like everyone else was doing. After the prayer session, I asked the Imam the importance of doing so, and he informed me that removing the shoes before entering the mosque is meant to maintain ritual cleanliness. Besides, it is meant to ensure that the floors and carpets are always kept clean.

Before anyone entered the mosque, they washed hands at the entrance and then got inside. I watched keenly what people did, and I realized that they washed hands in a particular way. According to the research that I did, later on, I realized that the ritual is known as “wudu” (Resuloglu 59). This is a symbolic process of making oneself clean and acceptable before Allah. The washing of the hands takes about five minutes, and hands are washed in a certain order. One begins with the tips of the fingers and then moves to the wrists. After this, one gargles some water and then spits it out. After this, people wash their face. One then washes the feet, and then they are concerned ready for “an appointment with God.”

When I entered, I sat at the back so that I could observe all that was happening. During the prayer session, I realized how dedicated Muslims are to prayers. They do not concentrate on anything else but the prayer. For instance, as the people prayed, I witnessed young boys running and playing and making some noise. However, none of the men seemed to care about them. The children were allowed to pray as the people prayed. This was different from the Christian set up where children are not allowed to play or make noise during prayer. In my church, if a child attempts to make noise, he or she is taken out by the guardian to allow others to have a peaceful moment.

The Imam led the prayer session. Before he began to speak, the Imam greeted the others in Islam “Salam” and then proceeded to tell his sermon. He used both Arabic and English to tell his sermon, and I could not understand what he was saying, especially when he spoke in Arabic. The Imam gave an extended sermon that mostly talked about how Allah guides humankind and how people are supposed to obey his wishes at all times.

After he was through, another man came and did what I later learned was called “Adhan.” This is a call to prayer. At this point, all the people stood, and the prayer started. Every time the man mentioned “Allah,” I observed people behave differently and perform certain things. For instance, I would see them place hands on the knees.

I realized that prayer is an essential ritual in the Islamic faith as the Imam emphasized greatly on the need of the people to pray as dictated. Curious of the importance of this ritual among the Muslims, I conducted some research and discovered several things about prayer in the Islamic faith. One of the major things is that any Muslim above puberty is expected to pray at least five times a day. The prayers or salats have different names, which help to distinguish them based on the time that they are recited. Fajr is the prayer that is recited from dawn to sunrise and mostly occurs the moment one wakes up. Zhur prayer happens from noon till the next prayer, which is known as Asr prayer. The latter starts in the afternoon and can take several hours. At sunset is the Maghrib, which is then followed by Isha. Isha is prayed from dusk until dawn (Jaziri 14). This shows how important the prayer ritual is important to the Islamic faith.

Towards the end of the prayer service, the man who had stood after the Imam talked about an ongoing project that people were expected to support. A box was passed around, and people gave out money to be used in the completion of the project. From the back, I observed how people gave out willingly and sought to know whether giving of alms is something that has anything to do with the Muslim culture. Again, I delved into research about this and realized that almsgiving is a major ritual in the Islamic faith. The Quran requires Muslims to give alms alongside prayer (Goitein, Shelomo, & Norman 46). The Quran warns that those who use their money for purposes contrary to the will of Allah will be punished.

Personal Experience

My visit to the mosque was a great learning experience for me. This was my first time to be in a mosque, and it gave a chance to learn more about the Islamic way of worship. The atmosphere in the mosque was sincere and sacred, and there was a nice program on how things should follow. The behavior of the people inside was an indication of how serious they took the service as well as a revelation of what it served them. Being a Christian, I must admit that I was a bit tense since some of the rituals conducted there were really strange, but I composed myself fully. For example, I could not understand why we had to wash our hands before going in since this is a practice that is not found in the Christian faith. It was until I conducted research that I came to understand what some of these rituals meant. This experience was awesome, and I am even determined to learn more about other religions so that I can understand them better.

Works Cited

Goitein, Shelomo D, and Norman A. Stillman. Studies in Islamic History and Institutions. Leiden: Brill, 2010. Print.

Jaziri, Abd -R. Modes of Islamic Worship. Louisville, Ky: Fons Vitae, 2009. Print.

Resuloglu, M F. Islamic Faith and Worship: Fundamentals of Belief and Practice for Young Readers. , 2015. Print.

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