Religion

This is kind of a re-hash of one of the prompts I had to write on today for my CORE final…

It is amazing how pervasive Islam is in the everyday life of Moroccans. One of the first things I noticed when I got here was the five-times-daily call to prayer. Every neighborhood has a mosque with a minaret, and each minaret has loudspeakers that broadcast the call to prayer once in the morning (4:30!) and four times throughout the afternoon/evening. In a Western country you just wouldn’t see this happening–for any religion. Maybe they used to do the church bell thing back in the last century.

Also–Brynn, Pete and I were talking about this yesterday at lunch–there is a much more relaxed atmosphere and people seem to get along with each other well. One of the pillars of Islam is giving to the poor, and they do. The streets of the medina are filled with the poor and handicapped, and instead of seeing them as a nuisance or a burden on society, most Moroccans I’ve spent any considerable amount of time with give them each a few dirhams.

Another thing is the way that religious talk prevades everyday conversation. There’s kind of a joke among Arabic learners that all you have to learn is “Hamdu-Lillah” (praise God) and “Insh’allah” (God willing) and you’re set to reply to any question you could possibly asked. In the US these kinds of phrases aren’t really used in everyday language except for the very religious or the (it could be said) “hokey” country folk (you know the stereotype I’m talking about). Here it is not only acceptable but expected. The answer to “How are you today?” is “Praise God,” because one should praise God regardless of whether they’re having a good or bad day. Interesting perspective and one I feel like I should work on having…

Lastly, there comes the idea of submission or being content with one’s lot. In America, there is a relative gain mentality. Being second is not acceptable. If your neighbor gets a new 2009 car, you need to 2010 model. Here, they really do subscribe to the idea of “God willing.” This isn’t to say that people don’t have goals or try to reach them, but they have the idea that they should be content regardless. Also something Americans (Christians especially) could focus on a little. I know I am going to try to adopt this perspective from now on.

Basically, these people put the majority of people who call themselves Christian to shame!

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Staci

Staci blogs about travel at TheVoyageer.com and about interiors, life, and thoughts at MyFriendStaci.com.

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