To read the previous part of this story, click here.
Our Village Mosque
Here is our mosque, the heart of Gonja village. All over Uyghuristan, one can see mosques like ours in both villages and towns. Some mosques do not have large minarets, but all have at least two small minarets on either side of the mosque’s courtyard gate.
For some periods in our recent history, our mosques and madrasahs were closed down by the state government and we were not free to worship Allah openly. In the late 1980s, before I was born, the central government in Beijing decided to allow us more freedom to practice Islam. During this time, hundreds of new mosques were built by Uyghur villagers and towns-people all across our land, al-Hamdulillah. Our new village mosque was built during this period.
Our mosque is the most beautiful building in Gonja village. Local bricklayers, woodcarvers, masons and painters along with all village men, women and children worked very hard to build it.
My cousin, 'Abd al-Samad, studied Arabic for many years. He can read and write it very well, al-Hamdulillah. Our imam asked him to paint some ayahs and ahadeeth on the blank upper walls of our mosque. Can you read the beautiful hadeeth that Abd al-Samad has just finished painting? The Prophet (SM) has told us: man sabara dhafara-"whoever is patient will be victorious.
In Uyghuristan today, we cannot always wear the turban in public places. Inside our mosques, however, we try to follow this sunnah when we perform our salah or prayers. Turbans are hung on a line in the courtyard and can be borrowed by any worshipper. We are a people who know and cherish our history. Islam is our faith of choice and it continues to dwell in our hearts.
On the two very special days of the Muslim calendar: bayram (the 'eid al-fitr at the end of Ramadhan) and korban (the 'eid al-adha or feast of the sacrifice), our mosque and its large courtyard become full and cannot contain all the Muslims who come for worship. On such occasions, hundreds and hundreds of Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder-inside the mosque, in the courtyard and far beyond the outer walls of the mosque on the village streets and alleys-and pray salah al-'eid together. With the chanting of the takbir : Allah-u akbar, Allah-u akbar; la ilaha ill Allah, we reaffirm our faith in Islam and our desire that in even the most remote corner of the roof of the world”, Islam will continue to guide the Uyghur people (and Muslims everywhere) to alfalah, inshaAllah.
To read the first part of this story, click here.
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