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In the Name of God بسم الله
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elainexe

Questions about Mosque Customs/Practices/Culture

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Salaam alaykum everyone!

I went to a Shia mosque for the first time recently and I have some questions about something in it. I have no idea what to call it, but there was an area of the mosque with multiple structures. These things each had a green cloth draped over some kind of understructure, and on top was a metal sheet with writing. I can't read Arabic calligraphy well, but I think they may have each had one of the masumeen on them.

One woman went by and made some reverential gestures. Another put food in the front of this area and after the service we ate it.

So...what is the name of this area with the names of the masumeen? What are the customs in relation to it?

During the service I moved to sit with my legs in front of me and I was scolded for it. I didn't want to talk over the service though so I didn't ask. I had been seated facing somewhat towards the area with the names of the masumeen. I heard once for a non-Muslim culture that it was considered rude to point your feet at anyone...is this true for Shia Muslims (i.e., is there a specific rule against it?)? Or is it something that comes from certain cultures?

Also when I was there they did a "ziyarah." Now, I've heard of ziyarah before (from many many YouTube lectures....my only window into the Shia community before I was able to visit the mosque), but it was always in relation to physically visiting shrines/graves. And when I try to look it up now I still can't find anything except that ziyarah is physically visiting shrines. What kind of this was this in the mosque?

Lastly I'd be happy with any links any of you might have to this kind of general information of customs/practices/culture. Almost all information I find about Shia Islam is either for born-Shias who want advanced information, or young Shias who may not have a strong knowledge basis, but who are expected to at least culturally have absorbed some things. For instance, I only learned after I went to a Shia mosque for the first time on Eid al Adha about Eid al Ghadir. This is apparently one of the most important holidays? But I never once heard mention of it after studying Shia Islam alone since last October, though I had heard huge volumes about the event of Ghadir. I can only assume this lack is because it was thought to be too obvious for mention...that everyone reading would have grown up in an environment where the fact of its existence is unavoidable. So if anyone has any good resources that tells you these kinds of things...culture, practices, etc, I'd be really grateful. The mosque is too far away for me to go regularly to ask these kinds of things. Jazakallah khair in advance.

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Salam, 

Welcome to Shiachat and to the path of Ahlebayt (a.s)!!!  

Inshallah all your queries will be answered by the helpful brothers and sisters here. It would be great if you could split them into separate questions. Were you a muslim before you converted to shia islam?

 Those cloth covered things you saw in the mosque/Hussainiya were probably taaziyas, they are replicas or symbols of the Masoomeen's tombs or rozas. They are just symbols, Shia muslims don't use them for worship.

I will try to do a post about ziyaraahs and eid ghadeer tomorrow, if no one else replies by then. :)

 

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Salam and welcome to shiachat. We have many knowledgeable brothers and sisters here who can answer your questions. I'm not knowledgeable about mosque traditions, so I'll leave that for others. I just wanted to greet and welcome you. I hope you find your answers. May we all be guided to the straight path. 

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@starlight (sorry if the formatting is really messed up in this post--the posting interface is extremely buggy on an iPad and things keep disappearing or overwriting each other)

Thank for the answer and the welcome! Are these taaziyas related to theater plays, or just sharing the same word? Or maybe it's a word spelled the same in English as the plays but different originally? Just these plays are most of what I get searching for "taaziya." And for Eid al Ghadir, I actually don't need information on that--I was just using it an example. Alhamdulillah after I heard of it I found information. But thanks for the offer.

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I don't know about you, but in my opinion there is just something wrong with having objects in a place of worship that you show reverence for, put food in front of, and that you supplicate to.

By the way, did what you are talking about look anything like some of the pictures in this thread?

 

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2 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

I don't know about you, but in my opinion there is just something wrong with having objects in a place of worship that you show reverence for, put food in front of, and that you supplicate to.

By the way, did what you are talking about look anything like some of the pictures in this thread?

 

Er well nobody supplicated to these things but they did do the other things. Though it was only the two people. I don't know how the others in the mosque felt about it. I was just very confused and don't know what to think about it without knowing what it is and what people intend with it. So I just didn't interact with it.

The metal at the top of the objects may have looked like the one picture in that thread, except flatter. I don't remember the exact shape though, if it was hand shaped like the picture there. And there were not any big banners like in those pictures. Though I only see the one picture with the metal bit and don't understand how it connects with the other pictures of the banners? I suppose for all I know the green cloths I saw in the mosque could unfold into banners, though it didn't seem so.

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