At the Door of the Mosque
By Ty Jalal
In every mosque I have ever entered there are two doors. One door is usually wide, formal, inviting. Inside, you may find racks of shoes and then a large open space that quickly fills with neat lines of men in various stages of salat, saying their prayer of greeting to the mosque.
In the other door, often narrower, sometimes leading to a winding corridor or up a flight of stairs, women bustle in long dresses, jilbab, tunics and loose pants, their children running between them, little ones grasping at their mother’s legs. In the women’s prayer area they fan out. There is nothing orderly inside this door, as women sit leaning against walls or in small groups in the middle of the floor, trying to keep their children gathered around them. When the iqamah comes over the loudspeaker, they fall into rows like the men in the other room, their lines interrupted sometimes by small children making prostrations out of synch.