AN ABODE OF PEACE: SALAAM

A Quiet street in Savannah

A Quiet street in Savannah

It has been eighteen years since I went to Savannah. As I turn into the quiet shady lane lined with old oak trees laden with Spanish moss, I try to remember if I had ever seen this bright colored neat building on my last visit.

As I walk up the steps, I know for certain that I have neither seen nor ever been here before. Its clean lines, immaculate grounds and the bright windows, tell me that the people who inhabit this building give it, its due right and the tafseer  of the Quran in context of dhulm and its defination comes to mind, which I paraphrase

“ every moment and every place and person has to be given its due right otherwise it would be considered dhulm or oppression”.

I had never thought of giving a building its due right, but I now understand the difference between a building that is used, abused and left to go into slow disrepair and decay versus these surroundings which reflect that inside are perhaps God fearing men and women who actualize the words of God in the Quran.

I open the door and there is a small vestibule, where few pairs of shoes have been removed by their owners and placed neatly. I open the entrance door to the main room and I can hear the Imam giving “Taleem”. There are very few men present, but their focus and their involvement in what is being taught is palpable.

I quietly close the door behind me and I am transported into a serenity of mind and heart, the sort, which only comes with the peace, and mercy of Allah.  In sincere gatherings of Dhikr the angels gather in a circle around the people in Dhikr.

Pausing inside the entrance to this room, I get the feeling with certainty, that the angels have reason to visit here often, bringing with them the peace and mercy of Allah. The men who few in number are deeply immersed in a two way teaching session with the Imam, mulling over the ramifications of “Ilm”or knowledge in all its nuances mentioned in the Quran

They pause for a moment to respond to our salaam with the response of greeting of peace. I walk over to the adjoining door less parlor, which opens onto the main room and prepare to pray without disturbing them.

An invisible cloak of peace falls around me. I do not question the reasons for it but sink onto the carpet to absorb the sense of peace & goodness, that I have stumbled into.

I begin my salah and even though I can hear the taleem going on, as my salah proceeds, the voices turn to murmurings, whether in reality or just in my mind, I do not know. Feeling the peace and sakina that I attribute to the angels surrounding these men who probably have just finished salah, Shakyh Magraoui’s words come to me:

“When you feel peace after salah, it may be because you are present with your Qalb in the presence of As Salaam (peace). Would you not feel peace if you had visited As Salaam with the presence of your Qalb in Salah?”

As Salaam (Peace) is one of the attributes of Allah Subhanawataala.

I do not think it is because of my salah that this gentle mantle of peace has been placed on my shoulders. I feel that in this masjed the air and the walls are soaked with the Dhikr of Allah so often and with so much Ikhlaas that the angels perhaps have made this place their permanent abode.

I am truly humbled as I think of the stark difference between this blessed, simple place and others that also carry the name of a masjed.

In the heart of Savannah, one right turn off the main road onto a quiet tree lined street, takes you to this haven of peace and knowledge. Meanwhile crowds of people rush back and forth on the busy highways searching for peace that can only be had if they took a right turn.

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The Masjed in Savannah

A reminder of Dhikr after salah in the women's Mussallah

A reminder of Dhikr after salah in the women's Mussallah

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