The Secret

Sofía, Bulgaria June 2011

Read this article in Spanish

Surely in my beautiful hometown Tijuana there must be a Mosque somewhere between the Churches and Nightclubs. But I had to come all the way to Sofia, Bulgaria to enter one and know it’s secrets.

Mosque in Sofia, Bulgaria

The Mosque in Sofia is located just blocks around the Synagogue, the biggest in Europe. Inicially Annika and I had only plans to go to the Synagogue, but it’s beauty and mysticisim left us with hunger for more. So that’s how we ended up going to the Mosque.

In the door we were recieved by the guard. He charged us an entry fee of two Levas per person (equivalent to one Euro) and asked us to follow some simple rules. We had to take our shoes off and Annika would have to wear a green tunic that would cover her whole body and hair. A rule that is respected since the times of Muhammad about 1,500 years ago, a way to show respect in this sacred temple of prayer.

When we went in, I was astonished by the beauty of the prayer wall. I was ashamed to accept that I knew nothing about Islam. I had to wait till I reached a computer and learn that the writings on the wall were scriptures from the Koran and that the Mosaic work was The Mecca. Mecca is the name of the city located in Saudi Arabia where the prophet Muhammad was born and till today it is considered the most important city on the Islam faith. I stepped out for a moment and asked the guard permission to take a picture inside. He granted it.

Sofia is home to 1.19 million souls, where twelve percent of their inhabitants are Muslims.1

Of all these people we had the fortune to listen to her voice:

I am sorry but do you have permission to take pictures here?” she whispered quietly.

I answered: “Yes, but I don’t want to be rude. The truth is I don’t really know how to behave myself inside a Mosque.”

Come with me.” she replied and led us up the hidden stairs to the women’s hall of prayer.

Her name was Aisha, a devoted and passionate islamic woman. For nearly 40 minutes she talked with us . She spoke about Allah, about poetry, specially about Rumi2. She explained about the purity in which all woman in Islam are percieved, the main reason why they should cover her body. She expressed her gratitud towards the conforting words of the Koran in times of sadness and fear. She ilustrated us about the importance of how Muslims should predicate love and compassion. She then sighed, made a pause, watched us with her big olive green eyes and with a peaceful voice reveled unto us her secret:

“Everybody has an intimate profound connection with Allah, we just have to speak to him”.

It was not the words that touched my spirit, but the way she revealed unto us what was most important to her. Believer or not, I could not contain my admiration for this person. The way she shaped her faith with a constructive passion, far from any shaddow, made me realize the importance of faith. That day I had a more than curious urge to visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

1CIA THE WORLD FACT BOOK

2Rumi was a Muslim poet from the 13th century

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  1. Great post, I admire the writing style 🙂 A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.
    My blog is about Teenage depression.

    • admin admin says:

      The topic I am not sure, but we inserted some widgets so I could show some pictures. I’ll look into it and tell you. On another topic, our goal is to promote travel as a healthy way to connect to the world. Perhaps it would be cool if people who are depressed could find in the blog or other travel blogs a way to fight it. I am no expert but I would like to hear your opinion.

  2. Héctor says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us and give us another point of view about Muslims. We need to start separating politics and religion: not every muslim is a terrorist and not every terrorist is a muslim. Good people is everywhere, no matter what religion. We are just afraid of what we don’t know.

  3. Pingback: Cultivating Empathy by Bicycle Travel: The Kedah Bicycle Path Project - Tasting Travels | Tasting the cultures of the world by bike

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