Friday, March 2, 2007

The Mosque in Touba

Saturday after lunch we went to Touba, an entirely Muslim city of 1 million people, with a huge very famous mosque that brings 3 million people to the city during Muslim holy days.

Access to the Mosque is limited to entry through these gated walkways. Before we entered our guide made sure we were appropriately dressed, and had several large pieces of fabric to wrap around our heads, or waists if your skirt or pants are not ankle length. You must carry your shoes, and we were informed pictures are encouraged, but men and women could not be together in them.

This was the first time I'd been required to cover my head to go somewhere (I've done it out of respect visiting another mosque but it hadn't been required). Here I am in front of the women's prayer area. Our group was only allowed in women's areas.

The tile on the ground was imported (as was all of the building material). It is amazing because it doesn't get hot. It was in direct sunlight and yet very cool. I believe he said it was from Morocco but I could be wrong.

The mosque has 5 parapets to represent the 5 pillars of Islam.

Everything was so ornate and definitely beautiful on the outside.

Our guide was so proud of the mosque and its beauty, telling us where all the building materials came from and how long it took to build, and what improvements are being made. But it was really so sad to us and felt so oppressing.

We were not able to go inside, but could see people going in to pray, and give offerings.

When I saw this man I began to lose my composure. He was obviously mentally handicapped and his job was to guide people into the washing area. I just looked at him and was so heartbroken that he doesn't even have the capability to question what he's told to believe. It just made me think of my brother and how thankful I am he's in a Christian home. I just really have to cling to God's sovereignty and know that He is a just God.

The influence of the city of Touba is so huge, that cars, trucks, and businesses will have Touba written on them, even if they have nothing to do with the city. Bill said it's just so influential on the country, I guess they think they'll have blessings or protection if they do that.

This is my favorite picture I took of the mosque because it is such a visual for what we felt there. Although we felt a kind of bubble of protection around us, we definitely felt a heavy spiritual oppression and darkness the whole time we were in the city. God has given me such a burden for the people of Islam and a desire for them to hear His gospel just once, and it was so difficult to be in a place where I would be stoned for trying to share it.

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