On Wednesday 26th April we went on a faith tour in Queens Park. When we first went to school we all put our high-vis jackets and were very excited about the day ahead. Then we went on a huge coach to the other side Bedford.
The first place we visited was the Sikh temple, The Gurdwara. Once we got here we were asked to wear a scarf or a hat which covered our heads and remove our shoes to show respect to the religion. The Sikh that showed us around took us to kitchen first and then sat us down and told us a bit more about Sikhism and the 5 k’s, these are:
Kesh (uncut hair)
Kara (a steel bracelet)
Kanga (a wooden comb)
Kaccha - also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear)
Kirpan (steel sword) .
He told us that all that Baptised Sikh carry around a short curved knife called a Kirpan. This symbolises the Sikh’s duty to protect those in Peril. We also learnt that baptised Sikh’s do not cut their hair, this is called the Kesh, because they believe this is an indispensable part of the body. The kara that is worn is a symbol of God having no beginning or end. The kanga symbolises a clean mind and body as it is used to keep the uncut hair neat and tidy. He then took us to another room which had a man reading the holy book, when Sikhs enter the room the pray and some leave donations of food.
Next we walked over to the Mosque, where we had to remove our shoes again and cover our heads before we were taken into the prayer room. Here we learnt that when Muslims pray, they do so facing Mecca and that Muslim’s pray five times each day at particular time. Traditionally the people would be called to prayed by a person calling them but now there is a microphone in the mosque and the call is done into that and heard in speakers in peoples houses. Did you know that no matter what the local language is, the call to prayer is always recited in Arabic, the language of the Quran.
We were told that Muslims live by the 5 pillars of Islam:
- Profession of Faith (shahada). The belief that "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God" is central to Islam.
- Prayer (salat). Muslims pray facing Mecca five times a day: at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and after dark. Prayer includes a recitation of the opening chapter (sura) of the Qur'an, and is sometimes performed on a small rug or mat used expressly for this purpose. Muslims can pray individually at any location or together in a mosque, where a leader in prayer (imam) guides the congregation.
- Alms (zakat). Muslims donate a fixed portion of their income to community members in need. Many rulers and wealthy Muslims build mosques, drinking fountains, hospitals, schools, and other institutions both as a religious duty and to secure the blessings associated with charity.
- Fasting (sawm). During the daylight hours of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, all healthy adult Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink. During Ramadan they share the hunger and thirst of the needy as a reminder of the religious duty to help those less fortunate.
Our final stop of the day was at the The Parish Church of All Saints. First, we ate our lunch which had to be vegetarian, and once we had finished eating, we went into the church hall to see all of the amazing features and learn more about the Christian religion. We had some time to explore the church and stand in the pulpit. We then sat on wooden chairs called pews where the lady spoke to us about Christians and their faith. She explained what the different features in the church were used for: the altar is a table where the bread and wine are blessed, the lectern is a stand where the Bible is read from and sermons are delivered from the pulpit. There were crucifix’s all over the church and there were beautiful coloured stained-glass windows showing scenes from the bible and we noticed crosses all over the church.
It was a really interesting day, Lahna thought the day was extraordinary and adventurous because she had never been to a Mosque or a Gurdwara before.
Have a look HERE at some photos from our visit.