Volume 28, Number 2


When the worshippers entered the prayer room from the cold and snowy dusk, the first thing they noticed was a winding trail in the center of the green and gold carpeting. 

A few trees were on one side of the room and in the nook from which the Imam usually led prayer a lovely waterfall cascaded down the wall and emptied into a clear, singing stream winding its way towards the women’s area to the west.

Several people went to the stream to take their ablutions because surely this was what it had appeared for. A few others came into the room and followed suit, a bit surprised but calmed by the scent of cedar and pine emanating from the trees. 

A deer wandered in and gazed at the devotees quietly moving through their supplications. They had begun the voluntary extra prayers one offers after entering the sacred space.

Eventually the call to prayer began with the stream tinkling accompaniment to the beautiful chant; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar—God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest,
Hiya ala al-salah, Hiya ala al-falah—Hurry to the prayer, Hurray to salvation.…

A bird who flew in and landed on a branch near the stream seemed to be listening and when the adhan was finished the room fell silent as the congregants stood up and began to form their straight lines for prayer.

Just before the prayer began, the east wall opened and a huge field of red poppies expanded before the worshippers. They never heard the first shots ring out because they were already walking through the fragrant field, overwhelmed by the staggering blue sky above them.

—Khadija Anderson