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Religion & Theology
Research Paper
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A Visit to a Sunni Rizvi Jamia Masjid Mosque in Jersey City (Research Paper Sample)


Format: MLA Format Required
Content: Field research and supplementary research
Include Your Works Cited Page
Double –Spaced, 12-Pt Font, Arial Or Times New Roman Font
Sources: 3 Academic Sources Minimum
Works Cited Page required
The final copy of the Site Visit should include a works cited page that DOES NOT include Wikipedia (or any other encyclopedic web sites), all of the research you completed as related to all rituals, symbols, and theology as well as the information from the actual site visit. 
Full details below:
(1) For the Site Visit, the student must perform field research by attending a religious service outside of their own religious tradition. For this assignment, I’d like you to immerse yourself in something unfamiliar (example: Christians should perform field research on a non-Christian religion, like Buddhism, Hinduism etc.)
Your research should ideally progress in three stages:
(A) Preliminary Research. Before going to the service, it is a good idea to do some preliminary research on the religious tradition. For example, if you’re attending a Hindu ceremony, you will want to read the textbook chapter and watch the PowerPoint presentation on Hinduism. Additionally, I strongly recommend that you call the site you’ll be visiting and let them know you’re coming to do research for a class project. Ask them if there’s any dress code requirements, or anything else you should keep in mind. You may also want to ask if they will allow you to take notes during the service. (Some Jewish denominations, for example, do not allow writing on Shabbat {Saturday}.)
(B) Field Research. Attend the service and observe closely. You may want to take notes. Some students have found it helpful to attend services in groups, and you’re welcome to do this. 
(C) Supplementary research. After your visit, you’ll need to do research on things that may have been unfamiliar to you. If you go to a Jewish service and you see the men wearing kippahs (or yarmulkes), you don’t want to write in your essay, “There were these men and they were wearing these funny hats but I don’t know why.” This is where your additional research comes in. Find out what the hats are called, and find out why they’re worn. If you go to a Muslim mosque and you see the worshippers washing their hands and feet, you don’t want to write in your essay, “Everyone was washing their hands and feet but I don’t know why they did that and it was pretty weird.” Research the practice and find out why it’s done.
Finally, after completing these three stages, write a detailed and insightful essay. You should demonstrate a general understanding of the religious tradition, but make most of your essay about your visit. Use your research to explain your experience. What did you see around you? What did the place of worship look like? Did you see any religious art or religious symbols there? How were people dressed? What rituals were performed? Finally, include your personal reaction to the service. How did you respond? Did you enjoy the visit or did you feel uncomfortable? Was your opinion on the religion changed at all?
At the top of your paper, please include the name of the place you visited, the date you visited, and the names of any people you may have interviewed. Also include the particular sect of the religion. [If you visited a Muslim mosque, was it Sunni or Shi’ite? If you visited a Jewish synagogue, was it Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform? If you visited a Buddhist temple, was it Theravadan or a Mahayana sect?] You may want to ask this when you call to find out if you visit is acceptable.


Course title:
A Visit to a Sunni Muslim Mosque
Place visited: Sunni Rizvi Jamia Masjid mosque in Jersey City, New Jersey
Date of visitation: 20th January 2016
Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. The 2001 census recorded 1,591,000 Muslims in the UK, which was about 2.7% of the population (BBC). The word Islam means submission to the will of God. According to Possamai et al., about 600,000 Muslims resided in New York City 10 years ago which 7.5% of the city’s population (254). To understand the Islamic religion, I had to visit a Muslim mosque where I learnt various issues pertaining to the religion. This paper highlights the history of Islamic religion and narrates the experience i had during my visit to a Sunni mosque.
History of the Islamic Religion
It is believe that Islam was discovered over 1400years ago in the city of Mecca, Arabia. Prophet Muhammad revealed this religion to humanity (BBC). The followers of this religion are known as Muslims, who believe in only one God call Allah in Arabic. The Muslim faith is guided by a holy book known as the Qur’an.
Muslims diet is restricted to some extent because food such as pork products, dead meat, blood, and alcohol are prohibited. Mian & Muhammad note that though these prohibitions are based on Quranic guidance, there have been scientific attempts in justify them (57). For example, alcohol and other intoxicants are harmful to the nervous system and they affect senses and human judgment, which in many cases lead to social problems. Swine are vectors for pathogenic worms that enter human body. The restricted foods are termed as haram. Halal foods that acceptable are produced the same way as ordinary foods except that there are some requirements that must be met. For example, meat that is allowed has to be from an animal that was slaughtered by a Muslim, who makes sure that the head of the animal is facing Mecca (Mian & Muhammad, 18). In addition, the person must utter a prayer before making a swift, deep cut that goes through the throat, carotid artery, and jugular vein. The prayer must be recited for every animal that is being slaughtered. Blood must then be drained from the animal’s veins before the head is completely separated from the body. The Qur’an guides and dictates what food is halal or haram and these are adhered to as divine orders.
My Experience in a Mosque
My Muslim friend, Ahmed, and I visited the Sunni Rizvi Jamia Masjid mosque in Jersey City, New Jersey on Wednesday at around 12.10 in the afternoon for prayers (salat). Salat is the compulsory Muslim prayers performed five times daily. This was after the muezzin made a loud call for prayer (adhan) through the loudspeakers place strategically in all minarets. The muezzin stands at the top of a minaret calling Muslims to prayer. A minaret is a tall, thin tower that stands on the mosque. Ahmed explained that calling all Muslims to come to prayer sets the rhythm of the day as it provides an accurate prayer schedule. This always happens during the five-set prayer times in a day. The official daily prayers are conducted at dawn before sunrise (Salat al-fajr), midday, after the sun passes its highest (Salat al-zuhr), the late part of the afternoon (Salat al-'asr), just after sunset (Salat al-maghrib) and between sunset and midnight (Salat al-'isha). This ritual prayer is one of the Five Pillar...
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