The mid-day service at the mosque at Bellevue Hospital comes with an encouraging word from Imam Shamsi Ali for Ramadan.
“When we live our lives as a good Muslim, we are living our lives as a good human being,” said Ali.
The hospital’s Muslim community is grateful to finally have a mosque that meets their needs and a full-time imam to offer spiritual guidance during the holy month and beyond.
“It’s a respite, a place to come and sit together,” said Omar Abedalrhman, chief nursing officer.
“As you know, Muslims pray five times daily, so in this mosque we have daily services,” said Ali, adding, “but also now in the month of Ramadan, in addition to the Friday prayer, we have nightly prayer.”
Each Friday night there’s also Iftar, a dinner to serve those breaking their daily fast. According to Abedalrhman, it was a labor of love to create a place of worship that many staff and visitors have come to rely on. It’s also an improvement from the former space the hospital designated as a mosque.
“When I came here, really we had a small prayer room, and this room was with one door even for male and female. It’s important for us to have separate doors” explained Abedalrhman, who worked with hospital administration to invest in the spiritual care service offerings, creating a mosque on par with the various sacred spaces here that cater to other faith communities.
“If you walk around you see the church and the synagogue, huge, nice, beautiful and I think, let’s make it complete,” said Abedalrhman.
“Here in this hospital, the interfaith connection is very real,” said Ali, which is fitting at a time when Muslims focus on strengthening their faith and connection to community.
“I think it’s very important to remind one another that we have to build a sense of optimism and hope, but at the same time to be closer to one another,” said Ali.