to help you discover the God you already know

One True God

I recently travelled to Morocco to visit my daughter who lives in Casablanca. Six years ago she converted to Islam, and has settled amazingly well into her spiritual home. In our family we’ve always known her as Kate – a spirited, not always easy human being to live with! She has changed her name to Maryam Kate, and with that change of name has come an amazing transformation. Maryam means ‘beloved’ – which she is; it also carries a sense of ‘rebellious’ – which she was, and I guess can still be, but in a much nicer and kinder way!

Anyway, during my stay we set out to visit a local souk, and passed one of Maryam’s neighbourhood mosques just as the muezzin was calling the faithful to midday prayer. “Do you mind if I go and pray, Dad?” No, of course not. Look, there’s a chair there by the gate; I’ll wait here for you. “Thanks. I’ll just check it’s OK with the caretaker.” A conversation ensues in Dārija, the local form of Arabic spoken in Morocco. Maryam has managed to learn it well enough to understand and be understood most of the time! “He says no, you must come in Dad! Follow him; he’ll look after you. I’ll go to the Sisters’ entrance.”

I duly follow this upright gentleman dressed in grey kaftan and topi. His smile is warm and welcoming. He offers me a bag for my sandals, and shows me where to put them. I assume he will sit me unobtrusively at the back. But no, he beckons me towards a chair at the far edge of the vast hall, picks it up and beckons me forward. He places it at the far end of the front row, invites me to sit on it, and bows slightly and graciously.

As I sit in silent prayer to my God other men come alongside me, either spreading their prayer mat before them, or taking a few tissues from the boxes provided on which to rest their heads when prostrating. I am aware that I find the rhythm of their prayer calming and helpful: standing, bowing, kneeling, prostrating – with the barely audible murmur of words learnt by heart at madrasa.

I am also aware that I am completely comfortable in that space, where I am drawn close to holiness. I find it an utterly authentic, spiritual experience praying – albeit in a different way – alongside these devoted men. And I find it impossible to believe we are praying to different Gods.

If there is one true God, then there can surely be only one true God. As we Christians say, ‘Hallelujah!’, and as Muslims say, ‘Alhamdullilah!’


  1. Mike Catling

    I find this a touching story both concerning your daughter and the hospitality and welcome shown to you at the mosque. Indeed, in such a sacred space why should we not expect to find an authentic God Presence. How wonderful that you have such an open mind and heart to receive the blessing offered. I wonder if I could be the same as you in such a situation.

    • Paul Booth

      Thank you Mike. I haven’t met you, but feel an affinity with you through our mutual friend Henry!

  2. Helen Yates

    Thank you for sharing your experience! Some years ago, I travelled to Morocco with the Ramblers. On a Sunday when we were walking on a track at the foot of a hill, below was a courtyard where women were baking bread….a mother asked her daughter to take a piece of bread to us. The daughter ran up to where we were. She broke a piece of bread, put it in her mouth, then passed the remaining bread to me with a gesture that I too should take a piece of bread! To this day, that is the most meaningful Eucharist to me.

    • Paul Booth

      Thank you Helen. What a wonderful story, and a never-to-be-forgotten experience for you – and her!

  3. Christine Vaicekauskas

    What a wonderful experience, Paul; a truly God given blessing, both for you and for Maryam xx

    • Paul Booth

      Thank you Christine. Shalom! x

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