It’s 12:30pm, Friday March 21st, 2064. You climb into the passenger seat of my purple BMW TrakPod outside our office tower in Orlando, Florida and we’re headed off to jummah prayer at the Saturn Mosque. Since the climate chaos hit, Orlando’s city center has surpassed frozen old New York’s and the streets are densely packed with buildings and people. I tap the indicator chime and wave hello to Haroun, our office’s gardener who is leaving the grounds on foot, and he yells back a friendly salaam.
The Saturn Mosque is out in the suburbs and we are picking up speed as we pass the city limit. We make minimal small talk besides you thanking me for the ride. It’s no problem, just a practicality since we’re both convert engineers at the same firm who want to get to the same mosque during our lunch break. While on our way, you power down your VRset and store it in your pocket. You fold up the bottom hems of your pant legs a bit.
Up ahead we see the lavender and orange glass hemisphere of the Saturn Mosque rising from the horizon. We cross under the “Saturn’s Rings” monorail bridge which loops around the glass dome mosque, and I pull up to the carposit. We exit the car, which shoots up on the lift and into a spot. I tap my VRset to the ticket code transmitter and power down my device and put it into my bag. I pull my scarf hood over my head, and we walk up to the masjid to the sound of a most beautiful azan and the soothing scent of hydrangea.
The Saturn Mosque is one that was started by the wave of converts from the Sufi outreach. After the surveillance culture of the 2020s, the militant-rationalism, gene-management, and spiritual erasures of the 2030s, the scales tipped in the 2040s. Due to major historical events revealing many realities, people began to fiercely protect their right to be free from “brainfiltration” by advertising, propaganda, and media control. As Americans admitted they had lost too much of themselves, perhaps to themselves, Sufis were there, flowing with peace. Many Americans began to fall in love with true freedom, whose false idol they’d been enslaved to. They had been taught that it was supremely embarrassing to feel anything of God, but they broke down decades of thought control infrastructure, and by the 2060s, there was a very large homegrown Muslim population in America.
The azan was given by a man standing at the top of a minaret next to the saturn dome. His voice was not amplified artificially outside, only it was broadcast inside the mosque, but it carried naturally to the edges of the monorail rings. The monorail made stops at an Islamic school, a magnificent library, the carposit, a social services building where counselling and mental/spiritual healing were available, and the administrative office surrounded by a few halal eateries.
We walked up towards the masjid and admired the way the lavender portion of the swirls in the glass had silver reflective metals in it and the orange glass had golden glitter mixed in it. The reflective particles in fact were what produced all the internal lighting and electricity to the mosque. We communicated that we would meet outside afterwards and went to put our shoes on the womens’ and mens’ shoe shelves. We walked into the enormous glass half sphere that rose out from the ground. It was dazzlingly beautiful inside. I walked towards the womens’ side on the left of the sparse clear strands of fiberoptic lights that formed a wavy multi-height curtain hanging from the dome, so thin it was almost just a glittering glow. It only reached down to the level of my shoulders while standing at some points, and reached down to the level of my shoulders while sitting at other points. I sat where I had a good view of the mihrab where the imam was just starting the khutba. I liked this particular imam and his vast stores of knowledge that made so much sense to me. He also set aside time to talk to anyone who wanted after the prayer, which was nice. The khutba was about how to maximize use of our resources to promote justice for all in the world, not just in America. I wondered what the khutba was about at Haroun’s mosque back in the city.
Haroun walked to Masjid al-Batin, “The Inner Mosque,” which was near the office where he was a gardener and facilities maintenance worker. It was located in the basement of a solar power plant. Mostly inner city dwellers came for prayers here. He was going for jummah now, but he usually went there a few times a day as he was observant of practicing his required worship rituals. Without prayer prioritized above work, family, and his own whims, he would have been just an ordinary fool. During his walk over he covered himself in a large soft dove gray shawl and used his seed prayer beads to plead to, and also exalt the names of Allah; both reaching for, and yet elevating still higher that which he was reaching for. By the time he got to the basement mosque, he was mildly entranced in rapturous love.
He drew his cloak over his head and walked into the non-descript midnight blue door at the bottom of the stairs. By now he had disappeared to himself and was feeling non-self-ish once inside. It was dark inside the plain room, which had no windows aside from a series of ancient lanterns that hung from the ceiling, which had been fitted with small solar bulbs. He smiled at the men and women sitting silently cloaked with their prayer beads and joined them on the featherweave mat. The sound of the azan rose up from one in their midst, quiet, trembling, yet so forceful with conviction the room seemed to blur. Then the tears fell from Haroun’s eyes, and everything was clear.
photo by deviantart.com