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Religions Field Trip


Advait Singh | Period 2A


Instead of doing an infographic, I decided to do something a little more creative: a quiz! After answering a question correctly, you will see an explanation with evidence and commentary regarding the answer choice. I hope to showcase that there were not only many differences between the Hanuman Temple and the Plano Masjid, but also many similarities as well! Have your sound on for best experience (make sure it's not too loud though :))

Yes, there were at least a few similarities

There were no similarities.

Through your observations, do you think the iconography of the Hanuman temple and the Plano Masjid have similarities?


There were many similarities between the Plano Masjid and the Hanuman Temple, one of which being the fonts and languages these places of worship utilized in their signage, which both showcased syncretism. Even though Texas, particularly Dallas, is not the original home of Muslims or Hindus, there are many abundant Islamic communities in America, especially due to large-scale migrations in recent years because of economic opportunity. This causes both places of worship to adapt differently to their respective communities. The Plano Masjid, for instance, used an Anglo-Islamic font in their basketball court, which combined Arabic calligraphy and English letters. This allowed all Muslims to understand the text, even those who know English more than Arabic, fostering a sense of community (which is important in Islamic culture). Similarly, there were a multitude of Indian languages in the Hanuman Temple’s signage, including English. Not only does this indicate the syncretism of cultures, but it also reflects how many distinct, respective Indian communities come together in this one place, even though they speak many different languages, also reflecting cooperation. Overall, both the mosque and the temple reflected similar patterns of syncretism, which reflected their larger worldviews of community and cooperation.

Note: I couldn't find any images of what I talked about. Sorry!

There were no obvious differences.

There were some differences.

Even though there were a few similarities, were there any differences?


There were quite a few differences, as the next questions will explore.

Yes, there were a few.


Were there any artworks or icons with humans in the mosque?


Islamics believe in shirk. Shirk is an Islamic sin which states that praying to idols and gods other than Allah is a sin. This belief developed as they thought that if idols were introduced, people wouldn’t be putting their full focus on the one true god, which is Allah. This is the reason why there were no artworks in the mosque that featured humans; they believe that over hundreds of years, idolatry will eventually develop. For instance, instead of humanistic artwork, the masjid had an abundance of calligraphic and geometric art. Due to these beliefs about idolatry and art, Islamic artists adapted and create more calligraphic and geometric art, which is why there is such an abundance of this within the mosque. The geometric patterns of Islamic art contrast Hindu art, which will be explored in the next question.

Yes, there were a few.


Were there any artworks or icons with humans in the temple?


Contrary to Islam, Hindus pray to idols, and they often have iconography and artworks with humans/human-like figures in them. Hindus believe that all objects contain divine energy; they believe that idols are to help people connect with Brahma. Therefore, they don’t pray to the idols themselves; it is just a tool to help them connect. This can be seen throughout the humanistic depictions of gods in Hinduism. For example, the Hanuman Temple not only included numerous paintings of human-like figures, but also many different monolithic human-like sculptures (which represented Hindu gods) and iconography. Thus, this evidence showcases how Hindus don’t see idols as a sin like Muslims do. This was one difference that was in the mosque and the temple; the mosque had more geometric, calligraphic art, while the temple had much more detailed iconography of humans and human-like figures, which is due to both of the religions’ belief systems.

Yes, completely.


Do Hindus believe in idolatry?

It's complicated.


Hindus don't actually believe in praying TO idols. They believe that all objects, including idols, have divine energy, and idols can thus help worshipers connect to God a little more easily.


You've completed the quiz! I hope you learned more about the worship communities in the DFW area.


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