|A Tour of The Mosque|
Ahlan Wa Sahalan - Welcome!
Every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday, at 10.00 am in the morning, tourists and residents gather outside the ornate Jumeirah Mosque for a conducted tour of the mosque and a better understanding of Islam. Organised by The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, a non-profit organization, the purpose of the tour and the Centre itself, is to bring down the barriers between different cultural groups residing in the UAE.
Note : No prior booking is needed. (The tel no is : 00 9714 3536666). You will have to assemble at the rear of the mosque (Jumeirah Mosque) at 10.00am on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday (every week).
10AED per person, photos welcome, kids must be aged 5+,dress code is conservative & respectful including arms & legs fully covered, ladies to wear a headscarf, no interpreters allowed, (private VIP tours avail upon request, where interpreters are welcome).
Ladies need to be covered - long skirts/trousers, long sleeves, hat/scarf for the head. Gentlemen need to wear trousers - Tshirt or shirt and not a vest. You need to take off your shoes before entering the mosque. Information about Islam is put up at the rear of the mosque. From mid-september onwards, the tour is conducted twice a week on Sunday and Thursday. The tour lasts approx. for an hour and a half and the good news is photography is allowed!
The Arabic word for mosque is `masjid', i.e. place of prostration. The holy day of the Islamic week is Friday, `yaum al jum'a', on which day all adult Muslim men are commanded to go to the mosque for prayer (women can perform their prayers at home). The mosque where Muslims gather especially for the Friday prayer is the `masjid jum'a', the Grand Mosque.
- Qibla wall, the wall, which faces Mecca, as this is the direction (qibla), which a Muslim has to face while he is praying.
- Mihrab, prayer niche in the center of the qibla wall indicating the exact praying direction. It is also the `holiest' place in the mosque.
- Minbar, a pulpit/platform to the right of the mihrab from where the `imam', the one who leads the prayer, delivers the `khutba', the Friday sermon, which can deal with religious, social and political subjccts.
- In Islam it is forbidden to create any pictures of living beings (except plants), which could be worshipped. Accordingly, it is very rare to find pictures in mosques at all. Instead, the interior is usually decorated with rich ornamental patterns and Arabic calligraphy.
Before entering the mosque for prayer, the ritual cleansing (wudu') has to be performed. It starts with washing the right and left hand (3x), then the mouth (3x), the nose (3x), the face (3x), the right and left arm (3x), the head, the ears, and finally the right and left foot (3x).
Islam is based on five principles, called the "five Pillars of Islam", (Arkan Al Islami), which every Muslim has to follow:
- Declaration of Faith (shahada), which says (in translation): "I declare that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger." With this declaration the Muslim testifies that there is only one God, Allah, and nothing else is worshipped beside Him. It also means that the revelation through the Prophet Muhammad and his guidance are the only sources of guidance far any Muslim. Theoretically, everybody who repeats the shahada three times is a Muslim.
- Prayer (salah) must be performed five times a day, between dawn and sunrise (Fajr), noon till mid afternoon (Zuhr), mid-afternoon till sunset (Asr), between sunset and darkness (Maghrib), and after darkness has set in (Isha). Beside these obligatory prayers, Muslims can perform personal prayers (du'a) at any occasion, and they are also recommended to perform special Friday prayers, Eid prayers etc. The prayer is the means to express one's devotion, surrender to Allah and to gain insight into one's own soul. Muslims are called to prayer by the mu'athhin from the minaret of the mosque.
- Alms giving (zakah) is obligatory to any Muslim. Modern practice is that Muslims give a minimum of 2.5% of their yearly savings to the poor and needy. These could be either members of their own family, charity organizations or governmental institutions, which distribute further. Beside the obligatory charity Muslims are also recommended to do voluntary alms giving (sadaqa).
- Fasting (saum) during the month of Ramadan is done as a demonstration of love and obedience to Allah, following His command. It is also meant to strengthen willpower and restrain the Muslim from physical desires. While fasting, Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or have sexual intercourse, from the break of dawn till sunset. Persons who are not capable of fasting because they are too old, sick, traveling or women being in a state of impurity, i.e. during their menstruation, have to make up the days later on. The fasting is broken on the first day of the following month, with the Feast of Fast-breaking (Eid-Al-Fitr). It is also obligatory to perform the charity of fast-breaking (sadaqat-al-fitr) which means giving alms in forms of food or money to the poor during Eid Al Fitr. Beside the obligatory fasting additional fasting days are also recommended. The last ten nights of Ramadan have a special importance as the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet on one of these nights, accordingly these nights are considered to be very holy and more prayers are spoken during these nights.
- Pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca and the Holy Stone (Ka'aba) once in the lifetime is a duty, which every Muslim who has the means and is capable must perform. Hajj is performed from the 8th to the 13th day of Thu-l-Hijja, the last month of the Islamic calendar. In order to perform the hajj the Muslim first has to enter the state of consecration (ihram) by passing the border of Mecca and putting on the ihram dress, consisting of two sheets, which cover the body. In the state of ihram one is forbidden to hunt, use perfume, cut or shave body hair, cut toe and fingernails or have sexual intercourse. It follows a fixed ritual, which takes six days. The `small' pilgrimage (Umrah) is not obligatory and mainly includes a visit to the Ka'aba and may be performed at any time of the year or together with the hajj.
If you have any further questions, you can contact us under:
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
UAE - Dubai
or Email Us