A little while ago, we chose to expand our knowledge of Islam. We took a trip to the Jumeirah Mosque, which is the only mosque in Dubai open to non-muslims and one of only two open to non-Muslins in the UAE. (The other is in Abu Dhabi.) They do guided tours a few times a week which I would highly recommend.
The Jumeirah Mosque is built in medieval Fatimid style in 1978 and is a beautiful white stone structure with towering twin minarets framing a large central dome.
Our English guide explained the origins of the religion and its central tenets, the five pillars of Islam:
- declaration of faith (shahada),
- prayer (salah)
- alms giving (zakah)
- fasting (saum) during the month of Ramadan
- pilgrimage (hajj).
Once all of our shoes were off, we entered the mosque and were really surprised and the tranquility and beauty inside. The children were allowed in, provided they were able to behave and we all had to dress modestly, with all women wearing a headscarf.
It was beautifully air-conditioned inside and we sat on the carpet in the centre and believe it or not, the children behaved impeccably (a first). The atmosphere was very calming and we had all of our questions answered about Islam and Islamic society.
By the time the tour was over, both children were dozy and practically asleep. Quite incredible really. On the way out, an elderly man with a very long beard was about to enter.
Oliver looked at him and asked "who is that mummy?" - I don't know I replied.
Oliver looked thoughtful and said "maybe it's God".