Mosque excursions in the UAE

I have lived in the UAE for 6 years.

I have been inside a mosque and prayed twice.

Yes that is terrible when you are living in a Muslim country and surrounded by mosques but hey in my defence I have reasons!!

OK I am lazy and not the best Muslim girl when it comes to going to the mosque to pray. However, there are occasions when I have tried…

1.              Jumeirah Beach Road Mosque – Attempt 1

I was five hours late for the prayers – who knew that there was only one EId prayer rather than several like in the UK. I went to meet friends.

2.              Jumeirah Beach Road Mosque – Attempt 2

I was four hours late (I forgot the one prayer time rule). I thought hee-ho I might as well as pray as I’m here. The woman’s entry was locked. I asked the Indian gatekeepers why it was locked and if I could go inside to pray. The men told me I could only go into the mosque at visiting times with the other tourists. I explained (without swearing) that I wasn’t a tourist and that nobody should be stopped from praying in a mosque.

They walked off.

I swore in the car.

3.              Sheikh Zayed Mosque – Abu Dhabi

This was a blogwritable episode but been too busy or frustrated to write about it, but in brief these were the ridiculous events:

a.          Walking towards the amazing magnificent courtyard, as usual the shyla (headscarf) was not staying where it was supposed to (fully on my head) and I was also trying to find my friend. I hadn’t even got to the first set of pillars when this security guard started yelling at me like I was a dog, telling me to cover my head. My head was covered just the shyla wasn’t wrapped around tightly.   I tutted talked to my friend on phone and then walked up to the security guard. I gave him a mouthful of venom then walked to meet my friend.

b.          At the front entrance of the main sanctum of the mosque – whilst wearing my abaya which had a split mid way down but underneath I was wearing non tight jeans – a Malaysian looking woman/staff tells me I can’t go in as I’m not covered up! I was wearing more than I do when I wear a shalwa khamez to my local mosque in Kent! I told her that I was Muslim and knew how to dress appropriately to enter a mosque. She told me to hold the split to prevent showing of non-tight jeans. I grumbled and walked in.

Spent a while walking around and looking at the amazing inside of the sanctum with friend. After a while I decided that I should go say 2 rakat knamaz so asked two lovely Emirati staff members to explain where the ablution (wudu) facilities were.

c.           Ablution/Wudu facilities in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque are beyond amazing. I have never seen anything so spectacular. If you do anything go to see this bit of the mosque! The cleaning woman was also a doll and gave me some tissues to dry myself. My faith in mosque visits was returning….

d.          Walked up to the other side of the mosque to go the ladies section to pray. It is not clear where the ladies section is so walking with my flip flops on and I was in the area u can wear shoes, I walked up to a man and woman at one door to ask where the entrance was. The man told me that the entrance was just behind him and then yelled at me to take off my shoes. You have to bear in mind that I) I didn’t know that was the bloody entrance ii) I was standing in the courtyard area in the middle of a 50 degree summer iii) I would have taken off the shoes once I knew where I was supposed to pray iv) I wasn’t in the prayer area but outside where you can still wear shoes!

After calming down and praying the two rakat I found friend and we both decided it was best to leave before either one of us explodes (he was not amused either).

So end result, finally went in a mosque in UAE, prayed and nearly beat up a few people. Great moment in my life.

4. Al Fattam Mosque – Al Thanya Street, Dubai

Today is Eid Al-Adha. My lovely friend knows my uselessness at getting to a mosque to pray Eid knamaz so forewarned me to get up at 6 for knamaz at 6.50. I woke up, I dressed, I drove to mosque (its one minute away from home) and the car park was empty. This car park is never empty for Juma knamaz. In fact people park on Sheikh Zayed Road that’s how full this mosque gets. So I thought it was weird but…

I went into the mosque. There were four women in the women section (we have a lift to get to our floor – how bloody awesome is that!!) and one man downstairs (husband of one woman). I did my two rakat to the mosque and then waited….

There was no imam (priest), no words before the knamaz. It was silent. It was eerily silent. At 6.50 us women started to talking to each other. I started tweeting to check I wasn’t losing my marbles. At 7am us women walked out of the mosque.

Its not like this mosque is small. It’s massive! It’s so loud that when the imam is in one of his loud moods the house vibrates while he prays. Its like we are in Snoop Dogg’s car bouncing in the garden. Seriously.

Great start to the day!

A kind tweeter has told me I can contact a mosque committee/association for the UAE called Awqaf to tell them that my mosque didn’t do Eid prayers. I am going to complain. If a girl as useless me gets up to do Eid knamaz in her massive next door mosque she should be able to do it!

Anyway the thought was there.

Eid Mubarak all xx

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