A mosque is Muslims’ place of worship
You might know, Christians worship at church and Jewish people worship in synagogues. But did you know that those who follow the religion of Islam are called Muslims and their place of worship is called a mosque?
Muslims believe in the God, Allah and the Islamic holy book is called the Qur’an. The very first mosque, masjid was located at the Prophet Muhammad's home in Medina, Saudi Arabia back in the 7th century. But today there are many mosques throughout the world and the United States alone, is home to over 2000 mosques!
You might recognize a mosque from the large dome or domes on its roof. This is called the qubba and the tall tower is called the minaret. When it’s time to pray, a man signs a holy song from the minaret known as, the call to prayer. The sahn is a special courtyard attached to the mosque, where people can meet up and worshippers can wash before praying. Some mosques may even have soup kitchens and schools and other community facilities attached to them, because giving to the poor is an important part of being a Muslim.
The prayer hall, musalla inside the mosque is very big so that lots of people can sit down together and pray. Often, these are beautiful and colorful and walls may be decorated with writing from the holy book. Carpets and rugs are patterned and lamps of silver and gold hang down low. An important niche in the wall, the mihrab shows everyone which way to face because Muslims pray toward the holy city of Mecca.
How do people pray?
Muslims pray five times daily. Before prayer women cover their hair and neck with a scarf and wear loose clothing and all Muslims wash and make sure they look neat and tidy. Whether at home or in the mosque, the ritual of Wudhu must be performed, whereby the right and then the left hands are washed, three times.
Friday noon prayers are the most important prayers of the week and all men must try to attend the sermon, which is carried out by the Iman. Ladies can also attend, though they usually pray in a separate area to the men and it’s more common for them to pray at home.
Worshippers inside the prayer hall sit in rows. Lines of men pray behind the Iman, children sit behind the men and women sit at the back. This traditional line order is also the same for when families pray together at home.
Your special place?
Do you have a special place that you go to, either to pray, read a book or just sit quietly? Having such a space is important for all of us, as it allows our minds to quieten down and help us see things more clearly.
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)