We had driven past the mosque along the express sometime in the past and its magnificent structure beckoned to my eyes….
We had no idea that we could visit as non-Muslims, but following inquiries we were duly informed of the visiting hours and the required observations.
We earmarked a day to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
A lot of people may not know this, but the Grand Mosque was started as a vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was known for adopting a tolerant version of Islamic faith and for staying far away from fanaticism or extremism.
He imagined a place of worship that would help people come together. To understand Islam and to see it as a religion that has a message of peace, tolerance and diversity.
A leisurely 2 hour drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi; with pit stops made at gas stations for a run to the loo (when you have children with you, prepare your mind for such incidentals) and to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s or Starbucks coffee and donuts.
We had eaten before leaving, yet an expedition has a way of rousing the nibbling juices.
It was blazing hot! Around 41 degrees Celsius if my guess was correct, but thankfully, there are shaded areas as you walk to the location where you have to obtain a compulsory ”Abaya” for the ladies before venturing into the mosque.
There were bus loads of tourists queued to acquire one, but the process is swift and efficient. They had loads and loads of Abaya! Soon we were on our way.
The shiny starkness of the white marbled building that literally glinted in the sun left me bereft of words to describe my thoughts.
We had to leave our footwear in a sea of footwear a mile long at least and walked into the mosque which was refreshingly cool.
I observed that the marble flooring outside the mosque, which I had expected would be baking hot was cool. It must have had some sort of cooling system because our feet did not roast!
The splendour! The magnificence and the entire experience was sublime.
It stole one’s breath away and pulled at the inner chords of warmth and peace deep within you.
It left the heart feeling full and at rest.
I realized that, we all, are on the same quest for the same thing which is centered on Love, Peace and Acceptance, even though peoples means of arriving at that destination differs.
I think that the confusion lies in our minds as faulty humans and not in the hands of God. Our genetic make up does not have any religion stamped on it. We are first created humans before anything else!
Allah Akbar means God is greater than anything else on Earth and that is not debatable! A Muslim enters the ritual of prayer and divine presence after uttering Allah Akbar. It is akin to the sign of the Cross made by Catholics and I am Catholic!
Indeed, God is the Greatest! God does not promote violence or lies!
P.S. Unfortunately some of the videos that I took are not uploading and my pictures don’t do justice to the Mosque!
In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 13 Assignment: compose a series of vignettes. I am doubtful about my take on the assignment, but if the Truth be told, I am leaving it as it is.