Friday, April 05, 2013

Understanding Islam at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

            I spend the last 10 months of life living as an OFW here in the middle east, specifically in the capital of United Arab Emirates, which is Abu Dhabi. Living in a first world country is a little bit challenging for me, I have to adapt the environment as fast as possible to be able for me to survive and to adjust to the new life. I have to make new friends, to familiarize on the streets, modes of transportation, entertainment hub, etc.

           Yes, I have so much to explore here in Abu Dhabi, but because of my work, it's hard for me to go anywhere I want to. As of the moment I've only been to Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum and Mt. Jebel Hafeet, both in Al Ain.

            United Arab Emirates is a muslim country, some of my friends from Philippines and Singapore are afraid to apply jobs here why? Because they said that their parents will not allow them because this is a muslim country, I will not mention some examples but you know what I'm trying to say. If only, they know or have an idea how disciplined the people here.

              Moving on, Islam is the second largest religion in the world,  they believe that our existence here in the world is to love and to serve god or "Allah" and their house of worship is called Mosque. Here in UAE mosque are scattered everywhere, literally. Almost every block you can see a mosque, and 5 time a day you can hear a loud prayer which they called, Fajr, an early morning prayer, Dhuhr, noon prayer, Asr, between noon and sunset prayer, Maqrib, Sunset prayer and Isha, night prayer.

             Interesting isn't it? Copy paste from wikipedia? Nope.

           A couple of weeks ago i spend my day off to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque  in Abu Dhabi, the 3rd largest mosque in the world. To be honest, I only came here to take some photos to upload on my facebook wall and to share it here on my blog, then while browsing it's website I found something that is priceless that I can treasure forever, a free tour around the mosque.

           The Mosque is named after the UAE's founding father the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. They started to build the mosque in the year 1996 finished and opened to public in 2007. Architectures, Interior designers and Engineers from different parts of the world gathers to build this huge and elegant mosque. 

         The main 3 domes of the mosque looks like the domes of Taj Mahal in India isn't it? and the 82 small domes around the mosque is Mughal design. The pillars around were palm tree design, which is middle eastern, the 745 arches were Moroccan inspired, the floral design that scattered around the mosque were a combination of Islamic Architecture and Modern Architecture. 

         The mosque is open to the public from Saturday to Thursday from 9 am to 10 pm and at Friday  is from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm but it is closed on praying times, and the tour schedule are

                        Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 am, 11:00 am and 5:00pm
                        Saturday : 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm
                        Friday: 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. 


            The mosque's visitor were divided into a small groups, and guided by an Emirati tour guide. Our guide's name is Majid, wearing a "Kandura", a white dress for male. He shares his knowledge, love and humors to us as we walk around the mosque. 

           At first, I feel a little bit awkward while together with the group, not because i'm alone, i'm used to it. But because I'm the only Asian in it, the rest of the group were from France, London, Germany and other European countries.

Everyone were asked to remove their footwear before entering to the main hall of the mosque.
             At the entrance, the clock made from pearl and stainless steel will catches your attention. The timings will show the prayer times of the day.


The biggest chandelier inside the mosque, made from gold and swarovski crystals, weighing around 12 tons.

Carpets were made from Mashad, Iran.  Hand-made for 2 years and made from wool and cotton.

              The best time to visit the mosque is from 6:00 pm onwards, while the sun sets, why??? because of this

               I love to travel, in a group or even alone, and this solo trip with my camera educates me to understand and to respect what Islam is. Yes, I admit I have a huge fear or negative outlook on what is it, but as time goes by, I can say that they don't deserve to have a treatment from other nationalities or other people with different beliefs or practices. 


      Done exploring the mosque. Next destination, Desert Safari.
                      More Photos here


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