Posted by: Waheeda Harris | October 4, 2013

TGIF in Dubai

For a lot of the planet, Friday signifies the end of the work week, the beginning of the weekend and the anticipation of time off. But for the Muslim world, and especially the Middle East, Friday is the sabbath, and a day to come together in faith.

In Dubai, the Grand Jumeirah Mosque, which is part of the Sheikh Muhammad Centre for Cultural Understanding, opens its doors six days a week (except Fridays) to welcome non-Muslims:

UAE - Dubai Jumeirah mosque

This mosque is an elegant and simple structure by Dubai standards, but it shows exactly what its supposed to be – a place of worship for anyone who wants to come:

UAE - Dubai Jumeirah mosque entrance

Typically surrounded by marble floors and carved wood doors, the Grand Jumeirah Mosque shows the typical style of using natural materials in unique artistic creativity. Islam forbids the depiction of people in its art, believing it equals idolatry. So instead, Islamic art focuses on geometrics, mosaics, florals and unique patterns in its decoration.

mosque 3

And one of the hallmarks of the Middle East – a stunning chandelier in the centre of the mosque ceiling, which even in a place where the sun is a bright daily addition, light is a fixation.  And for the area around the mihrab at the front of the mosque, there’s elegant and yet simple adornment, using excerpts of Koranic scripture as art:

UAE - Dubai Jumeirah mosque mihrab

And typically throughout a mosque, there are bookcases with korans for anyone to borrow while within the walls:

UAE - Dubai Jumeirah mosque bookcase

For this day in Dubai, there is a quiet over the city, a sign of the numerous people who aren’t at work, but also a sign of that contemplation that faith instills in believers – to take a moment to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

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