The Abuja National Mosque
I have been fascinated by Islamic architecture ever since I spent time in Kwara State. The domes, the spires, the doors and the intricate details in the decorations all come together in the most enthralling manner. I don’t subscribe to organized religion, but I do appreciate some of the marvels that represent them and so I couldn’t leave the city without visiting the National Mosque.
My friends were busy that day so it was a solo adventure. I booked a Bolt trip at about 6pm so I could catch the glow of the golden hour, an excellent decision. The mosque grounds were a soft bronze shade and the gold details had an elegant lustre.
Can anyone visit a Mosque?
A lot of people think you’re not supposed to enter mosques if you aren't Muslim, but it’s a place of worship and everyone is welcome. You only need to abide by the rules so I have put together a small guide for when you visit.
Clothing: Everyone must wear modest, loose-fitting clothes that show very little skin. For women, a scarf could be worn especially in the prayer hall. Avoiding bright colors and heavy perfume is good too.
Prayer hall etiquette: Take off your shoes before you entering. Be quiet and don't sit facing Mecca (carpets and roofs typically show you which way Mecca is) and don't take pictures of people without permission.
Interacting: Muslims will greet you by saying "Salam alaikum" which is Arabic for "Peace be with you" and the response is "Wa alaikum salam" which means "And peace be upon you".
Exploring: If you want to wander around, it's better to do so when prayers are not happening. Muslims pray 5 times a day so do a little research to find out the best times for this.
The mosque is quite grand and as I walked around the grounds, I observed people in quiet reverence and it gave me a sense of peace. I observed the detailing in the doors, particularly the main entrance. The door was massive and had the same golden finish as the dome. There was also a green cubic design and some Arabic calligraphy that lined it; some of my most favorite details.
I had learnt that every mosque has unique ceiling designs and this was no different. It had an interesting, compass-like design and gives a spellbinding effect when you look up at it.
Islamic architecture borrows ideas and concepts from both secular and religious styles from the earliest periods of Islam to the modern day and so every building is unique.
Nigeria is a mix of all kinds of people. We have religious and tribal differences but these are not things worth clashing over. I think learning about other tribes and other religions is a good way to start mending some of the destructive ideologies that have taken deep root in our system. What do you guys think?
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