A group of us from U3A visited the Masjid Abu Bakr (Masjid means Mosque) in St Marys, Southampton. St Marys boasts three mosques within 150 yards of each other. This one caters for 1000 of the 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide.
Why would a group of elderly Christians visit a mosque, particularly in times like these? All of us were brought up in the Christian tradition, some practising, some C of E by default, some, like the author, with no religious belief and others hovering between – the agnostics. Curiosity united us. We were invited to remove our shoes and the ladies covered their hair.
We were met by the ‘verger’ who explained the five pillars of Islam; the obligatory rituals and practices of all Muslims. The Shahada – the creed “I bear witness that there is no deity but God…” equivalent to the Apostles’ Creed. Salah – the practice of prayer, five times a day while facing Mecca. Zakat – almsgiving, set at 2.5% of what you have remaining after meeting your household expenses. Sawm – fasting during the month of Ramadan and, finally, the Hajj – a pilgrimage to Mecca to be made once in a lifetime by all who can afford it. [Read more…] about The Mosque