My Visit To Dubai’s Jumeirah Mosque

Located in the concrete filled coastal residential area of Jumeriah, the mosque’s elegant ornamentation and greenery makes it stick out.

Dubai is filled with mosques.  Nevertheless, all but one of Dubai’s many mosques are closed to non-Muslims.  The beautiful Jumeirah Mosque isn’t just open to non-Muslims, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding gives free tours of it.   After a nice visit to the Centre the previous day (highly recommended), I had to do it.

Muslims wash before praying so in Dubai you see wash stations outside mosques.  You also see bidets in bathrooms (and even hoses next to toilets) to make washing feet easier.  It makes sense to clean before entering a mosque as Muslims touch their heads and hands to the ground while praying.

Shoe’s aren’t allowed inside mosques.  I left my shoes at the door.  Although the cat in the background kept trying to sneak into the air-conditioning, cats aren’t allowed inside mosques either.

Even though it was 48 degrees Celsius (118.8 fahrenheit), I covered up as required.  I had the lady tie up my headscarf for me and swear it instantly made me feel another five degrees hotter.  You don’t realize how cooling a breeze on your neck is until its covered.  I have to admit, I wasn’t disappointed when it loosened.  As I didn’t know how to do it properly myself, this is how it ended up.

The mosque was pretty.  After seeing so many churches in the same style on our European travels, the different style and layout was refreshing to the eye.

I visited Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding the previous day, learned a bit and enjoyed the dialogue.  The “tour” was a little different.  It was more like a session aimed at educating people about the basics of the religion and dispelling common myths (all in 45 minutes).  Although the ladies who conducted the session did a good job and injected a good amount of humor into it, I didn’t enjoy it as much as lunch at the Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.

The clock showing the times to pray that day. Muslims pray five times a day: before sunrise (where the prayer reminds people that prayer is better than sleep), noon, in the afternoon when your shadow is approximately equal to your height, just after sunset, and in the evening.

I did learn a bit (which I’m assuming is the official line) about the Emirate’s approach to Islam.  Officially, it supports a moderate interpretation of Islam.  I imagine it would be difficult to remain a global center for business if it appeared did otherwise.  Examples they mentioned in support include:

  • not rejecting the validity of other faiths when they are “of the book”
  • not forcing women to wear coverings outside of church, both women cited the practicality of wearing such garments in Dubai but said they don’t wear them in other places  (one lady said the robe would soak up all of London’s rain)
  • most Emiratis don’t have more than one wife (divorce is permitted)
  • the government distributes guidelines for religious sermons, and
  • texts of sermons are submitted for approval

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Swiss National Day

 

August 1st was Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. This alliance became the basis of the regional alliances that forms today’s Switzerland.  Yeah Switzerland!

Switzerland has been good to us so far. We have been very lucky and feel very lucky to be here.  Here are some of the ways we’ve been lucky:

  • Apartments are hard to come by in Geneva.  It is on a lake and surrounded on three sides by the mountains.  This makes land scarce. None of the buildings are taller than six or seven stories tall (preserving the mountain views).  It has made the perfect storm.  I have heard that there is .5% vancancy (it may even be less). When we only put one offer and got our dream flat we were extremely lucky.
  • We were even luckier that we could get the keys within hours of landing!
  • We were able to have a washer and dryer delivered before we had to do laundry at a laundrymat.
  • We how have wireless (Swisscom)
  • Our belongings arrived in Switzerland before we did.
  • Our dogs have good new homes
  • It is extremely beautiful here.
  • The weather has been nice. Summer in Geneva seems a bit like summer in Chicago, there is tons going on and everyone is trying to make the most of the good weather.
While it hasn’t been without headaches and it is still early, our move has been about as smooth as possible. We have been lucky to have had advice from people who have done this before.  It is really nice not to reinvent the wheel. They have helped us navigate things.  A lot of it is also due to our wonderful friends and family.*  Thank you.
*Especially thank you if you took a dog.