Finding Islam

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This 2+ hours’ session on 22 Sept 2016 at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, Surrey was the third in our ‘religion’ journey; previously, we visited the beautiful Buddhist Temple in Wimbledon and the world-renowned Hindu Temple in Neasdon.

Baitul Futuh is the largest mosque in Western Europe, and when you see the expanse of the place and hear the numbers (about 20,000) that pray there during religious ceremonies, any doubt relating to its magnanimity is soon erased.

Our session started at 12 noon when our guide formally introduced himself and led us to a reception hall for snacks and drinks.

After snacking, we went to the library for a talk on the origin of Islam, the Koran and its teachings, why it was so revered, and why it had to placed higher than other books on book shelves. The children were most amused at the many sizes the Koran came in, from the huge double-hand held one to the tiny pocket version.

We learnt that kids started learning about Arabic and Islam from a very young age, and that by the age of 8 or 9, they would have read the whole Koran. We were told that by the age of 12, kids could decide whether to There were a lot of fascinating books in the library with ornate spines.

After the fascinating lesson, we headed for the main prayer hall to admire the inside of the dome. At 2pm, we gathered on the mezzanine to observe the collective prayers.

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By about 2.15pm, the session officially ended, and we were about to start saying our thanks when we were invite to the dining room for a cooked lunch. I could not believe my ears. The food was very good indeed, and plentiful. We had free bottles of coke, water and tea to accompany the meals.

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It was a lovely way to round off the day and a thoroughly good time was had by all. I would be surprised if subsequent trips beat the hospitality we enjoyed here, however, we look forward to the next one – most likely to be a synagogue.

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