Mosque invites world's prominent Quran readers for holy month.
The best recite in Ajman
AJMAN // All of the world's renowned Quran reciters have at one time or another led prayers at the Ajman Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The reputation is one the mosque administrators foster, says Abdullah Al Marri, one of the imams.
"Every Ramadan we bring big-name Quran reciters; the best from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, among other Muslim countries," Imam Al Marri says. "We just learn of a reputable imam with a rising Quran recitation profile anywhere in the world and ask him to visit in Ramadan and lead taraweeh prayers at our mosque."
The Ajman Executive Council and Ajman Awqaf will this year bring Sheikh Idris Abkar from Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Khalifa Al Tunaiji from Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mishary Rashed Al Afasy from Kuwait, Sheikh Amir Al Mohalhal from Lebanon and Sheikh Farsi Abed from Yemen.
Imam Mohammed Jibril, the celebrated Egyptian Quran reciter, will be absent this year after having visited for the past three Ramadans.
"We had got used to him and every Ramadan I would drive from Dubai to Ajman and have my taraweeh prayers there because of him," says Husam Al Din, an Egyptian resident of Dubai.
"When I pray behind him his voice reminds me of those days of big taraweeh prayers at Masjid Al Aas in Cairo, the days I miss so much but cannot bring back."
Imam Jibril has recently been busy leading Friday prayers at Tahrir Square in Cairo and said a one-hour prayer (qunut) on the Friday before the president Hosni Mubarak fell.
The mosque's imams are also excellent Quran reciters, says Mohammed Jawad, who lives in the Jurf area and never misses prayers there.
"When Imam Abdullah reads you don't want him to stop, and when Imam Abdul Salaam takes on the fajr prayers in the morning I cannot stay in my bed, even if I am sick," Mr Jawad says.
The mosque was built by Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the UAE. It was officially opened in 2000 by Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman, says Obaid Hamad Saif Al Zaabi, the director of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments office in Ajman. It was built on more than 37,000 square metres of land and can accommodate 2,500 worshippers. It is in Al Jurf area on Emirates Road heading towards Umm Al Qaiwain.
"This mosque is very important in Ajman and the Northern Emirates," Mr Al Zaabi says. "It is a meeting centre for all imams in the Northern Emirates every year and also a centre for the Ajman Ramadan activities."
Ajman's call to prayer comes from the mosque, which is the only one in the emirate where washing and prayers for the dead are conducted.
The mosque will this year host seven lectures by renowned Islamic scholars such as Sheikh Ali Al Yasin, Sheikh Ibrahim Al Zayat and Sheikh Saleh Al Maghamsi.