x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Zayed's gift of mosque is an 'ongoing charity'

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Umm Al Qaiwain, one of four gifted to the Northern Emirates by the nation's founder, is recognisable for its size and beauty.

A solitary worshipper reads the Quran at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Umm Al Qaiwain.
A solitary worshipper reads the Quran at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Umm Al Qaiwain.

UMM AL QAIWAIN // The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Umm Al Qaiwain, one of four donated to the Northern Emirates by the nation's founder, represents the importance of charity during the holy month, worshippers say.

With its four minarets and massive dome covering a 2,500-square-metre prayer area, the Dh12 million building is one of the emirate's most recognisable landmarks.

"We regard this mosque as an ongoing charity [Sadaqaat al Jariya] for Sheikh Zayed," said Hassan Abdul Malik, 40, an Emirati who prays there. "Ongoing charity is among the most encouraged forms of charity in Islam, as the charity continues to benefit the person even after his death."

Decorated with brilliantly polished yellow stone, the mosque also draws praise from residents for its beauty.

"Before, I did not know the beauty of this mosque, until one day they brought it on Sama Dubai TV," said Latif Ahmed, who lives in UAQ. "I was wondering, 'What a beautiful mosque!' and then I noticed it was our mosque, the one I had frequented for big prayers like Eid and Juma."

Located in Al Madar on King Faisal Road, the emirate's main motorway, the mosque was officially opened in 2000 by Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Mualla, the Ruler of UAQ at the time.

"Since then, it has been the official mosque of the emirate, where official Eid and Friday prayers are held," said Rashid Hamad, the director general of Umm Al Qawain Islamic Affairs and Endowments Department. "The Supreme Council member and Ruler of UAQ, Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla himself, often offers his Eid prayers at the mosque together with residents."

It is the largest mosque in the emirate, with an area of 24,683 square metres, said Abu Ahmad, the director of mosque affairs at the department.

Besides the prayer area, the space includes a library, a women's prayer hall, a hall for memorising the Quran, a spacious restroom and ablution area, a place for washing the dead, and homes for the imams and muezzins. It also features a small garden where dates are grown.

The mosque offers taraweeh prayers, where the whole Quran is recited, throughout Ramadan, said Abdullah Mohammed Eissa, the imam of the mosque.

He said the mosque had also hosted visiting imams such as Abdul Rahman Al Sudais of the holy mosque in Mecca.

He added that the mosque would offer tahajjud prayers during the last 10 days of the holy month after midnight.

Annayatullah Taqqiudin, the mosque's muezzin from Afghanistan, said performing the call to prayer at such a special place was an art form.

"For example, the words of the azan should be called slowly, while those of the iqama should be called rapidly, though not so fast that the words are not properly articulated," he said.

He said that he wanted to see more youths willing to take on his profession, as it would earn them fame in this world and paradise in the hereafter.

"The Prophet said that anyone who hears the call of the azan, be he a man or a jinn, or some other creature, will have to testify for the muezzin on the Day of Judgment. Each and all on the land and sea, as far as the sound of his call reaches, will testify for him. He will get the reward equal to the rewards of the many faithful who come to prayer in response to his call."

ykakande@thenational.ae