on email received at musalla.org
Open weekend: The
weekend of 11th and 12th September 2004 proved to be a hectic weekend
for the Central Scotland Islamic Centre. The doors were opened for
the public from 10am til 4pm over the weekend. Member of the public
could come and look around the Islamic Centre and also speak to
members of the Muslim community.
seemed to be very popular with Stirling with people from all faiths
and backgrounds attending the Mosque. There was a steady procession
of people on the first day as people entered and wandered through
the centre. Sunday proved to be the busiest day with over a hundred
people attending the centre.
Suprised: The centre had
many surprises for a lot of people, including me. Many people come
with a preconceived notion that they will be seeing an expensive,
well-decorated centre with gold statues and many other eastern touches.
However, the Islamic centre is decorated beautifully but it is a
very simply building and is not adorned with any such extravagances.
It seemed more like a place that was practical and well used rather
than a showpiece building used for show and demonstration.
Monotheism: There are no
statues or pictures of people or 'gods' in the building that was
a surprise to many. Islam is a monotheistic religion, which does
not have any iconism. It is a pure monotheistic religion, which
forbids statues and pictures- after all Muslims believe that God
or Allah is not like anything we see or imagine.
The other great
surprise was that the principles in Islam share many common characteristics
as Judaism and Christianity. Muslims believe in 124,000 prophets
of which Jesus, Moses, David and Abraham are all prophet of God
almighty. Jesus may be loved and respected in Christianity as the
son of God but in Islam Jesus is loved and respected as a prophet
of God - their highest status that any human being can ever given.
Muslims also believe in the miraculous birth of Jesus as well as
many miracles performed by Jesus.
Spirituality: The moral values
of Islam, which promotes a health and spiritually prosperous society,
were aspects with which many people related to. There were many
discussions about the decaying moral fibre of society and the role
religions and spirituality has to play to stem this tide! There
were common goals and concerns shared by the prevalent religions
Guided tours: The people who
came in out of pure curiosity were given a guided tour of the centre.
Here they were invited to ask questions throughout the short tours
where different aspects of the Muslim faith were shown. It was a
breath of fresh air to hear about Islam from the mouths of practicing
Muslims who demonstrated a profound love for their way of life.
This was in stark contrast to the images and ideas promoted by the
ruthless media who often demonise Islam and portray it in a negative
manner. The actual reality and the virtual reality portrayed by
the media seemed like opposite side of the coin to any impartial
observer at the tour.
The main community
hall held a presentation of the many aspects of the Muslim faith
and of the Muslim communities throughout the world. Here people
were allowed to wander around and learn about the Muslim faith.
There was also a bookstall, literature and the Imam to answer any
Relaxed: If this sounds
hectic, there was a seating area where you could take the load off
your feet and relax with a chat, a cup of tea and some biscuits.
The whole event was a valuable insight into Islam for which we are
grateful. We suggest that this was a great event which needs to
be repeated often. Hats off to the guides and the Imam for all their
time, patience and effort throughout this weekend. This was a great
community event where many misconceptions were cleared up and many
to Stirling Heritage for their wisdom in including the Islamic centre
along with the many religious buildings of our great city. Well
done all round.