On 28 th August 2005 the Stirling Mosque threw its doors open to the community of central Scotland, letting them see first hand the inside of the Islamic centre and also give them an insight into the Islamic faith.
The Muslim community rallied together to organise a day out which everyone was sure to remember. There was the usual guided tour of the Mosque, where small groups of people were taken around the centre. The purpose and activities in each room was explained as well as a short talk delivered about the basics of the Islamic faith pertaining to that room. There were opportunities for individuals to take part and use the facilities, for example in the Wudhu (ablution area) and the prayer room.
In the community Hall, a special display was setup with a large number of stalls and presentations about Islam. Details of some of the stalls are given below:
The Qur'an and Hadith stall: As most people are aware, the Qur'an is the word of Allah (God Almighty) and is the code of life for all Muslims. Many people are unfamiliar with the Hadith, which are a secondary source of knowledge and guidance for Muslims. Muslims turn to the Hadith for guidance in life; for deeper understanding of aspects of the Qur'an and Islam; and to learn more about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and about his life.
Since the knowledge of God is the central part of all religions, this stall was setup to explain these fundamental sources of knowledge of the Muslim faith. There was an opportunity to ask questions and see the religious text. There was a rolling slide show * running as well as leaflets and posters * that helped explain both these important facets of Islam better.
The Muslim food stall: Not only did the open day help everyone get a glimpse of Islam but also a taste of Islam from around the Muslim world. A food stall displayed a wide range of foods from different parts of the Muslim world. Everyone was welcome to taste the food and also learn a little about Halal food that constitutes the diet of Muslims.
The Islamic clothes Stall: Muslim clothing from different parts of the Muslim world was on display and people were invited to try the clothes on. As a memento, a cameraman was present to take a photo and print it off as a souvenir of the visit. There were many happy faces and people enjoyed themselves thoroughly. They also got an insight into the different types of clothes Muslims wear throughout the world.
The Islamic Bookstall: There was a wide range of Islamic books for sale. They covered many aspects of the Muslim faith as well as history, science and comparative religion. These books also presented an opportunity for everyone to become acquainted with the many famous authors (past and present) who may not be as readily known in the western world.
The leaflet stands: There were many leaflets, which covered a spectrum of different subjects about Islam. They also tackled topics such as Islam and terrorism, worship in Islam, women in Islam, fundaments of Islam, Islam and science as well as give an introduction to this faith.
Islamic relief stall: Islamic Relief is a charity, which is close to all of us, especially in Scotland. It does much work throughout the world, helping the poorest of nations and disadvantaged people of all backgrounds, genders, races and religions. It has a branch in Glasgow from which all the Scottish efforts are co-ordinated and run. They also had a stall highlighting their different projects around the world.
Rest and discussion area: There was a seating area where groups of people sat down, enjoyed the hospitality of their hosts. They had an opportunity to chat with the Imam, members of the Muslim community and indeed chat amongst themselves. There was the customary tea and biscuits along with a copy of the Musalla weekly newsletter to read.
Presentations: There were many presentations and posters, which highlighted different parts of Islam, its basic belief, its people and its history. This had a wealth of information which many people enjoyed demonstrated by the amount of time spent by individuals. The leaflets were free to take away so that people could read them at their own leisure.
The mosque opened its doors at 10.00am and before long it was teaming with a non-stop stream of faces coming to the centre throughout the day. There were individuals as well as families of people coming to the centre. All day the centre was buzzing as inquiring minds listened, as well as shared their own religious convictions and beliefs, with the Muslim community. It was a special event so much so much that everyone was made to feel at home and were free to look around and explore the centre as they wished. It was very relaxed and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. One person described it as 'a breath of fresh air' and many felt privileged to share in the mid-day prayer, albeit as an observer.
Over a thousand people attended the centre throughout the course of the day. There were also many good relationships and friendships moulded and many great memories were taken away.