Tips For Tourists Visiting Mosques
The world’s oldest mosque is the Kabaa which is believed to have built by Abraham, the Father of all Nations. It is estimated that there are no less than 2.5 million mosques all over the world. In 2012, the world’s first underwater mosque was publicized.
The mosque, which was built by a group of private divers from Saudi Arabia, is located in the northwestern coast proximity of the Jordanian River. Regardless of religion, everyone is welcome to visit a mosque provided the visitor follows these following rules:
- If possible, do not stay inside the mosque during prayer time.
- Avoid walking in front before a praying Muslim.
- Avoid staring at any Muslim.
- Take off your footwear (e.g sandals, shoes, slippers) at the entrances.
- Do not wear sleeveless or shorts. Always cover bare body parts. Dress modestly by covering shoulders and knees.
- Keep voice calm when visiting. Remain quiet and do not laugh out loud. Deter loud conversation. Turn off cellphones or put them on silent mode.
- Cameras are allowed but avoid taking photos when the praying process is going on. Avoid taking photos with flash on.
- Do not disturb someone when praying.
- Take off your hat or sunglasses when entering a mosque.
- Be respectful. Do greet by saying ‘Assalam Allaikum’ (meaning, peace be with you). When someone greets you, respond by saying ‘Wa alaikumassalam’ (meaning, peace be upon you too).
- Avoid any scandalous act.
- If possible, women should cover hair.
- Avoid eating inside the mosque.
- Enter your respective prayer room. Men area is separated from women.
- Avoid shaking hands with the opposite sex.
- Intoxicated individuals are not allowed to enter the mosque.
- Do not take children especially inside the mosque. They have tantrums and often, scandalous. Only bring children who are old enough to observe proper behavior and keep silent.
- Avoid touching any religious objects inside the mosque.
- Since footwear needs to be removed when entering a mosque, consider bringing your socks if you don’t want to walk barefoot.
- Do not smoke. Smoking is purported to be a sin for Muslims.
- If doubtful, you are always welcome to ask questions to a server or caretaker of the place.
Note: In most cases, entrance to mosques is free of charge.
Mosque is a place of worship and reflection. Non-Muslims are welcome to enter the mosque and observe the different praying times. Nevertheless, nonMuslims are obligated to observe particular etiquette and rules before visit. A Muslim prays five times a day. The busiest day in the mosque is during Fridays.