Friday, July 27, 2012

Mosque Hunt - Pettah, Colombo's almost been a week of fasting. Time flies and it goes faster by the day. InshaAllah may we be given more sabr and taqwa to observe and fulfill His Commands. And may we be forgiven of our sins and shortcomings and may He always keeps us in the company of righteous muslims.

In the spirit of this holy month Ramadhan, I'll try to feature some of the mosques I've visited during my travels. Many are relatively old – dating hundreds of years, whispering stories of the days long gone and the generations of people who have lived in and around it.

As obvious as some may be, many of these sacred places of worship were located rather remote and not easily accessible. More often than not, those preconceived visual display of mosques looking like what they are in our country were not of any help.

I have been wrong many times. What stood in front of my very eyes would humble me - drumming this message of how lucky and blessed we are. We see in sincere moderations, evidence of minority Muslims striving hard at continuously propagating the message of Islam and conquering the hearts and minds of others around them.

Colombo in Sri Lanka was a city I visited sometime in 2010. Often referred as the capital of the country, the city reflects trade culture of the past and showcases many historic colonial buildings. Its colonial architectural marvels thousands of travelers to witness the heydays of Dutch and British era.

Pettah is a place where Sri Lanka's multi-culturalism at its most pronounced. A bazaar with definite Middle Eastern flair is known for its narrow streets, clogged with tuk-tuks and and bewildering assortment of shops buzzing with activities. The district has long been inhabited by Muslims, but a strong population of Sinhalese and Tamils contribute to its intoxicating mix of ethnicities.

Smacked in the alleys piled with crammed goods of colourful textiles, gold and silver, and colonial-era antiquities is the Jamiul Alfar Mosque. Its name reflects a long-standing heritage of contact with the Arab world. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it is decoratively patterned with red and white brick- work.

The mosque is one architectural monument - enriched in Islamic culture along with its majestic colonial English looking structural detailing. Its close proximity to the Colombo Ports also provides a scenic yet very spiritual environment.

Acknowledged as a character to the neighborhood and yet visually pleasing and cohesive, the Jamiul Alfar Mosque is a special place for thousands of Muslims in upholding the teachings of Islam and its benevolent values.

Scene just before solat

Juicy rambutans was in season

Fresh bread loaves could be found in many of the coffee shops in Pettah area

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