Getting closer to Allah

Getting closer to Allah

Walking into the Al Ghurair Mosque in the heart of Naif, one of Dubai’s busiest business districts, one quickly forgets the world outside.


Muaz Shabandri

Published: Thu 16 Aug 2012, 2:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:27 PM

The sights and sounds of the market quickly fade into silence and a feeling of peace and tranquility takes over as the mosque echoes the recitation of the Holy Quran and prayers. Worshippers dot the mosque as each one finds his own way to seek blessings of Allah in the last few days of Ramadan.

Ali Mohammed Jafar is among the many Muslims camping at the mosque for I’tikaaf — a special act of worship which involves staying in the mosque for a fixed period of time. He says: “It is an act of worship which makes me feel closer to Allah.”

Taking a break from his usual routine, the 76-year old Pakistani will stay at the Al Ghurair Mosque for 10 days. He has brought along a blanket, mattress and some clothes.

“There is a very spiritual feeling inside the mosque which is not the same as being anywhere else. Reverence to Allah resonates in every corner of the mosque,” says Ali. Reading the Quran, praying through the night and spending time in dua are part of his daily routine. Like him, 58-year old Yusuf Ali Mohammed was also busy reciting the Holy Quran on the mosque’s ground floor. He believes the I’tikaaf helps in bringing much needed positivity to overcome problems.

“I have found a big difference since performing my first I’tikaaf three years ago. Since then, I have never missed being in the mosque for the last 10 days,” remarks Yusuf, as he makes it a point to spend most of his time in Ibadah (acts of worship). In another corner of the mosque, a young group of school children read out pages from the ‘Fazail-e-Amaal’ (virtues of good deeds).

Ibrahim Nadeem, who has been coming for I’tikaaf since the age of 12, finds the experience ‘spiritually uplifting’. “In our daily lives, we are too busy with games, Facebook and friends. Coming to the mosque is a way to find time from these deviations to remember the creator,” says Ibrahim. Essentially, Muslims taking part in I’tikaaf need not leave the mosque as special arrangements are made for food and sanitation. Worshippers are served with the regular Suhoor, Iftar and dinner.

For 19-year old Hassan Mohammed Yunus, his first I’tikaaf has been a journey to finding his own self.

“There is a sense of peace within the confines of a mosque and one gets to learn from the knowledge of other people who are also spending time here. It is a good way to dialogue, network and exchange thoughts on religion and its teachings,” says Hassan.

The reverence will come to a close with the sighting of the new moon as worshippers bid farewell and leave for their homes to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. Many like Hassan will have a new meaning of life while leaving here.

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