Dubai - The aim of the tour is to demystify any misconceptions they may be having about Islamic and Arabic culture.
Have you ever wondered what Muslims do at the mosque or what a mosque is?
In an initiative for both tourists and residents, the Islamic Information Centre (IIC) has launched a free-for-all 'mosque experience' where they are inviting people of all faiths and nationalities to attend their weekly tours of one of the most beautiful mosques in Dubai. The aim of the tour is to demystify any misconceptions they may be having about Islamic and Arabic culture.
The free mosque tour is conducted at the Masjid Mohammad Bin Ahmed Al Mulla in Dubai Marina every Monday from 10am to 11am. Tuesdays are set for bookings from schools, giving students a chance to learn and know more about the Islamic culture, prayers and mosque etiquettes. Visitors can book their slot for the tour simply by registering for free on www.islamicic.com/mosque.
Cherryl, a Sri Lankan resident, said: "Even though I have been living here in Dubai for five years now, today was the first time I ever understood the concept of Islam and saw a mosque from inside."
Many of the visitors even wore traditional dresses - abaya and kandoora - to get a more immersive experience of the culture.
Lewis Bullock, head of cultural communications at the IIC, Dubai (part of Dar Al Ber Society) who led the tour at the mosque, said: "We have had a very good response for this initiative that is now in its fifth week. Although a lot of people may have visited various mosques and gotten a chance to admire its architectural beauty, we at the IIC aim to go a bit deeper and explain to people what exactly we Muslims do in the mosque, the etiquettes of a mosque, and how we pray."
What's in store for visitors
The tour started with one of the volunteers demonstrating how Muslims complete their ablution. The visitors were then shown the architectural beauty of the mosque before sitting down for a brief talk on Islam and its precepts.
Some of the questions asked by the visitors included what is the right age of children to start their prayers in Islam; why women wear hijab; is the call of prayers same across the world; why is there a separate section for men and women in the mosque; and what is the importance of Friday prayers.
UK nationals Paul and Ruth, who were on a visit to the UAE, said they were "delighted at their first ever mosque experience".
Donning the traditional dress, Paul said: "We learned how pure this beautiful religion Islam is, which is often not presented in the right way especially by the Western media. We will always cherish this special experience that has totally changed our perception of Islam."