My Arabic was never very good but the sounds of the word brought me closer to God. And when you perform shalat, the ground I touch become holy ground and I found the feeling of serenity… (Life Of Pi)
Last night my friend and i, we both learned Al Qur’an in the same recitation group in Rotterdam, commented and recalled the weirdest place where we ever performed shalat. She told me once she perform shalat in a garden bench in front of a chatedral, and then a brother come to her, telling her that actually there was a mosque nearby that chatedral. Praise be to Allah 🙂
It’s true that finding a mushalla, a praying room or mosque was not as easy as finding it back home Indonesia. But that doesnt give you privilege not to perform shalat. As i recalled, in Erasmus Universiteit there is a room for Muslims to pray, was it in N building, i dont remember. But yes, there is a room for performing shalat. Yet, during winter and when we were hectic with lecturing activities, walking some blocks away to another building was way hard. So we’d rather use a vacant classroom or behind the door of the emergency starways 🙂 And my oddest experience was performing shalat in C&A fitting room haha 😀 (FYI: C&A is a big fashion line in Europe).
Not all the time that we, Muslim, found difficulties to find a proper place to perform shalat. We found a mosque when we biked to Delft, we also found a nice mushalla/praying room at Frankfurt Airport, in Rotterdam itself we have many mosques. And also in Paris ! Here is my story about La Grande Mosquée de Paris…
As it is named “Grande” the architecture of this mosque is indeed grand yet simple. A fountain in the center courtyard, the curved pilars, the moorish garden, has made this mosque so pretty. The Mosque was decorated with mosaics, wood carvings and wrought iron brought from Morocco. Pretty clear that this mosque architecture was influenced by Moorish architecture of Andalusia and the Maghreb. (check my online source below)
Built in 1922, to Honor the North African Countries that had helped France during World War I. Eversince, this mosque remains an active place of worship for North Africans living in Paris and also as the sacred place tourism. Since we traveled with some non muslim friends, i didnt think that we were allowed to invite those non muslim friends to enter the mosque area. But, finally they did entered the mosque area but only to its garden, courtyard but not to the inside area of the mosque.
Pretty mosque isn’t it ? Unfortunately i couldnt (yet) find any source that could give us a clue of who was the architect that designed this pretty mosque. Instead i found some source about architecture of the minarets and other great buildings in Europe. You can download it here http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~caforum/volume6/pdf/avcioglu.pdf.
So, if you’re muslim and one day had a chance to visit Paris, please do not only see the Notre Dame Chatedral, set aside some of your time to visit this grand mosque…
Here are some sources you might wanna read, as i also cited some of the information from these links: