By Farhad Nibir, a participant of this one of a kind academic excursion
On day 5 we had a short visit to the second grandest mosque in the Middle East, and the grandest mosque in Oman, The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This place is aan architectural marvel. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos spent more than 10 Billion Dollars to built this mosque, which took more than Six and a half years. To see what its like to visit this Grand Mosque, you can watch the video.
Mosque is divided into two prayer halls - Female Prayer Hall and the Grand Prayer Hall. The Female Prayer Hall can host up to two thousand ladies and the Grand Hall can host up to six thousand men, which is massive. Twenty thousand or thereabout people can pray altogether in this grand mosque at once. The Grand Chandelier in the Grand Hall weighs about 5 tonnes. The minaret of this mosque is the tallest in Oman.
People can rent Dishdasha (Omani Jubbah) or Abaya (A type of Burkha) from the main entrance area. All of the compound of the mosque is covered in white marble stones. Which look mesmerizing in the day. There are several arches surrounding the compound as well as the Grand Prayer Hall, which are pretty good for taking pictures.
The prayer halls are covered with massive carpets which cover all of the area of the hall.
The Grand Chandelier was massive in size and one of the most beautiful things to see in the mosque. When I stood right below the chandelier I felt like I was an elf. Had to struggle a bit to take a good shot of this enormous chandelier.
We roamed around the whole compound until it was closed for the prayer time. Then we had lunch in a traditional Omani restaurant, Bin Ateeq Restaurant. We enjoyed a traditional Omani feast and then went for McFlurry to the McDonalds right beside Bin Ateeq.
After our lunch we were scheduled to visit the College of Sharia’ Law, which is not included in video since it was more like a Q/A session with one of the Sheikhs who works in the Ministry of Religion as well as teaches in the College of Sharia’ Law. Since, Omanis are Ibadi muslim, who are different from both Shia and Sunni Muslims, we got to know more about them through Sheikh Hillal, who hosted us in the College of Sharia’ Law. We also get to know more about the history of Oman. Sheikh Hillal showed us around the library of the College of Sharia' Law and told more about his research studies and findings. Then we had a small discussion with him as well as two of his students. After that, we came back to our home, Al Amana Centre to have further discussion as to the Q/A session with Sheikh Hillal.
About Al Amana Centre:
Al Amana Centre is an inter-faith dialogue centre, established in 2013 in Muscat, Oman. They host various groups for inter-faith dialogues from all over the world. We were there on their “Inter-cultural Exchange Program”. They also have some other programs. For more details check out their website.
Al Amana Website: https://alamanacentre.org