Our five year adventure in Doha, Qatar ended June 1, 2012, but the memories will always remain. It's back to Texas where I have decided...Qatar isn't cornering the market on "quirky", as I once believed. Thanks for opening my eyes to the world, Doha!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mosques and Muslims

Day 3

After much anticipation, it finally arrived...the mosque tour. Our group of eighteen showed up at the Qatar Guest Center to begin our day's journey. First stop, inside the women's section of the guest center for tea, coffee, and breakfast pastries. One snag, Dustin & Jake (another college student in for spring break) were male and were not allowed to mingle with the Muslim women. So, as we were inside feasting on morning treats, they were standing in the parking lot wondering what the heck we were doing inside for so long. Someone at the guest center had mercy on them and ran a tray of goodies out to them while they were baking out in the Qatar sun. After getting acquainted with our hosts, we loaded up the bus and headed to the ancient mosque of Suraaqah ibn Maalik (easy for me to say). It was built from coral rocks covered by plaster, while its roof was constructed from tree trunks covered by mats made from date palm fronds. The inside structure is very simple with no furniture...only a pulpit area for the Imam to lead the congregation in prayer. Muslims are called to prayer by a "caller" that sings his live invitation to prayer five times daily. One prerequisite for a caller is to be able to recite the Koran in its entirety by memory. EVERY mosque, and there are MANY, has its own caller. Wherever you may be standing during the calling, you are likely to hear different callers from different directions at the same time. The next mosque on the tour was much newer and bigger and a bit more ornate, though still just a large open room with no furniture. We were shown the area where the Muslims go through the purification process where before entering the mosque they must wash their face, hands, and feet. If for some reason there was no water available, they would put their hands into the sand (quite readily available) and rub them together to wipe away any impurities. Our next stop was the Qatar Cultural Center. There was a young lady there applying henna to any guest that wanted it. Kayla and I couldn't let Kristi outdo us , so we had our hands decorated. There was also a gentlemen that was translating names and writing them in Arabic calligraphy. Of course the center had the usual "cultural" things, but we were more intrigued with the henna and the calligraphy at the time. Shame on us. From the cultural center they took us back to the men's section of the guest center where we had tea, coffee and cake with a little more fellowship. This time the guys were invited in since there were no Muslim women scurrying around without their abayas and face coverings. Immediately after our sweet snack, we headed back to the women's section where our guests had a feast waiting on us. Well, not exactly fir Dustin and Jake. However, they did get a plate of food sent to them in a separate room. I think they were beginning to feel a bit like pariahs at this point. We had four more trays like the one in the picture with different meats, such as chicken, fish and beef. After eating our lunch, we were served, yet another dessert. I could get used to this dessert, lunch, dessert thing. That pretty much concluded our tour. It was a full day as we had left the house at 8:15am and didn't get back until 3:00pm. Our hosts were wonderful the entire day fielding our questions about their faith, the Qatari traditions, and even Qatari driving. Their leader put it all in perspective for us by saying, "you have to remember, they were riding a camel one day and woke up the next in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Alhamdulillah!

Note: Since, you all have most likely heard the "Call to Prayer" music that was on my original "Mosque Tour" post, I thought I'd play my favorite "Christian" song, so that none of you will worry about me!


  1. I didn't have any music. It says "Uh oh! It appears that the song you are looking for is not available, please double-check that the embed info is correct"

  2. By the way, it was a very interesting blog today. Sounds like it was a really great tour. I'm jealous!


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