Have you ever visited a working mosque? Getting the chance to learn more about Islam at the Jumeirah Mosque was just the perfect thing to do in Dubai.
Only built in 1979, the sandstone twin minarets of the Jumeirah Mosque has become one of the icons of the city. On our recent long layover in Dubai, we wanted to answer the question whether or not we could visit a Dubai mosque. We were lucky enough to learn that Jumeirah is only one of three mosques in all of the Emirates that non-Muslims can visit, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit.
In this article, you’ll learn how to attend the Jumeirah Mosque experience:
Learning About Islam at the Jumeirah Mosque
Located in Jumeirah, and only five minutes from the beach, Jumeirah Mosque has become one of the most well-known mosques in the United Arab Emirates. Large enough to hold 1300 worshippers and with a Fatimad styled dome (source), Jumeirah has been doing its part to educate non-Muslims on their religion and culture. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) runs a program six days a week and everyone is invited to attend.
From Saturday through Thursday at 10 AM, anyone who is interested in learning the basics of Islam is welcome to come. The experience lasts about 75 minutes.
When we went, there was only about 30 other people in line to register. Registration starts at 9:30, and no one is ever turned away.
We all gathered to listen to two speakers who gave us a short overview outside. The first thing we needed to learn was how to do the “wudu” or thorough cleansing and purification ritual before entering the mosque.
Next, we all sat on the prayer rugs and took in the decor of the interior of the mosque. The first thing you notice is how cool it is, compared to outside. We went in December, but we still noticed a difference.
For the next hour our two guides explained the five pillars of Islam and answers any questions that the visitors ask. I asked my two teenage daughters what they thought of the lesson, and they said they found it interesting. Of course the best part was trying the coffee and pastries that followed the lesson.
FAQ – Jumeirah Mosque Learning Tour
How to Get There
There is no metro station near the mosque, but you can take the number 8 bus from the Gold Souk towards the Ibn Battuta Mall (source).
How Much Does the Tour and Lesson Cost?
The entry fee to this Jumeirah experience is a mere 35 dirhams or about $9.50 per person and it includes typical light Arab breakfast. You do not have to sign up ahead of time. Just meet at 9:30 outside the mosque.
What to Wear at the Jumeirah Mosque
It’s important to dress modestly and women to bring a scarf. It’s okay if you aren’t sure how to wear it, someone will be on hand to help you. The attendants we had took great care in not only donning a scarf on you, but doing it so making it look quite chic! Dressing moderately means covering everyone’s (men’s and women’s) knees and shoulders.
Can You Take Photos in the Mosque?
One of the things that made the Jumeirah experience great was that we were able to take any and as many photographs as we wanted. The only thing they asked of us, was not to use flash. Considering that non-Muslims usually aren’t allowed in many mosques, it was great to be able to capture both the exterior and interior of the mosque.
Things to Do Nearby
The Jumeirah neighborhood is of course right next to the sandy Jumeirah Beach and La Mer Waterpark, so that is something to encourage your younger ones to look forward to after a morning of education. The Etihad Museum, which is a history museum is also very close.
The one things about the United Arab Emirates, is that all the countries are so close. We actually drove into Oman one day for lunch, and vowed to go back as soon as possible. We’re very interested in doing at least 7 days in Oman.
As a teacher and a parent, I find experiences like the visit to Jumeirah Mosque essential. We enjoyed our laid back guides who matter-of-factly explained many facets of Islam in a friendly manner. My family of four really learned a lot, and it remains one of our highlights on our visit to the UAE.
Have you been to the UAE? Have you visited a mosque? Tell us about your experience in the comment section.
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.