To be fair, this Open Mosque Day was on my radar to take Archie to today as soon as Hubs said he wanted the afternoon ‘off’ to watch the Grand Prix coverage and lead up. Learning about us all, are part of Archie’s ‘human’ lessons; seperate from his Maths, Science, English and Italian school lessons. We have been talking about the visit to the mosque off and on all week.
I knew I needed to take him. The last mosque I went to was in Oman on the enforced layover due to weather and dust storms and QANTAS – oh my. Talking to Sadia as she welcomed us today; we both got the giggle about that the last mosque I’d visited was one of the largest in the world, she said ‘Welcome to ours!’. The mosque we visited was in Doncaster East, has a sports hall next door, joined by the shoe storage, bathrooms and kitchen. It’s small, functional, does what it needs to do and was jam-packed full of people.
Before we left, Archie put on a button-downed shirt, I wore a long sleeved shirt and trousers and popped a scarf in my bag. As we got closer; the cars started appearing, on nature strips, parking in spaces where there were not really spaces, double parking, bumping up on to kerbs, gardens, everywhere people could find room. Melbourne, I am damn proud of you. There were so many people there!
We parked up and walked over, they had a beef sausage sizzle going. UK peeps you won’t have a clue what that means, but my Aussies – let that sink in. Veggie burgers, beef sausages, my heart was bursting with joy already.
Inside was a candle and a donation box for Christchurch. Flowers were overflowing from the tribute table.
When we don’t know what to do – we bring flowers.
There were masses of people; councillors, reverends, teenagers, babies, children, families, anyone and everyone.
[I’m tying this as we get to the minutes’ silence for Charlie Whiting at F1, a pulmonary embolism took him far too early at just 66 years old. He has been the stalwart of F1 for so long; this weekend has shook everyone around the world. As an aside, how amazing is Melbourne looking today?]
We took our shoes off, I put my scarf over my head and we headed into the space for worship. The Imam wasn’t there but we had a lovely man talking us through what was where in the room; sharing that the Quran is verbally handed down, so although you can now read it, before we learnt to read and write, it was an oral tradition; why Islam is different from other religions, (if you didn’t know, they pray to God, not an image of God while respecting that prophets and teachers come through the ages); the five prayers during the day are towards God, not to someone or something and you don’t need to do the prayer there and then, you’ve a window of time to get it done before the next prayer is due.
It was a lovely visit, when we left, Archie gave me a big squeeze and told me I was the best Mama ever. He also said that he wanted to move closer to the mosque so we could walk there each week. Be still my heart.
I left my phone in the car, so there are no photos – but you know what? I don’t care. The memories are going to be with me forever.