Tuesday, March 27:  A whole slew of “m” words comes along with a mosque, or masjid in Arabic.  Muslims worship in this place that has a minaret and a muezzin who calls out five prayer times each day.  Muslims pray in the musallah, or prayer hall.

A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam.  The Arabic is masjid, meaning “place of worship” or “prostration in prayer.”  Here, Muslims come together for salah (prayer).  It is also a center for information, education, and dispute settlement. The imam leads the prayer.

a mosque near Sur, Oman

In Oman, you can find a mosque on nearly every corner.  Or at least in every neighborhood.  I feel that even small mosques are ubiquitous in order to make it highly convenient for Muslims to pray five times a day, as required in Islam.

the mosque beside Nizwa Fort

Mosques usually have elaborate domes, minarets and prayer halls, although the small mosques can be very simple.  The top of the minaret is always the highest point in mosques that have one, and often the highest point in the immediate area. Before the five required daily prayers, a muezzin calls the worshipers to prayer from the minaret.  Nowadays, many of these calls to prayer are recorded and played over a loudspeaker.

the little mosque in Firq next to the Shell Station

The domes, often placed directly above the main prayer hall, may signify the vaults of heaven and the sky.

another mosque near the Turkish restaurant in Firq

The prayer hall, also known as the musallah, rarely has furniture; it’s usually just a wide open carpeted space where men kneel to pray.  Many mosques are decorated with Islamic calligraphy and Quranic verses on the walls to assist worshipers in focusing on the beauty of Islam and the holy Quran.

the fabulous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey