Multi-purpose mosque opens

An aerial view of the mosque.

It is hard to miss the newly adorned dome and towers of the mosque on the corner of De Wet and Ottery roads.

This mosque is on the complex of the Ahlul Bait (AS) Islamic Centre which will be opening its new facilities to serve the community this Friday, December 1, at 7pm.

The dome, towers, windows and doorways on the outside of the mosque have all been skilfully and beautiful decorated in artwork.

It a took a year of planning before development of the centre started in May 2013, after the property was bought in 1997, said the leader Moulanaa Syed Aftab Haider.

He said the property had an interesting history as it used to be occupied by the Parish Anglican church and also served as a school for those who lived on the farmland in 1922.

Mr Haider said: “The church was taken over by Germans, who later had moved to Plumstead.”

Mr Haider said the madrassa hall replaced the church but to preserve the heritage status and display respect for all faiths, the original plaque and traditional stained-glass church window were kept.

The inside of the dome has been painted and tiled with striking artwork, as has the minbar (pronounced mimbar), the pulpit in the mosque where the leader stands to lead prayers and deliver sermons.

The mosque, which was the first structure to be built on the property, “is more than just a place of prayer”, said Mr Haider.

A plaque which will be put up at the entrance of the mosque emphasises the centre’s ethos . One of the messages written on it reads: “The charter of the principle of compassion which lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.”

Mr Haider said the centre will include facilities such as a library, a book store and a free medical clinic to serve the broader community.

During the 10 years of planning he said they saw the need for a library with books on topics such as Islamic history as well as a resource centre with an internet facility and free wi-fi for anyone, young and old to use, not only Muslims, as it will be open for students to study. There was also a dining hall that can house 750 people.

Mr Haider said the clinic is another need in the community. “We have spoken to medical doctors and other professionals who are willing to give free consultations at the clinic, which is not fully functional yet.”

Each facility or room will be named after people who have played a significant role in the history of Islam and South Africa’s political struggle.

The centre also includes eight madrassa (Islamic school) classrooms where workshops will be held, such as life skills for adults and sewing classes.

At the opening there will be speakers from all faiths and everyone is wel-