The Islamic Council of New South Wales (ICNSW) held an Open Mosque project on Sunday 24 September 2022 at the Darul Imaan Masjid at Wolli Creek. Launched as part of ICNSW’s Islamic Awareness Month campaign in September, the event provided an opportunity for a mosque to open its doors to Muslims and non-Muslims for a full day of programs, food and entertainment activities.
The program invites cross-cultural and intra-community dialogue allowing knowledge and experiences to be transmitted within the community. This in turn helps build capacity within the mosque for stronger community engagement as well as for public relations.
Traditionally, Islamic townships did not have town halls or community centres. They had mosques. Just like at Darul Imaan Masjid, these mosques had:
- Prayer halls for men and women to conduct their daily prayers as well as for the congregational friday prayer
- A canteen or soup kitchen catering for regular meals (usually on a Thursday night) or to host iftars and celebratory events like a wedding or Eid festivities.
- A madrasah (school) providing public education free of charge for all community members ranging from pre-school aged children to the elderly.
- A community staging area where community members can congregate, socialise, eat on a sofra, exercise or teach/study martial arts
- An administrative office that organised hajj and funeral services, weddings, conversions and charity collection and distribution in the local community.
The above features were pointed out to the attendees. Aspects of Malay culture, such as the 5 button, 3 pocket Baju Melayu (Malay shirt) were explained. The buttons represented the 5 pillars of Islam and the pockets represented Islam (Worship), Imaan (faith) and Ihsan (beauty).
Many Muslims who attended had never visited Masjid Darul Imaan before and had never sampled Malay cuisine before.
Sheikh Soner Cronulu was the speaker on the day.
During the event there were a number of talks about community development and Islamic awareness. Passionate communal invocations and Quran were recited in the mosque.
The event invited attendees to imagine what a small mosque could fulfil for local communities if they were opened more regularly. For example, the power of the melodious Quran recitation was often used in traditional Islamic societies to help congregants to reflect on Islamic teachings and to uplift their state of mind.
Why don’t we allow the recitation of the Quran in our mosques more often?
Why can’t we use the mosque as a place to socialise?
It was an eye opener for Muslims and and people of other faiths alike.
Conversations, henna arts and other crafts were available for all to enjoy.
Darul Imaan Masjid is looking forward to its next open mosque event. ICNSW is looking for other mosques to partner with for future projects. To express your interest in collaborating with ICNSW please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.