Visiting mosques in Qatar: A short guide for expats

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Ashlee

By Wajeeha Malik

We’re officially halfway through Ramadan, and many expats who don’t observe the Holy Month may be looking for ways to embrace the spirit of Ramadan even more. One of the ways you can do this is by visiting a mosque, the epicentre of worship and brotherhood for Muslims. If you want to visit a mosque during this month, but aren’t sure of how to go about it, here’s a few things you should keep in mind:

1.   Visiting hours:

Many of the mosques in Qatar are open to the public, but it’s always good to call ahead and check what’s the best time for visiting. The Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center, which is known to many as the Fanar Cultural Center near Souq Waqif, organizes mosque tours for groups. You can register for these to learn more.

If you want to visit the Qatar Grand State Mosque, also known as the Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab Mosque, you can just visit without prior booking.

If you’re looking for a really unique mosque experience, the Education City Mosque, which opened a couple of years ago at Qatar Foundation, and is located in the same building as the Hamad Bin Khalifa College of Islamic Sciences. The building has even won an architectural award at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) for its innovative use of Islamic history and values in the structure. 

EC Mosque is open to everybody, and people can even join the group iftars that are held every evening for the entire community during this month. However, since Ramadan is the busiest month, there are some times that are better if you’re interested in touring the whole building. According to sources from the mosque, it’s better to visit between 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. if you want to take in both internal and external features of the mosque. 

However, there are lots of activities going on in the mosque at that time, including Quranic study circles, lectures, etc., so you can visit earlier in the daytime if you want to visit more parts of the mosque in a less busy atmosphere. 

If you just want to walk in and take a quiet tour on your own, you can come during the 8:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. business hours. Keep in mind that these are Ramadan business hours, so they don’t apply throughout the year. 

(Photo credit: Hamad Bin Khalifa University)

2.    Group visits 

If you want to visit a mosque in groups, you can also arrange tours through the Islamic Cultural Center. Many schools and institutes also organize visits for their students. However, if you’re planning to visit the EC Mosque, you can come in groups and visit on your own. Just remember to call ahead so the organizers have an idea that a big group will be coming in. You can also send an email to ecmosque@qf.org.qa.

3.   Clothing

Dressing modestly and covering up is an important and respectful part of visiting a mosque, but is sometimes easy to forget when you’re just heading out of your house.

At Qatar’s State Mosque, you’ll be given a traditional dress to wear before entering the mosque. However, it’s always good to dress modestly in advance, 

If you’re visiting a mosque like the EC Mosque, women don’t have to wear a traditional abaya if they don’t have one, but it’s a safe and easy choice if they do. Men should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. Women should cover their heads when entering the mosque.

If you’re coming to the EC Mosque during the day, it’s a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses to take a tour of the outside.

4.  Other things to keep in mind:

If you’re bringing kids with you, make sure you keep an eye on them at all times, especially during prayer times. Make sure young children are chaperoned and watched throughout your visit.

To show respect to the worshippers, you should avoid talking too loudly, bringing food or beverages into the building, and disturbing other people while they’re praying or reciting the Qur’an. Cleanliness and good hygiene are a good idea anywhere, but are especially important if you’re entering a mosque.

Are you an expat who’s toured one of Qatar’s beautiful mosques? Tell us about your experience in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!