Iftar @ Brisbane's Bosnian Mosque

by @reporting4work

A dear friend who is observing the annual Ramadan fast invited me to join her family at a community Iftar (the daily break of fast) at their local Mosque, which happens to be Brisbane's Bosnian Mosque at Eight Mile Plains. As I had never been inside a mosque, it seemed the perfect time to take up her offer. [This community Iftar dinner was generously organised by Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity (AMARAH) and the Islamic Council of Queensland]

This is the recently renovated Bosnian Mosque. A silver star inside a crescent moon, sits atop the tall minaret to the left of the main building

This beautiful tiled inlay greets visitors in the centre of the building's forecourt, just in front of the main door

The Mosque's impressive front door is overlooked by sacred words rendered in Arabic script, the crescent moon and a round, ripple glass window that helps bring light into its upper floor

The Mosque's Imam (grey suit jacket) welcomed some of the early arrivals to this special Iftar meal that eventually included 80 well-fed guests

The ground level of the Mosque is where males pray at designated times, led by their Imam, whose voice is amplified by this exquisite grotto

Holy scriptures feature all around the Mosque's interior, including above this grotto, which faces Mecca, the holiest of places for the world's Muslims

On the walls on either side of the grotto are these matching, tiled decorations

Just as Christian religions have done for centuries, Muslims pray at various set times throughout the day. These include: The Fajr prayer @ dawn The Dhuhr prayer @ noon The Asr prayer @ mid-afternoon The Maghrib prayer @ sunset The Isha'a prayer @ night. While daily prayers at the Mosque are led from the floor for most of the week, on Fridays, in the middle of the day, the Mosque's Imam will scale its pulpit to address his followers about relevant religious or social issues, just as Christian priests do when delivering their sermons

Before devotions begin, there is a call to prayer, delivered here by an elder of this Mosque. The Imam, in black, was progressively joined by other males from the congregation, as the visitors watched on from the upper level, where the community's female members gathered to pray. Both levels of the sacred areas of the Mosque are magnificently carpeted and anyone entering must take off their shoes before entering

Listen to the call to the sunset prayer, which marks the end of the day's Ramadan fast, and see the men gather to pray, watched over by visitors

The cupola of the Mosque features a stunning chandelier

A close-up view of the Mosque's spectacular chandelier

Miniature chandeliers also adorn the walls of this Mosque

Along the edge of the upper floor's balcony you can see even more ornate, tiled scripture extracts from the Qu'ran

This marble stairway leads to the women's devotions area, the upper balcony and the Bosnian restaurant which operates on weekend nights

Even the pillars are beautifully decorated in the holy areas of this Mosque, which has clearly been a labour of love and devotion since its foundation was laid in 2005. Prior to that time, the community met and prayed in a demountable building that still stands at the back of the site

The round window - seen this time from the inside of the upper level of the Mosque - allows extra light into the women's prayer area

A great deal of skill, design and devotion has been invested into this Mosque, from its arresting patterned carpet to the well-lit artwork over the internal marble staircase

So our group of mostly Christian visitors, our Muslims hosts and the Bosnian Mosque members broke the day's Ramadan fast with a hearty shared meal and lots of chatter about the similarities and differences between our religions. Our conclusions? That we have far more in common than not and we could not have had a warmer, more genuine welcome

By the time we headed home, the Mosque was cutting a striking figure against the dark night sky.

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