Colombo 24th February 2017
The Colombo City Circle (CCC) is a group of young, dynamic Sri Lankan Muslims who engage in dialogue and build bridges among the Muslim youth in Sri Lanka.
On 24th February 2017, the CCC were invited for a tour of the Dawoodi Bohra masjid in Colombo. The tour was lead by Mufaddal Zainuddin, CCC member, entrepreneur and graduate of Al Jamea tus Saifiyah.
The invitees were first given a presentation about the Dawoodi Bohra community; its beliefs, practices and traditions – to clear out any misconceptions. The invitees were then taken on an architectural tour of the Glen Aber Place masjid complex – which is inspired by Fatemi Egyptian, Yemeni and Indian architecture.
The presentation covered an introduction to the community, beginning with Prophet Mohammed SA, the imamate and the du’aat mutlaqeen all the way up to the current da’i Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. It also highlighted the community’s efforts in Quranic studies, restoration of Fatemi monuments, social upliftment, the Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment scheme, medical aid and the food security program – Faizul Mawaa’id al- Burhaniyah.
Throughout the presentations, the floor was open to questions or clarifications. “Unfortunately there is a deliberate misconception about the Bohras, especially in Sri Lanka” Mufaddal told them. “People are told that the Bohras do not allow non-community members to enter the masjid, and if they do, the entire masjid is washed after they leave. This is totally incorrect. The masjid is a place of worship, and anyone is allowed to enter,” he said adding, “It’s practically impossible to wash the masjid because we have wall to wall carpets!”
“Some are also told that the Bohras do not read the Quran, nor pray 5 times a day or fast during Ramadan”. The visitors agreed that they had heard such things and were glad that these misconceptions were clarified. “It was really an eye opener, every minute of (the) presentation I learned something new… honestly made me realize how ignorant I was” commented Altaf Ahmed, the coordinator for the CCC.
Religious tolerance was a key theme to the entire presentation. “This isn’t anything new, the Prophet Eesa SAW and Mohammed SA have taught us to love everyone as you would love your self. The Fatemi Imams, especially the 14th Imam al-Moiz founded al Azhar University in Cairo based on these principles of tolerance, where all religions (regardless of whether they were Muslims, Christians, Jews) had the freedom to learn and practice their own beliefs in peace.
During the masjid tour, a brief understanding of Fatemi Architecture was explained. The visitors were also surprised to see two floors of the masjid dedicated for women, which is uncommon in Sri Lanka.
“The mosque architecture was beautiful. Never seen anything quite like it in other Lankan mosques.” commented Adilah who used to visit the community masjid in Singapore as well.
The visit was a great initiative in breaking down barriers. It is a timely event to unite the Muslim brethren and set aside our differences for the unity of Islam and spread peace throughout global communities.