Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shops at mosques

I'm intrigued by one of the things that I see increasingly around town - mosques with a commercial establishment as part of the complex.

Most often it seems to be a food outlet of some sort - cafe, restaurant, grocery store.

Here's one on Al Wasl Road:

And attached to a very small mosque on Beach Road, the Chalet restaurant - a favourite of ours, we go there quite often.

I assume the rent collected goes towards the mosque and I don't remember seeing it in the old days. Does anyone know how it all works? Is it something new?


LDU said...

That doesn't seem right. I think there's some sort of ruling which prohibits conducting business within the parameters of a mosque but i'm not too sure.

I've never seen anything like it in Australia. Western Australia to be more specific. And I've never seen any mosques besides the ones they have here, so it might be some sort of Arab cultural thing.

Not too sure really.

Brn said...

This really struck me as strange when I first saw it here in Al Ain too.
When I asked about it, someone told me (FWIW) that the shops contribute their profits to the mosque for upkeep and salary for the imam.

Seabee said...

brn, thanks, that's what I guessed it might be for. I'm sure it's a relatively new thing though, I certainly don't recall seeing it in the past.

samuraisam said...

It's a pity they design quite beautiful mosques and then chuck a fast-food outlet with 7 tons of neon lighting out the front...

nzm said...

Good to see The Chalet reopened after the Beach Road construction and then their own renovations.

The Germans who stay at the JBH will be happy again!

kaya said...

Well Sam has a point, they could tone down the nasty neon lighting. But yes I suppose in one way its a symbiotic relationship wher the rent of the shop goes towards the upkeep of the mosque and the Imam.
In this part of the world the mosques come under the ministry (awqaf) But in the subcon, people privately undertake the building of mosques, and it is the community which then pays a salary (so to spk )to the Imam.
It does tend to take away from the beauty of the structure.

Zafar said...

I think its a good idea to keep the business and religion together. The religion (Islam) does not preach seclusion from the world, the religion and life goes hand in hand. If these business establishments does not create nuisance to the mosque and the worshippers then it should not be a problem.

I am from Pakistan and I have seen almost all the mosques with few shops the rent of which always go to mosque and ofcourse there is small group of committee appointed by the residents of the area including the imam of mosque which takes care of the expenses and audit etc. This is in addition to the governance that is done by the Awqaf department that is responsible of all religious buildings in the country.

The prepartition sub continent during Mughal and other monarchs the mosques were built with huge land normally meant for mosque. The land was used either to grow differnt things depending upon the season or to build a bazaar the rent of which used to go to the mosque. The examples of these can be seen in the Shahi mosques in Lahore and Delhi. This also adds to the hustle bustle of the community.

I think its a good idea if followed right from the begining and the mosque is designed while keeping the provision of shops so that the shops comprehend with the mosque. This will take the financila load off from the government to take care of mosques.

The only care one has to take is that the shops does not involve into business or activities that disturb the sanity or peace of the mosque.

Seabee said...

Zafar thank you for that explanation.

Anonymous said...

Its nothing new, and it depends what you mean by old Dubai.

To some people Old Dubai is when Town Centre was the go to place, to other its Beach Centre or Al Ghurair Centre.

I can remember mosques having small cafes, restaurants or little shops attached to them going back 18+ years. So no its really nothing new.

liminallounge said...

I have noticed this and wondered about it as well. Thanks for some answers everyone.