On Saturday 21st December 2019 students aged 11-16 got a chance to go and visit the newly opened Cambridge mosque (Britain’s first eco mosque). It was the first school trip organised by the MCEC for the Saturday school students and it was a fun and educational experience for us all.
We arrived at Cambridge mosque after a one-and-a-half-hour coach journey and we were invited into the cafe by one of the volunteers, who later gave the girls a tour of the mosque while the Imam gave a tour to the boys. First, we were shown the communal gardens that led from the busy street into the mosque, it was a space designed to make passers-by and the people in the mosque just stop for a second, listen to the sound of the fountain and relax. Our tour guide also highlighted the brickwork on the walls which were arranged in the pattern of Arabic calligraphy, and the planting to encourage bee populations in the summer. Inside the main room, we took off our shoes and were escorted into the main prayer hall.
The mosque only had one prayer hall, in which men and women could pray together separated by a temporary wooden partition, and which had a prayer capacity of over 1000 worshippers. Throughout the entire mosque ran the pillars that supported the entire structure, made of sustainably sourced timber. These were shaped in Sweden into tree-shaped structures and enhanced the beauty of the mosque. Towards the back, there was a separate soundproof room for mothers with young children, a framed piece of the kiswah and a staircase leading to a balcony overlooking the main prayer hall. Other eco-friendly features included the wudu toilets that used filtered rainwater, passive heating and cooling systems and a design that maximizes natural light (to reduce the need for electric lighting), all of which the Imam spoke to us about. Finally, we took a look at the museum in which portrayed the timeline of Islamic technology and artefacts, before praying zuhr together, eating lunch and then returning back to our mosque.
Overall, this experience was hugely enjoyable and worthwhile. We learnt a lot about the mosque and its eco features as it was inspired by traditional as well as modern architecture. It was also great to have a chance to visit this wonderful place. This was a fantastic trip and we hope to have more trips like this in the future.
Article contributed by Nubah Ahmed and Haieqa Hashmi