I have never hidden the fact that my relationship with Islam and my faith is a bit up and down….probably more down than up a lot of the time. Growing up I didn’t really have much to do with the masjids. I guess because then a lot of them didn’t have proper facilities for women. In addition to this it was also said that it is the men that need to go to the mosque; the women have the ease of praying at home and do not have to go to the mosque. However this does not mean they should be prevented from going if they want to.
Nowadays mosques are making the conscious effort to ensure there are spaces for the women too and to include them in talks and classes. A couple of years ago I first stepped foot in two of our main mosques; even though I had contributed a small amount financially towards the building of one I had never actually been in it. And I was in awe of the beauty of them.
Recently I was again in awe of a beautiful masjid: The Cambridge Central Mosque.
I had heard about the ‘Eco Mosque’ as the hubby works in Cambridge and he had watched it being built with interest. It is Europes first Eco Mosque and the effect on the environment has hugely been taken into consideration when designing and building it.
Cambridge Central Mosque – Europes First Eco Mosque
So how is it an Eco Mosque? This is down to the day to day running of it.
- Rainwater and Grey water are used to flush the toilets and and irrigate the grounds
- Large skylights in the roof are used to light the building
- Low energy LED bulbs are used when necessary to help light the building
- Photovoltaic cells on the roof help generate renewable energy from sunlight
- Heat pumps in the basement to heat and cool the building
- The timber used is sustainably sourced spruce
As soon as you see the mosque you are in awe of the structure. The timber is the mosques defining feature. The columns support the roof in an interlaced octagonal lattice vault structure.
Cambridge central mosque is open too all. They state:
The mosque is non-denominational and welcomes Muslims of all backgrounds, Sunni, Shi’i, or other. For instance, the 16 pillars found in the main-prayer hall symbolize the 12 imams of Shia tradition and the 4 schools of thought of the Sunni practice.
The women’s area is behind the men with a partition. This partition is at varying heights so women can choose which section they would prefer to be in. There is a high screen to allow full seclusion, waist height and then no partition in the central area. There is also a first floor gallary or those who prefer full privacy.
The wudu facilities have also been designed with thoughtfulness to include a disabled toilet and also a baby changing room.
Even the brickwork is sure to amaze you. Patterned bricks with Arabic inscriptions greet you as you walk in along with stunning patterned doors and decorations.
At a cost of 23 million to build the mosque is well worth a visit. There is an underground car park, plenty of spaces for bikes and a small garden with benches for you to relax in. To learn more about the mosque you can visit their website: Cambridge Central Mosque.