A temporary mosque tucked away amid the high-rise towers of Al Markaziyah may have had something experts say is lacking in some mosques built before the introduction of Abu Dhabi’s new mosque development guidelines: a sense of local tradition.
It is midday and almost 40°C when Syed Ahmed arrives at his local mosque with a car boot full of small cartons of mineral water.
Ahmed will not be in Abu Dhabi for Ramadan but the water is a donation towards the iftar meals his fellow worshippers will soon share each evening after the maghrib prayer.
Amjad Iqbal, the mosque’s imam, receives the donation gratefully and stores it in the janitor’s room of an adjacent building.
There is nowhere to keep anything in the mosque because it has no permanent walls, ceiling, or even a name.
Sandwiched between an electricity substation, a derelict building and one of the many high-rise towers in Al Markaziyah, it is made of little more than a tattered woven screen that forms its qiblah wall, a low wooden rail made from recycled pallets that defines the prayer area, a faded carpet and a collection of brightly coloured prayer mats.
Remarkably, given the nature of its construction, Mr Ahmed and almost 80 fellow worshippers have been gathering to pray outdoors in this area for almost 12 years.
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