Mosque Monday: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

20150424_104312-EFFECTS

I think my religious philosophy is most in line with a quote from the 13th century Persian poet Rumi:

“I looked in temples, churches and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.”

While I don’t ascribe to a firm doctrine when it comes to faith (I’m more of the “spiritual but not religious” type), I do find something incomparably majestic in visiting temples, churches and mosques alike. Many of the mosques here in the States are modest in adornment, but there are mosques all across the globe that have architecture and design that literally take your breath away. So, during the month-long holy event of Ramadan (which this year is from April 23 – May 23), I will be featuring one of the beautiful mosques that I have been lucky enough to visit each Monday in a feature I am calling Mosque Monday.

IMG_1923_1024

This isn’t about religion for me, but it is about honoring the beauty that religion can inspire. To me, it is that Divine in all of our hearts that connects us. And there is no way to not feel connected when you set your bare foot inside a stunning mosque.

20150424_103814

In April 2015, my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful long layover in Abu Dhabi. We had about 22 hours on our way back from Thailand and we decided to make the most of our limited time in such a cool place. The very top of our very short bucket list was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

When most people think of the UAE, I think the first word that comes to mind is luxury. Things are expected to look new, pristine and grand. The aptly named Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is all of those things. Built between 1996 and 2007, it is by far the youngest mosque I have ever visited, but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in splendor.

IMG_1937_1024

20150424_115006
The carpet felt like a dream on my blistered feet!

As with all mosques, you must take your shoes off before entering. Often the carpet is silky, but nearing threadbare. Not in the Grand Mosque, however. The carpet under your toes is thick and plush, and at over 60,000 square feet (yes, you read that right – 60 THOUSAND square feet), it is famed to be the largest carpet in the world.

20150424_114750

Every where you look, there are more unbelievably beautiful details. Mother of pearl inlaid marble, intricately carved wood, and chandeliers that are adorned with Swarovski crystal.

20150424_121910

 

The vista outside the Mosque is probably even more stunning that the inside, and it looks different, but equally spectacular, at different times of the day. We were luck enough to have our visit coincide with sunset, which allowed us to experience it against the hazy pink sky, but also to enjoy the majesty of the reflecting pools illuminated in the evening.

IMG_1915_1024

IMG_1914_1024

IMG_1928_1024

IMG_1951_1024

20150424_104701

IMG_1948_1024

But aside from all of the grandeur, the most impressive element of the Grand Mosque is how unbelievably inviting it is. It is a fully functioning religious building, but there is a significant attention devoted to education and sharing its beauty with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In my experience, you usually have to find an amazing local guide to make you feel really welcome in a mosque as a non-Muslim, but at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, all are embraced and welcome to share in the Divine that they have to offer.

The Grand Mosque is truly breathtaking, but it is just one of the stunning mosques that I have been fortunate enough to visit. Check back in next Monday for a look at another equally beautiful (but remarkably different) mosque. Till then, Ciao Ciao, Darling!

IMG_1904_1024

 

 

Hello, Dear Readers

Processed with VSCO with m4 preset

I know its been awhile. I know I told you once before that this blog was still active and that there was all sorts of exciting content to come. I know I made a lot of promises. And I know that I woefully did not deliver.

But you are here! Faithful and reading, despite my shortcomings, and for that I thank you. I will strive to entertain and to deliver something – though I am not yet sure what – to make it worth your while.

Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels
Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels

So, where have I been during my ghostdom, you may be wondering. What is it that has been so compelling as to keep me from my dear reader(s)? Well, I had the baby that I announced in my last post (which I am sure you have already been able to infer based on time and based on the fact that I am not – though I often do still feel like – an elephant). So now I am a mother of three – stepmom to a teenager, and mommy to a 4 year old and a now 9-month old. Now, for any of you that haven’t had the pleasure, let me tell you something you may not know: Momming is HARD. And Momming is time consuming. It is one thousand times worth it, but it is damn tiring. Add into that a pretty demanding 9-5(okay, who are we kidding, more like 7), a near desperation to try to get our very lived-in condo market-ready, and just enough bumps to keep my travel-addiction from making me itch.

IMG_38841 (2)
Momming is HARD!

It has been busy.

And now this sneaky little thing called the novel coronavirus has crept in.

We are all socially distancing, which means staying in our homes with whatever and whomever we have there, and waiting this whole crazy pandemic out. It’s like a global lottery that has no real winners (unless you are one of the perpetual winners in life that has so much that you don’t even have to care about something like this), and a vast array of degree of losers. In this, I have been blessed with luck in so many ways (primarily that both my husband and I do still have our jobs), but oh man do I also feel sometimes like I drew the short straw.

So many people keep touting about all this “extra” time we have on our hands. Extra time for reflection, extra time at home with our families. Extra time to explore our hobbies. Extra time to finally read that book. Well, none of those people have kids under the age of 5. For us, there is no extra. Sure, I don’t have a commute anymore, but that also means that I don’t have the furtive peace that I enjoy in those rides between Job #1 and Job #2.

And while I don’t for a second (okay, maybe for a second, but you do too, so don’t judge) pretend to suffer as much as those losing their lives, losing their loved ones, or fighting on the front lines, while I thought my life before was hard, I want to laugh Pre-Corona-Kelly’s smug little face. SHE thought she had no time to write. Well, Corona-Kelly is burning the candle at both ends and a little in the middle, and goddamnit, she is going to write. And hopefully when this is all over, Post-Corona-Kelly (who will be blessed enough to finally be able to travel again) will keep up the tradition.

I know I promised more to come last time. And so even if you read this and liked it and all its gusto, you probably don’t believe me now. But, there is a little thing called “schedule post for later” and since I know myself and I know that even the best of intentions can go awry, I have actually already written the first piece in the content that I am promising, and you can find it here at 8pm this evening.

Till then, Ciao Ciao, Darling!

Processed with VSCO with x4 preset