- “When I heard that all the mosques closed due to the coronavirus, I decided to build a mosque in my playroom.”
- “I asked my parents if they would help me build it with some leftover cardboard from the packaging of a desk. It took me a week to make…”
- “When it is time to pray, I do the adhan and Iqama. My parents pray in there with me. My favorite time to be in my masjid is Maghrib…”
In one of his authentic Hadiths, Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that “The whole earth has been created clean and pure (tahur) and as a place of worship, a mosque,” [Sahih Muslim No. 1058] This is why he and his Companions would pray wherever the prayers were due.
The first constructed mosque was built when the Prophet and his Companions migrated from Makkah to Madinah, in a location where his camel, Qaswa, rested.
Originally an open-air building, a small construction, barely 100 feet by 117 feet, served as a place of prayer on one side, or a community center for the locals, a court to adjudicate matters, a religious school to learn, a place for entertainment, and even a venue for social gatherings.
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Fast-forward to 2020 and the vast majority of mosques in the UK are simply buildings in which people pray, barely open outside of these times, and no longer serving as cultural hubs.
Part of this is due to how society has grown and changed. We have more infrastructure, so it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What is bad however is how the coronavirus pandemic has imposed on us that almost all mosques, almost everywhere, have shut down, so as not to spread the virus further.
My Home Is My Mosque
For one young boy from Bradford, Yahya Murad Hussain, 8-year-old student who studies at Bradford Grammar School, his attachment to mosques means that as those in his city closed down, he decided to build his own at home. When asked why and how he built it Yahya replied,
“When I heard that all the mosques closed due to the coronavirus, I decided to build a mosque in my playroom.”
“I asked my parents if they would help me build it with some leftover cardboard from the packaging of a desk. It took me a week to make as I painted some parts and had to wait for the paint to dry. I liked making the stain glass windows with quality street wrappers but my favorite part was painting the dome green.”
Yahya continues, “When it is time to pray, I do the adhan and Iqama. My parents pray in there with me. My favorite time to be in my masjid is Maghrib, as I can switch on the fairy lights and it feels really nice.”
Beyond prayers, the mosque also serves as his very own entertainment hub. “Sometimes I read books in there, today I read ‘Riding a donkey backwards’ which is a book about wise and foolish tales of Mulla Nasruddin. It is a really funny book.”
Speaking of his faith, Yahya said, “My faith helps me make sense of the world. It makes me feels safe and happy. I think that I would be a different person if I did not have my Imaan [faith].”
The Spirit of Ramadan
We in the 21st century live very fast and busy lives. Ramadan is one of the times of the year where many of us make efforts to slow down, grow our faith with additional acts of worship, do charitable deeds, and engage more with our local communities.
On account of the coronavirus, this year, for safety, society is subjected to social isolation. So I asked Yahya what Ramadan means for him.
“It makes me happy when it is Ramadan. We decorate the house with balloons. I have a good deed calendar which reminds me to carry out good deeds and get lots of rewards. When I am able to fast, I like it because I can do something the grown up’s do and stay up late! And at the same time I am pleasing Allah,” he said.
“We get together with family every Friday and do iftar together. It will be a very different Ramadan this year.”
Last year I tried fasting on the weekend. My mum said to try fasting for half the day as it was a long fast but I wanted to keep the full fast. I found it really difficult, it was a very hot summer’s day and I was not able to have a drink of water. But when I opened my fast at Maghrib, it made me realize how lucky I am. I was grateful to Allah for all the yummy food and drink I have, especially Vimto!”
Building Your Own Mosque
While much of society is shut, Yahya who lists his favorite activities as ju-jitsu, basketball, swimming, archery, horse-riding, and cricket, has found a novel way of being creative during social isolation, tapping into his faith, and preparing for Ramadan.
When asked if Yahya would encourage others to do the same he replied, “Yes, I would encourage other people to build a mosque at home. It is a good fun building and decorating it.”
“It is nice to have a special place in the house where we can all pray together. This is a good time to do it just before Ramadan, I’m hoping we can pray taraweeh in my masjid.”
The mosque may once have been the heart of a community, but during the coronavirus, there is nothing stopping any of us from ‘making our own mosques’ and keeping the spirit of that heart in our homes.