Getting Lost Around the World
A few years back we moved to Muscat, a city we had lived in before and loved dearly, after six years living elsewhere. There was one thing I was sure of as I tried to plan my family’s third international move; at least I wouldn’t struggle to find my way around this time.
My sense of direction is appallingly bad. In my 15 years of moving around the world, I have been hopelessly lost looking for mosques in Muscat and souqs in Syria. I’ve struggled to find the right path out of West Beirut, and the road from Amman to Madaba. I’ve been lost in the outbacks of Malaysian jungles and on the endless plains of Jæren. Last time we drove from Muscat to Dubai we arrived at the hotel two hours late, my husband and I no longer on speaking terms. Yes, I was navigating. No, he hadn’t programmed the sat nav as requested.
So, moving to a familiar city for once reassured me. I knew my way. I wouldn’t get lost every day.
Finding Al Ameen Mosque
Of course, I was wrong. Muscat and its roads had changed beyond recognition in the six years we had been away. I got lost every day for the first month. Invariably, somewhere in Bousher; home to Mohammed al Ameen Mosque, also known as Bahwan Mosque or Bousher Mosque.
Al Ameen Mosque, a three domed dream in white and golden hues, sits on a hilltop and is a stunningly beautiful landmark. I have wanted to visit forever but only discovered last week that I could.
The Beauty of Calm, Symmetrical Elegance
Entering the courtyard at 8 am blew my morning stress away. I had hoped a guide or some information might be available but alas, that was not the case. The security guard, however, couldn’t have been nicer. He gallantly offered to show me around and guided me past the washing team (who are in my thoughts…just the idea of keeping all that white marble sparkling clean!), the library and main prayer hall, trying his best to answer my questions.
“Yes, those are copies of the Quran.”
“No, women don’t pray in here.”
“Yes, the mosque has a Quran school.”
I simply loved the clean colors – shades of white and gold, pale green and polished dark wood – the symmetry and the repetition of three. Three arches, three domes, three chandeliers. Standing in the courtyard, surrounded by clean white lines, I felt serenity and gratefulness. I would have loved to linger – perhaps next time.
What You Need to Know
Al Ameen Mosque can accommodate up to 2.100 worshippers and has a separate ladies prayer hall as well as a library, open from 8.30 am. Children above the age of 7 are welcome.
The mosque is open for visitors from 7 to 11 every day except Friday to non-Muslims. You need to cover completely according to Islamic dress code.