Pulling into the driveway, I was overtaken by the design and size of the newly constructed expanded complex. It reminded me of photographs I've seen of the Shah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran, with imposing arches decorated with inlaid small blue tiles. I was already a few minutes late for my iftar (since I got lost on the way), but just my luck the Shia fiqh indicates the time for maghrib a few minutes later than in sunni fiqh, so I made it just in time to not miss any action. The foyer is beautifully decorated with colored marble flooring and mahogany wood encasing the walls from floor to ceiling. I heard the maghrib adhan and quickly entered the prayer hall.
|Men's iftar held in the original building|
|Maulana Sulayman Hasan Abidi advising|
After iftar, he acquainted me about the original facility and then guided me into the new building, which I should add had been constructed "green" using environmentally friendly materials. Currently, the interior of the eastern wing of the complex consisting of a library and classrooms is still under construction so he showed me the new prayer hall and basement which were officially inaugurated almost two months ago. As I walked with him, his long, black cloak resting on his shoulders gracefully breezed behind him through the halls. He discussed with me the different aspects of the masjid and Shia belief, as well as the future goals which Baitul Ilm is in the midst of acquiring. The prayer hall is a large space, and a magnificent dome with a calligraphic verse from Surah Baqarah around its circumference floats in the center. As we continued to converse, Dua al-Iftitah (a special dua which Shia Muslims recite every night in Ramadan) was being recited over the speakers and listened to attentively by fellow worshipers.
At this point it was getting late and Maulana Sulayman had to get back to his duties so we bid our farewells. He invited me to visit again after the full completion of the center, and I hope, inshaAllah, that will be soon!
|Main Entrance Foyer|