The Year 11 RS pupils went to London Central Mosque to get a first-hand taste of Islam. The pupils arrived in good time, and en route managed to squeeze in a Burger King. They were greeted by Peter, who knew what it felt like to be unfamiliar with the religion, having converted from Catholicism. After introductions, Peter took the pupils on a tour of the Mosque, explaining key teachings and beliefs as they walked. Much of this was key as the new GCSE exam is not only 50% Islam, but requires a knowledge of Islamic scriptures.
The pupils were then taken to the exhibition hall, where they could complete their own research on key beliefs of Islam, the Five Pillars, the History of Islam, the life of Muhammad and prophethood, the Islamic views on creation and the value of the world. Peter was able to answer further questions, which centred on the importance of the Five Pillars, prophethood and the life of Jesus.
The group then proceeded to the worship hall for Asr (afternoon) prayer. It was interesting to observe how Muslims carried out their prayer. Many of the men praying were businessmen who had come in from work. London Central Mosque holds about 3000 men in its main worship room, but for Jummah (Friday) prayers, up to 7000 people can fit in, praying in the corridors, the courtyard and any other available space. Before we left we were able to see where Muslims perform Wudu, ritual cleansing done before prayer. The girls went in to the female area (and commented on how much smaller the women’s prayer space was) and the boys saw the men’s washroom.
All-in-all it was a fascinating day, and everyone learnt a great deal hearing about the world’s second largest and fastest growing faith. It was an excellent opportunity to question a Muslim and interesting to see and hear some of the key differences (and similarities) between Christianity and Islam.
Next stop, the mock examinations! Hopefully this experience will stand the Year 11 in good stead to get high marks in these examinations.
Thanks to the Year 11s for representing the School so well and to Mrs Willoughby for accompanying us.