Largest mosque in East Africa marks 95th anniversary amid pandemic

25th Sep 2020
Largest mosque in East Africa marks 95th anniversary amid pandemic


(Photo credit: Mbarak Abucheri)

Mbarak Abucheri

East Africa’s biggest mosque marked its 95th-anniversary amid the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month.

Jamia Mosque in Nairobi, Kenya’s bustling capital, was founded by Syed Maulana Abdullah Shah in the year 1902 but constructed between 1925 and 1933 due to an earlier decree prohibiting Indians and Arabs from owning land in Nairobi.

The mosque continues to nurture the Muslim faithful in spiritual affairs due to its strategic position in the Central Business District.

Over the years, the mosque underwent several transformations to accommodate the increasing numbers of worshippers especially during Friday prayers and events such as the Eid prayers.

In an extraordinary move this year, the congregational prayers at Jamia Mosque, Nairobi was temporarily stopped for five months due to the wake of growing fears of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was reached after a sequence of consultative meetings where the Jamia Mosque Committee which oversees the country’s largest mosque in the country engaged the Majlis al-‘Ulama (the council of Islamic scholars of Jamia Mosque) and the Kenya Association of Muslim Medical Practitioners to explore avenues to protect the community from the deadly disease.

The committee described the closure as “a painful decision” but observed that it was made in the best interest for the community.

Exactly five months since the mosque was closed to the public after the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, hundreds of worshippers once again trooped into the iconic mosque after it opened its doors on August 18 for prayers.

But the worshippers were greeted with a different display as before, all the carpets in the mosque were removed and the prayers were made in individual marked places due to the protocols set by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Inter-Faith Council which allowed places of worship to reopen based on social distancing and capacity.

Worshippers are now forced to come to the mosque already done the wuḍū (ablution) as ablutions facilities are closed and also bring their prayer mats as part of the protocols.

The mosque administrator, Said Abdallah stated that the mosque in its 95-year history was never closed even when it was being transformed into a modern complex in 1999.

“We have never witnessed the mosque being closed for such a long period, but we are grateful that it is now reopened and operating with the given protocols due to the Coronavirus disease,” he said.

According to the Dawa’ah department, all annual activities which were lined up by the mosque were suspended including the annual Qur’ān and Hadith Memorization Competition which was planned for the month of Ramadan.

“This year has been an unusual one for us since most of the mosque activities such as daily Islamic lecture session (Darsas) before and after prayers have now stopped due to the protocols set by the MoH,” said a spokesman.

The Friday Bulletin, a flagship publication of Jamia Mosque which has been in print for almost 16 years is now available online (www.jamiamosque.co.ke) and other online platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and email due to the pandemic.

Leave a Comment

What is 12 + 12 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets