The Friday sermon that a thousand people DIDN’T hear!

Today, Friday, I decided to attend Friday prayers at the newly inaugurated King Hussein mosque. I live just a hundred meters away from the mosque, so my son and I walked the short distance, as did thousands of people who wanted to attend the first Friday prayers held there.

I am no fan of traditionalist architecture, nonetheless I found the mosque quite impressive. I’s relative simplicity and sense of scale are pleasant. Anyway, I’ll leave the judgement to the architectural critics, as this is not a review of the mosque’s design.

We arrived just after the noon prayer call, but we discovered that the main hall of the mosque was already full. So we found a place along with hundreds (if not over 1000) people in the courtyard. Then the sermon started, or so we guessed, judging from the distant mumblings we were hearing from inside the mosque.

For a second I thought there was no loudspeakers in the courtyard, but no, every column around us had 4 mini loudspeakers. But it apparently did not occur so the geniuses running the show to switch on the external sound system.

Imagine a huge mass of people, just sitting there, not getting one single word from the sermon, for half an hour! It was surreal! Imagine my 8 year old son’s reaction. For him it was an unbelievably boring endurance test (try to get a kid like him to sit still for just 5 minutes, let alone over 30 minutes).

With all the change and growth in Jordan, we just can’t get some basic things right. In fact I think that we’re even failing to get our ‘showcase’ projects right anymore.

It’s all part of what I call ‘Jordan’s Tackiness’ (tacky means ‘of poor taste and quality’). Here you have Jordan’s new State Mosque with no sound for the courtyard on the first Friday prayers.

One other thing worth mentioning. I was shocked to read in the newspapers that while the mosque has space for more than 5000 worshippers,the space alloted to the women’s quarter only takes 350 people. Today I saw many women attempting to enter that quarter and being tuned back for lack of space!


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8 Responses to “The Friday sermon that a thousand people DIDN’T hear!”

  1. Hamzeh N. Says:

    Infuriating

  2. Nas Says:

    loool ah come on man…there are bound to be technical malfunctions…even at a rolling stones concert! trust me! :-D

    there will be other fridays inshallah

  3. friend Says:

    Great Post.
    Ironically where are the “nerds” in Jordan to step out and do something about it???

  4. Oleander Says:

    Poor planning, we do a lot of that in Jordan.

    Incidentally, today I was subjected to a 30 minute sermon that I wish I didn’t hear, but that’s the case almost every week here.

  5. Hala Khalaf Says:

    Well, of course there’s place for 5000 men and only 350 women, didn’t you know women aren’t that encouraged to leave their homes in the first place? Why should they have the wonderful sense of community and togetherness of praying together in a mosque? They can just do it at home, and quickly too, so they can spend the rest of the time in the kitchen, getting lunch ready for their husband to enjoy when he comes back from Salat el Duhur on Friday.

    Ahhhh….sorry for sarcasm, but it really is so infuriating…..I understand that they would expect more men than women to frequent the mosques, but this is a HUGE difference we’re talking about. What a pity….it’s such a beautiful mosque too.

  6. bilotee Says:

    everyone I knew who attended yesterday were so disappointed.
    1- there were columns everywhere that just got in the way
    2- the interior: poorly furnished
    3- sound: none existant
    4- really bad speech (khoutbeh) for those who were lucky to hear it
    5- and lots of lost space
    6- fianlly, the worst of all, there was a special section (just infront of the Imam) just for the royalty. and there was a wall to seperate it from the rest with just two windows that opened the two areas through. now what in God’s name is that?

  7. onzlo Says:

    I dont know what is worst, going to the mosque to hear the khutbeh and not being able to, or being subjected to two competing mosques every friday who broadcast the full khutbeh “nancy ajram fujoor and all…” to the whole neighbourhood at full blast.

  8. Babylonian Says:

    “But it apparently did not occur to the geniuses running the show to switch on the external sound system.”

    Running the show….

    And therein lies the problem…show. It’s apparently just as common in the East as it is here in the West – worship services have become shows – productions – a stage act for an audience – rather than a participatory event or experience.

    And with special seating sections for royalty, no less? Wow.

    Rest assured, they’ll get the bugs in the show worked out.

    And while you will leave the design critiques to the architectural critics, it sounds like you were looking for a meaningful mosque experience that was not found in what amounted to a poorly designed theatre.

    I thought this was only a Christian church problem. Sad to see it is in new Jordanian mosques as well. Take a lesson from our failures: the bigger and grander the house of worship, the poorer the worship experience, generally.

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