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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