Sunday 1 January 2012: 12:20 Prayer time
I am dreadful at planning, I hate it...I love to just go with the flow and see where my nose or my wheels take me. I had an idea of a 2012 Blip, but I ended up with one at 12:20!
A windy day, ensured the fresh air I craved and I set off to the Hassan Fathy Mosque in New Qorna.
Wrapping a scarf around my neck, as I had a t-shirt on, I tentatively walked inside. I was very aware it was close to prayer time (Dhuhr) and did not want to offend anyone by my being there.
Shoes and ship ship (Flip flops) were at the edge of the handwoven carpets, laid perfectly, in preparation for the people coming to pray.
I have heard this call to prayer, thousands of times, but I have never witnessed what actually happens inside a Mosque. I stood quietly in awe with an elder who I had begun to chat with as he greeted the arriving men. Some I knew and welcomed me to share the moment with them.
A man removed his shoes and walked over to a microphone and switched it on. He began the call to prayer, facing Mecca, as others had already began to tread the colourful carpets.
The sound that came from this man was intense and haunting...Muslims pray 5 times a day and I felt overwhelmed by the power of Islam, as I imagined people all over the World uniting for Dhuhr. For the first time I felt I understood more about it as I had the privilege of being an onlooker, I felt respect for the people.
The Hassan Fathy Mosque is part of a village that was built in 1948 of mud brick. He pioneered this type of building here in Egypt, the village is probably the most famous of all his work, as it features in his book 'Architecture for the poor'