Visiting Goodge Street Mosque

Staff and students visit Goodge Street Mosque
Staff and students visit Goodge Street Mosque

Content writer Cassandra Khoo took part in an organised visit to the Muslim World League London Office (MWLLO), locally known as Goodge Street Mosque, with UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser, Reid Humble. Here, she reflects on what she learned.

On 20 February, UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, Reid Humble brought a group of 11 UCL students to visit Goodge Street Mosque. Situated right at the corner of Goodge Street above ICCO , ’the People’s Pizzeria,’ Goodge Street Mosque is a mere 10-minute walk away from the UCL student centre, making it a convenient place for Muslims to practice their faith.

The tour was organised for UCL students interested to learn more about Islam. Taking into account students from all faith and worldview backgrounds, the UCL Chaplaincy and Interfaith adviser particularly encouraged students with a limited understanding of Islamic beliefs, practices, and identitiesáto join the visit.

Ms Fauzia Saeed was our friendly tour guide at the mosque. Upon arrival, she greeted us at the entrance of the mosque and passed around headscarves for anyone who wished to wear them. Granted, it was stressed that it was not an obligation to do so, and the mosque staff were extremely friendly. Ms Fauzia brought the female students to visit the ladies’ prayer room on the ground floor of the mosque, while male students visited a separate male prayer room.

We learned about the differences between Sadaqah and Zakat - which are voluntary charity and compulsory contributions, respectively. It was eye-opening to learn about the kindness behind Sadaqah, which is an unmandated aid in Islam and therefore selflessness from the heart. Similarly, we learned about the sense of community in Zakat where contributions are given specifically to certain categories of people, such as the poor, needy, and recent reverts to Islam. Staff at Goodge Street Mosque ensure that Zakat contributions are passed on to the right categories of people, while donations made to the Sadaqah box can be received by anyone in need.

We witnessed the Zuhr prayers at 1.15 pm. The mosque filled up quickly with Muslims performing prayers during lunch break, as the mosque is in proximity to UCL and other universities, hospitals, and offices. Our UCL tour group sat at the back of the mosque and observed the prayers while following along with English translations on paper. Worshippers faced the direction of the Mecca and prayed, accompanied by an I mam who led the prayer session.

After the Zuhr prayers, Ms Fauzia continued our tour. We saw the permanent exhibitions on the third and fourth floors of the mosque, where thematic posters such as ’Islamic Architecture,’ ’Astrology,’ and ’The Rights of Women Guaranteed by Islam’ are open to the public. Schoolchildren, tour groups, and practicing Muslims alike all come to the mosque to conduct prayers and learn more about Islam, interculturality, and practicing faith.

We were then treated to Arabic coffee and dates in the conference room of the mosque. Imam Fathi Labidi joined our group and encouraged us to ask questions about Islam. We collectively expressed interest in Islamic architecture, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and practicing faith in London.

Free Iftar meals during Ramadan

During the month of Ramadan, the Muslim World League London Office (MWLLO) at Goodge Street Mosque will provide free Iftar meals for Muslims breaking fast. Dates will be provided at the start of the Maghrib prayer, followed by a one-course meal and juice after the prayers. Ms Fauzia Saeed and Imam Fathi Labidi encouraged us, along with any students and staff, to stop by the mosque to try one of their delicious Iftar meals.

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