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Mosquée De Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is visiting and praying at different mosques around the world. I love admiring the architecture of the buildings and seeing how each one is so different, yet beautifully crafted. Even if you are not a Muslim, I highly encourage you to visit if you can. It brings so much tranquility. Direct exposure to mosques challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam, promoting a more nuanced and accurate understanding of the religion and its followers.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Oman

I think my love for mosques came from the time I spent in Turkey a few years ago, where a mosque was constantly accessible. Though I had the chance to visit mosques that are both accessible to tourists and those strictly open for Muslims, you may find some tips I have come up with below to ensure you have a great experience while respecting the religion.

Some of my favorite mosques include Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. These two are open to non-Muslims as well, but have set rules in place of when to visit, how to dress, etc.

1. Check the hours of operation.

The Old Friday Mosque, Maldives

Some mosques, like Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat (an absolute must visit!), is only open to public from 8 am to 11 am Saturdays to Thursdays. Most of them may close during prayer times and/or may be off limits to non-Muslims. In some cases, you may only be allowed to snap a picture from outside only. Keep in mind that there may also be local or global events that impact your visit, such as religious festivals and/or holidays.

2. Dress modestly.

Places like Shaykh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi have shops accessible where you can buy the appropriate attire prior to your visit. There are places that allow you to borrow a long dress and scarf for the duration of your visit. For women, it's good to have a scarf handy, so that you can cover your hair. Additionally, as it is not appropriate for women to show skin, wearing long sleeves may be best. Avoid clothing that is too tight and/or revealing.

3. Remove your shoes before entering the prayer area.

Wear socks if you don't feel comfortable walking barefoot. As some places are quite big and filled with tourists, I strongly advise you to bring a bag (I always have a string bag handy for this) to put your shoes in and carry with you wherever you go.

4. Be mindful.

Hassan II Mosque, Morocco

As with any place of worship, be respectful of your surroundings. Don't raise your voice. Keep your phone on silent or turn it off.

If there are people praying in the area you find yourself in, avoid walking in front of them.

In some countries, it is frowned upon to take pictures of women, thus it is best to avoid it as much as possible. In other cases, mosques may prohibit photography. Always ask permission first.

5. Take a tour.

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque, Bahrain

Beyond admiring the grand beauty of the places, some places also allow you to learn about its history. Why not dive into the story to better appreciate what you see in front of you? Taking a tour also ensures that you are in areas that you are allowed to be in. Often times, men and women's prayer halls have separate entrances, and may be in different areas. Taking a tour is also a great way of enhancing your overall experience and appreciation.

Wondering what other benefits may come from visiting a mosque around the world? By engaging with the Muslim community through mosque visits, you contribute to building bridges of understanding and tolerance, fostering peace and harmony in diverse societies.

Have you visited a mosque around the world yet? Let me know where!


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