A mosque is a place of worship for the followers of Islam which is based on the five pillars. The five pillars are,
•Shahadah – Declaration of faith
•Salah – Five compulsory daily prayers
•Zakah – Welfare contribution
•Sawm – Fasting during Ramadan
•Hajj – Pilgrimage to Makkah
The design of a mosque takes the five pillars of Islam into account. There is a large area for prayer which is facing Kiblah. All Muslins should face this way when praying. It is a place for all Muslims to gather especially men. The design usually includes two separate areas so that the sexes are kept apart. The mosque is the centre of Islamic culture and is also used as a meeting place.
They are often beautifully decorated with patterns that appear to have been influenced by the Arabic writing seen in the Koran. The decorations seem to be intended to make the worshipper feel they are in a special place. The form of the mosque traditionally includes large domes which are influenced by religion. This may suggest to the worshipper a feeling of being in heaven.
The design also includes minarets which may be quite tall. They were often climbed by someone and used to call the faithful to prayer. Muslins believe when they die they go to another world and it is important to live a good life on earth. The minarets symbolise those who have done greater things on earth and have gone to a higher place in the other world. The pillars within the Mosque are influenced by the five pillars of Islam.
The Muslim religion originated in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and then spread across Asia. Over the last century as more and more Muslims have migrated to Europe there has been a rapid growth in the number of mosques in European cities. Some countries have welcomed Muslims more than others. In France for example it would appear that there is some resistance to allowing Muslims to worship traditionally.
On the other hand in England Muslims have been allowed to gather in large groups. For example the Central Mosque in Birmingham caters for one of the largest groups of Muslims in Europe. Birmingham is a multicultural city and that seems to have allowed the large Muslim population to have a greater say in the development of their mosque. In Europe it has seemed difficult at times to promote Islam but with the growth of multi faith acceptance it could be suggested that it is now possible to propose to extend the Islamic style in Birmingham.