It is important to follow the guidelines for clothing and behaviour so as not to cause offence. If you are travelling as part of groups, it is important not to talk loudly, thus disturbing anyone who may be at prayer. Here are some suggestions to help make visiting a mosque a lot easier.
Clothing in a Mosque
Clothing should be modest for both men and women. For women this means an ankle length skirt or trousers, which should not be tight or transparent, together with a long sleeved and high- necked top. A headscarf is usually essential for women. Shoes are removed before going into the prayer hall and put on the racks provided. Clean and presentable socks, stockings, or tights are therefore a good idea.
It would also be a good idea if you have bag or something of a suitable size to place your shoes into. If it is necessary to place your shoes on the floor, you must ensure that the soles of the shoes are not placed on the floor, the shoes should be placed on their sides.
Entering a Mosque
Where women attend the Mosque, men and women usually enter the prayer hall by separate entrances. Vistors may be greeted by the Arabic greeting “Assalamo Allaikum” which means “peace be upon you.” The answer, if the visitor would like to use it, is “Wa ‘alaikum-as-salam”, which means “peace be upon you too”. Do not offer, or expect, to shake hands with people of the opposite sex.
Entering a Mosque Prayer Hall
Go quietly into the hall, and sit on the floor, avoiding pointing the feet in the direction of the wall with the niche or alcove in it unless a medical condition makes this the only possible posture. If visiting as a group during a time when prayers are taking place, sit together toward the rear of the hall.
The above relates to mosques in general and not just the Muhammad Ali Mosque. Remember that Cairo in be quite warm – so suitable clothing is important.
If you do not have appropriate clothing, you may find that you will not be able to go into the mosque.
For more information on Muhammad Ali Mosque
- 2014-03-23 – Cairo
- Muhammad Ali Mosque – Courtyard
- Muhammad Ali Mosque – Domes
- Muhammad Ali Mosque – Part of the Citadel of Salah al-Din
- Muhammad Ali Mosque – Tomb
- Muhammed Ali Mosque – Correct Clothing Etiquette
- Muhammed Ali Mosque – Minarets at the Mosque
- Muhammed Ali Mosque – the Niche facing Mecca
- Muhammed Ali Mosque – View of Cairo from the Mosque