The dome of the Golden Mosque stands conspicuously coming from Quiapo bridge; A physical manifestation of the public presence of Muslims and serves as a point of convergence for Islamic activity. I have never been into that side of Quiapo, what I am only aware of is that significant Muslim population abound the area.
My interest to know about Muslim culture prodded my recent visit to the mosque at Globo de Oro St., I asked my friend AC to accompany and guide me to their community, to which he gladly acceded.
It was on Saturday morning, we met up at Arlegui St. in front of Quiapo Church, from there we started to walk going to the mosque. We passed by in a crowded sidewalks that seemed to be a pulsating center of everything- dvd’s,cellphone accessories, toys, hair accessories, clothing and fruit stands among other things. A formidable percentage of vendors are Muslims and most of the buyers are Christians.
Most of the foods sold along the sidewalks are halal foods, and some fruits coming all the way from Mindanao.
After five minutes of walking , we finally arrived at Golden Mosque. A benevolent greeting was uttered by AC to an elder, who was standing outside the mosque. They both communicated in their native dialect. From what I can infer, my friend was asking the elder if I could be allowed to enter the mosque. The elder said I have to cover my hair, before entering the mosque. He went inside the reception room, and returned with a veil and handed it to my friend. As an act of graciousness, I accepted and used the veil. Wearing a headscarf is a symbol of pious and pure faith in Islam.
I removed my slippers before I went inside. A shoe shelf is placed near the entrance to neatly organize the shoes/ slippers. I then started to observe the place, look into details, silently went near the center to see the dome’s interior.
The defining feature of the Golden Mosque is its dome, an onion like shape, painted with shining gold, with vibrant geometric designs. Presently it is being renovated. History has it that the mosque was created in 1976, under the supervision of Imelda Marcos, for the visit of Libya president, although the visit was canceled. In Metro Manila, it is presently the largest mosque.
The mosque has numerous pointed arch windows flanked with colonnades; the windows are alternated on the outside walls, providing for well lighted space. It is divided into sections for men and women.
Inside is very spacious and the entire area is bare. There are no furniture because worshipers kneel and bow directly on the floor. In Islam prayers must be performed in clean areas. Carpets and rugs ensure the cleanliness on the place of prayers.
According to my friend, they pray five times a day. Entire population of Muslim in Quiapo is diverse coming from the tribes of: Tausugs, Badjaos, Samals, Maguindanaons and growing number of converts.
We cut short our presence inside the mosque because a man inside was about to start his prayer.
I thanked my friend for introducing and giving me an opportunity to observe and know further about their culture through their religion. It was not a casual tourism; it is more of my special way in getting to know my Muslim friends and their community, I have learned that irrespective of God we glorify, Christians and Muslims live peacefully side by side. Indeed a short but meaningful visit.
When visiting a mosque:
Dress appropriately and modestly.
Remove shoes before entering the prayer area.
Be silent and respectful.
Do not afraid to mingle, know them intimately and be yourself.