Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trip to the seaport of Acco for my Islamic Studies class

 We took a 2 hour bus ride up to Acco, an ancient city on the Mediterranean Sea, as part of my Islamic Thought and Practice class. We stopped here at the Bahai gardens, which was truly an exquisite garden. This one is the most holy place in the world for Bahia, where the founder of their religion is buried. Bahia is an offshoot of Islam, and has about 15 million followers worldwide.
Tbe Bahia gardeners put a lot of work into their gardens, everthing is just perfect.
 Have you ever seen inside a Mosque??  Well, I never had let me show you inside.
This is the mosque from a distance.
The entrance...this a 'Friday Mosque', meaning large mosque where many muslims gather to pray at noon on Fridays. All muslims are required to attend prayer service on Fridays.
The inside...notice the carpet, printed with pillars, and each person kneels in one spot, keeping the people lined up and facing the Kibla..which is the wall that faces Mecca.  The door with the stairs going up that you see on the right is the Minbar, the place where the Imam goes to preach the Friday sermon.
Here we have all the exact times they are to pray facing Mecca of the 9th of April...five times a day, to the exact second, today starting at 4:52 am. The prayer times are announced from the minaret.  The sixth time that is on the clock is for those that are fasting (if they missed fasting on Ramadan, they have to make up the days) and it tells them what time they can break the this case at 8:29 pm)
The blue arabic writings on the border tiles are from the Quran, their holy book. The 2 green round circles, one says Muhammad (the prophet) and the other says Allah (the name of their god).
I am sorry this picture is sideways...but at this mosque they are very proud to posses one of the hairs of Muhammad...they would not show us the actual hair, but this is a pic of the container with the one hair in it. People come to look at it, touch the container, and receive a blessing.  Double click the pic to make it larger so you can see the hair....sadly far out.
We walked through a market in the Old City of Acco...and you can see what we were smelling...LOTS of fish...this is a seaport, so naturally there's lots of 'em.
To add to the smells...lots of spices!
Hanging around, waiting for our professors to buy us tickets to get into some other sites.
Here we are at the remains of a Turkish bath house.  Seems like the ancient patrons got petrified in the hot sauna room.  These bath houses were very popular places of social gatherings, political discussions, etc.

Walking along the old city streets, here's a home with a picture of the 'Ka'aba' (the black structure) in Mecca, the most holy place for Islam. One of the 5 pillars (things you are obligated to do) of Islam, is that you must travel and make pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia  (called Hajj) once in your life.  The occupant of this home has made Hajj and proudly displays this sign above the entrance.
And then there's the sea...a few JUC students stand on the end of the wall facing the water.  It seems wherever we go, if there's something you can climb, they just do it!!
Enlarge this picture to read this sign...I'll have you know I did NOT climb on the wall..THEY did!!
The stone wall in the water that you see is the remains of a Crusader fortress that had been destroyed.

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