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  #1  
Old December 8th, 2017, 11:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Looking at Los Angeles and Surrounding Communities: Religion - King Fahad Mosque

I realized that beyond wishing Fahim greetings on Festivals, I knew very little about the Islamic Religion and had neveer vsited a Mosque since being in Turkey years back. At that time, I just was amazed at the beauty but had no opportunity to meet people.

This time I allowed enough time to meet folk studying the Koran and then for evening prayers.

First the location. This Mosque is in a busy street in Culver City, part of the Megopalis of Los Angeles with 12 million people within 10 miles of here.

Inside I met folk from Egypt, Senegal, Los Angeles and many other places. Everyone was welcoming and beyond courteous.

Here is a view from the street.




Asher Kelman: King Fahad Mosque

Culver City, California, December 2017
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 9th, 2017 at 04:42 AM.
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  #2  
Old December 8th, 2017, 11:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Notice the flock of birds flying by. I thought that was a sign of a welcome and it worked out like that!
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Old December 8th, 2017, 11:41 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I was invited to enter the inside of the mosque to join the evening prayer. I sat on a chair at the back. The security giard was especially kind and we spoke in French. He told me I could photograph but not the women. So I was very priviliged as I do not know the customs and thought it was generous.

First there was a rich voice on a loudspeaker chanting prayers. I couldnt see whee iot was coming from, but it was, I beleive the man from Senegal, formely French West Africa. Exceptionally beautiful voice. I didnt understand, but some of the words suggested a god of mercy, from my knowledge of Hebrew and that some roots are in common.





Asher Kelman: King Fahad Mosque - Prayer # 1

Culver City, California, December 2017







Asher Kelman: King Fahad Mosque - Prayer #2

Culver City, California, December 2017
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Old December 8th, 2017, 11:54 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Unlike Churches and Synagogues, there are no pictures or stained glass windows with people or animals. This is because apparently one wants to avoid have folk worship the figure, like an idol of ancient times. So instead, there are beautiful tile and glass patterns. These seem to have evolved over hundereds of years to be a form of art in themselves. I will show some samples.

In addtion there are verses from the Kor'an which a number of people, but not everyone could read and translate for me. Some folk there, the Americans, dont seem to be able to fluently read Arabic. Others are very accomplished!

Asher
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  #5  
Old December 9th, 2017, 12:43 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Inside the study room, there were hundereds of books on the shleves with guilded letter embossed. In addition, there was a tapestry that had been in Maccah on the venerated structure around which the pilgrims cycle. This is the Kaaba:

The Kaaba (Arabic: ٱلْكَعْبَة‎ al-kaʿbah IPA: [alˈkaʕba], "The Cube"), also referred as al-ka`bah al-musharrafah (The Holy Kaaba), is a building at the center of Islam's most sacred mosque, that is Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (Arabic: الـمَـسـجِـد الـحَـرَام‎, The Sacred Mosque), in Mecca, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia.[1] It is the most sacred site in Islam.[2] It is considered by Muslims to be the bayt Allāh, the "House of God", and has a similar role to the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing salat (prayer). From any point in the world, the direction facing the Kaaba is called the qibla.



Asher Kelman: Tapestry from the Kaaba


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Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 9th, 2017 at 06:35 PM.
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  #6  
Old December 9th, 2017, 02:49 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Asher,

This is interesting as it is very rare that a non muslim enters a Mosquée.
I am very happy that you were welcomed and authorized to shoot some photographs.
This shows open minded spirits!
Your images are impressive…
Next a visit into a Synagogue?

Signed: the atheist : )
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  #7  
Old December 9th, 2017, 06:53 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

Thanks so much for that wonderful photographic essay and the accompanying commentary.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #8  
Old December 9th, 2017, 03:25 PM
Tom Robbins Tom Robbins is offline
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Another fine set of images. Thanks for sharing, Asher!
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  #9  
Old December 9th, 2017, 07:05 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Thanks Doug, Tom and Nicolas for the visit.

I want to share more of the beauty that I expereinced.

The windows on the right of the tiled central prayer focus, where the Imam stands, has a wonderful floral pattern.






Asher Kelman: KFM Floral windows






Asher Kelman: KFM Floral windows


The net effect on mood is that, although one is uplifted by beauty, one is not seduced to a story about humans that woukld distract from submission and closeness ot God. This is very different from Judaism where symbols might be used, like the 7 Branched Candelebrium from Kind solomon's Temple or the Shofar or even the Star of David. Likewise, there are no Christ like figures of a savior for souls. Such a statue would be considered close to idolatorous as one cannot bow down to any statues or fugres of humans or animals.

So inside the Mosque, there is a purity of subject: humility and submission, not reference to even Mohammed, (PBUH), as the prayers are to Allahahu Achba, not for the Prophet, Mohammed, to intercede, as far as I gather. So for me, right now, at least, the theology of the Muslim prayer process is tentative in my understanding. But for sure, it removes all ideas of people, veneration of objects and the like. For sure, a Buddha would be very foreign indeed, to say the least and couldnt be ever brought into the sanctuary. even for a temporary exhibition.

Asher
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  #10  
Old December 9th, 2017, 08:03 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Tiles are used as a reliable and durable manner to define parts of the sanctuary and embed artistic decoration without risking impropriety. For sure, there are libraries of mosaic designs available, some many hundreds of years old.

Interestingly, in Turkey, Mosques employed the best architects and if the fellow was Armenian Christian, that was fine too.


"Sinan, also called Mimar Sinan (“Architect Sinan”) or Mimar Koca Sinan (“Great Architect Sinan”) (born c. 1490, Ağırnaz, Turkey—died July 17, 1588, Constantinople [now Istanbul]), most celebrated of all Ottoman architects, whose ideas, perfected in the construction of mosques and other buildings, served as the basic themes for virtually all later Turkish religious and civic architecture.

The son of Greek or Armenian Christian parents, Sinan entered his father’s trade as a stone mason and carpenter. In 1512, however, he was drafted into the Janissary corps. Sinan, whose Christian name was Joseph, converted to Islam, and he began a lifelong service to the Ottoman royal house and to the great sultan Süleyman I (reigned 1520–66) in particular. Following a period of schooling and rigorous training, Sinan became a construction officer in the Ottoman army, eventually rising to chief of the artillery.

He first revealed his talents as an architect in the 1530s by designing and building military bridges and fortifications. In 1539 he completed his first nonmilitary building, and for the remaining 40 years of his life he was to work as the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire at a time when it was at the zenith of its political power and cultural brilliance. The number of projects Sinan undertook is massive—79 mosques, 34 palaces, 33 public baths, 19 tombs, 55 schools, 16 poorhouses, 7 madrasahs (religious schools), and 12 caravansaries, in addition to granaries, fountains, aqueducts, and hospitals. His three most famous works are the Şehzade Mosque and the Mosque of Süleyman I the Magnificent, both of which are in Istanbul, and the Selim Mosque at Edirne." Read more here




As a result of these elegant designs, certain features, like mosaic inscriptions in gold and ornate celing domes, have become synonymous with the finest and most ambitious mosque architecture.

Here, I do not know what architect they used or where the tile desgns originated and whether or not they used the locally avaialble mostly Mexican Hispanic labor to install the work.

In the front, there is a remarkable plaque honoring the dedication of the building to be a mosque.




Asher Kelman: Tiled mosaic plaque naming the King Fahid Mosque


Asher
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  #11  
Old December 9th, 2017, 09:53 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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It must have been a great and moving experience for you Asher. A fine mosque, great people and grand photos. Cheers, Mike
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  #12  
Old December 9th, 2017, 10:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
It must have been a great and moving experience for you Asher. A fine mosque, great people and grand photos. Cheers, Mike
Thanks for stopping by, Mike. We need to hold a lantern to the world in which we live so we are not so ignorant that we do stupid things.

Asher
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  #13  
Old December 9th, 2017, 10:21 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Tiles are used as a reliable and durable manner to define parts of the sanctuary and embed artistic decoration without risking impropriety. For sure, there are libraries of mosaic designs available, some many hundreds of years old.
A lovely shot of a lovely construct. Thanks.

Interesting to see the more formal (and more often seen decades ago) romanization of ابن ("ibn") rather than the today more common one ("bin").

Best regards,

Doug
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  #14  
Old December 13th, 2017, 06:45 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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So there was a woman waiting outside. I didnt approach her but I found I had included her in this picture.





Asher Kelman: Inside Lobby of Mosque

King Fahad Mosque Culver City, California Novemember 2017

6 images, Canon 5DII 50mm 1.2L
stitched in Autopano Giga 4.0


I needed by Tilt/Shift 24mm II lens, but it is damaged. Domage! This series is a work in progress and I will be returning to expore further.


Asher
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  #15  
Old December 17th, 2017, 11:45 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Pilgrims circumbulate...not ‘ circle ‘.

The verse is from Surah Baqqara....

The following is the context translation.....

“ And ( mention ) when We made the House a place of return for the people and ( a place of security ).

And take ( O Believers ), FROM THE STANDINGS PLACE OF ABRAHAM, a place of prayer.

And We charged Abraham ( pbuh ) and Ismail ( pbuh ), saying,

‘ Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf ( circumbulation ) and those who are staying ( there ) for worship and those who bow and prostrate ( in prayer )

“.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Inside the study room, there were hundereds of books on the shleves with guilded letter embossed. In addition, there was a tapestry that had been in Maccah on the venerated structure around which the pilgrims cycle. This is the Kaaba:

The Kaaba (Arabic: ٱلْكَعْبَة‎ al-kaʿbah IPA: [alˈkaʕba], "The Cube"), also referred as al-ka`bah al-musharrafah (The Holy Kaaba), is a building at the center of Islam's most sacred mosque, that is Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (Arabic: الـمَـسـجِـد الـحَـرَام‎, The Sacred Mosque), in Mecca, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia.[1] It is the most sacred site in Islam.[2] It is considered by Muslims to be the bayt Allāh, the "House of God", and has a similar role to the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing salat (prayer). From any point in the world, the direction facing the Kaaba is called the qibla.



Asher Kelman: Tapestry from the Kaaba


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  #16  
Old December 18th, 2017, 12:12 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
Pilgrims circumbulate...not ‘ circle ‘.

The verse is from Surah Baqqara....

The following is the context translation.....

“ And ( mention ) when We made the House a place of return for the people and ( a place of security ).

And take ( O Believers ), FROM THE STANDINGS PLACE OF ABRAHAM, a place of prayer.

And We charged Abraham ( pbuh ) and Ismail ( pbuh ), saying,

‘ Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf ( circumbulation ) and those who are staying ( there ) for worship and those who bow and prostrate ( in prayer )

“.

Thanks, Fahim, for the helpful translation. I was amazed that the King Fahad Mosque, managed to acquire such a unique tapestry. Is there just one tapestry per year and where exactly is it placed in its original place in Maccah.

I don't quite understand the distinction between "circumambulation", a new term for me, and "circle", unless the latter has connotations which are some way negative or unfitting.

Feel free to add your insight and any corrections to our related thread here. Also, any chance you can read the text on the blue quote in post #14?

Asher
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  #17  
Old December 18th, 2017, 12:23 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I found an explanation of "Circumambulation".
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  #18  
Old December 18th, 2017, 12:47 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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The second verse very loosely can be translated as follows:

It directly addresses the followers of the Torot and Bible...

‘ o! People of the Books..why do you argue (deny, dissent, contradict by changing and wrongful interpretation ) Abraham ( pbuh ), and that which has been revealed to you in the Torot, and the Bible. ‘.

The tapestry is from the covering of the Holy Kaaba, which is changed every year. Check the making of this cover. The replaced cover is given to a tribe which to this day hold the key to the door of the Holy Kaaba.

I, too, have a verse from such a covering.

The covering is called a KISWAH.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 01:01 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Fabulous, Fahim!

This is a really valuable help. I guessed it was something like that from my young and so courteous Egyptian "guide" who had difficulty translating it. But he did get the essence, without the eloquence. What is the Arabic word used, for this complex term, "argue" so I can study it. Interesting that you had to use so many descriptors to provide the sufficient range of meaning. Must be a very rich and grand word in Arabic with a lot of poetic utility and relationships.

By "Torat", you mean Torah, plural?

I will have to discover where the story of Abraham ,(z'l'), diverges in our cultural narratives.

Asher
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  #20  
Old December 18th, 2017, 01:09 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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‘ Tu-ha-joon’

Indeed, The Torah. ( spell corrector gave me tarot, Toronto !! )
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Old December 18th, 2017, 01:28 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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توراة Is the word I am trying to locate in the mosaic tile, in the text. Haha! It is hard!

Then I want to find your word there for "argue"

Asher
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  #22  
Old December 18th, 2017, 02:51 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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7th word from left is Torah.
4th word from right is ‘ tu-ha-joon’...argue,dissent etc.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 03:01 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Thanks! Not on the first ring of the ladder yet, but at least I recognize the ladder exists!

Asher
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