126. Mezquita Mayor de Granada

Right next to Mirador San Nicolas stands Mezquita Mayor de Granada, the first mosque to be built in Granada after more than 500 years of the Spanish reconquest.

It took 22 long years to complete, with the project being continuously plagued with controversies and objections from the local community. It was only in 2003 did a muezzin climb up the minaret to call out the first adzaan in half a millenium.

I can only imagine how he, and all those in attendance that day, must have felt.

A decade later, I was blessed with the opportunity to bask in its tranquility. Its lush garden, the cooling fountain in the middle of the courtyard, the overwhelming sense of peace peace – it was such a treat! Its prime location, with spectacular views, certainly contributed significantly to the sensory experience too. πŸ™‚

I would switch between the mirador and the mezquita’s courtyard, depending on the crowd in the mirador and if I wanted to journal or be around people. Whenever I was delving into my inner thoughts and trying to listen to my inner voice, I’d head to the latter, do solah and then retreat to the ledge. The caretaker even began to recognise me and will always smile and give salaam whenever he sees me. There’s just something magical about places of worship, I tell you.

It was in the mezquita’s garden too where I had one of my most profound moments of the trip: As I was reading the Quran & plainly admiring the magnificent view of the Alhambra on my last day in Granada, I heard the adzaan for Zuhur (noon prayer) being called from the minaret.

It was a simple call to prayer: a man standing at the minaret, calling out in his own voice without the aid of any form of enhancer. It was pure, natural and purposeful.

What made it even more profound was that I was reading Surah al-Maidah at that time, and one of the ayahs is this:

Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Jadilah kamu sebagai penegak keadilan kerana Allah, (ketika) menjadi saksi dengan adil. Dan janganlah kebencianmu terhadap suatu kaum mendorong kamu untuk berlaku tidak adil. Berlaku adillah. Karena (adil) itu lebih dekat kepada takwa. Dan bertakwalah kepada Allah, sungguh, Allah Mahateliti terhadap apa yang kamu kerjakan. [al-Maidah: 8]
(I had the Malay transliteration of the Quran with me at that time but here’s the English transliteration: )
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. [al-Maidah: 8]

Hearing the call to prayer in the land that once witnessed the peak of Islamic civilisation was otherworldly. On the one hand, it is a union of the land with its past, on the other, it shows how Andalucia is now a mere shadow of its former glory.

The thought of the injustice faced by the Muslims after the reconquest was running through my head at that point. I began thinking of the many who were reported to have been treated unjustly: forced to flee the country to save their lives and faith or made to convert to Christianity, when Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile went against their promise to allow religious tolerance in their newly conquered kingdom.

Yet there I was 500 years later, a Muslim, sitting in the grounds of a masjid, listening to the call to prayer. Despite it all, faith still prevailed.

I managed to record a portion of the adzaan from where I was sitting:

It was beyond magical, mashaAllah. πŸ™‚

I found so much happiness and peace right across the Alhambra. But I also had a whole life-enhancing experience in the Alhambra too.

I’ll be back soon with more pictures, more sharing and more emotional experiences, this time in the Alhambra itself, inshaAllah. πŸ™‚

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