View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Islamic Guidance Centers in the UAE

Soon after arriving in the UAE I visited our local Islamic Guidance Center. I told the guide that I was new to the city and was interested in learning more about Islam and the way it shapes life in the Emirates.

I was warmly received, introduced to the director and his team, given morning coffee and delicious Saudi dates. After a tour of the establishment, where I saw people coming for classes and for prayer, I left with a bag laden with books.

In my resource kit I received a copy of the Qur’an (in Arabic and English) and twenty booklets on an assortment of topics—Human Rights, Christianity, the status of women and Islamic views about menstruation.

I was invited to return although I must admit to a little concern when the man said, “If you have any questions, come back here and we will answer them all.”

I greatly appreciated the time that I was given, the warmth of the hospitality and the generous resources. I want discussion and debate but I don’t want all my questions answered. I want to have convictions but I don’t want all mysteries to be explained away.

As Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science.”

Geoff Pound

Image: The Islamic Guidance Center in old Fujairah.