This week, Year Two had a visitor from Newcastle Central Mosque. They learned lots of facts about Islam, including how Muslim babies are welcomed into the world and what happens at a Muslim wedding.
To begin, the children learned about aqiqah – a naming ceremony that takes place when a baby is seven days old. The children were shocked to discover that the baby’s hair is shaved and weighed. The weight of the hair decides the amount of money to be donated to charity. The boys and girls were curious as to why this happened. Our visitor explained that it shows that the family are grateful for their baby. On the seventh day, the baby’s name is also announced and the family share a delicious feast.
Next, the children learned about Muslim weddings. Unlike Christians, who get married in a church, Muslims get married in a mosque. The wedding ceremony is called a nikah and it is led by the imam – the leader of the mosque. After the wedding, the family have a huge feast to celebrate. This is called the walima. During the walima, the guests sit on the floor to eat their meal and enjoy dancing and music.
As well as learning about these ceremonies, the children also learned lots about what it is like to be Muslim. Our visitor brought in the holy book of Islam – the Qu’ran. Not only is the Qu’ran written in Arabic, it is read differently to how the children would usually read a book. Muslims read the Qu’ran from the back page to the front, and each line is read from right to left. Our visitor also brought in a selection of prayer mats to show the children. He explained that Muslims pray five times a day and, when they do, they bow to Allah (God), putting their face on the ground to show that he is more powerful.