The Mosque of Omar

The mosque of Omar is not open to tourists, so I was not surprised to be accosted as I went down the stairs by a trio of men who somewhat forcefully indicated that I should go away. I asked if any of them spoke English and one man did. I explained what I wanted to do and he very kindly introduced me to the elderly gentleman in charge of the mosque, who in turn graciously gave me permission to film.

After listening to me talk to my camera, the same helpful man then asked if he could assist in any other way. I said that I would love to record the call to prayer and film someone praying, and he very kindly did both for me. I am very grateful to him for his help.

Muslims always wash face, hands and feet before the compulsory daily prayers and rather look down on Christians for coming into God's presence while still dirty. During prayer Muslims recite the first chapter of the Qur'an - The Opening - followed by another passage of their choice. Within the prayer they are required to perform a certain number of prostrations as a display of humility before God. Prayers conclude by turning the head to left and right in order to greet one's guardian angels.

There is also opportunity within the prayers for individual petitions and in this part they may hold up their hands as if supporting a book.