5 Lesser Known Islamic Sites That You Should Visit!

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Many of our halal travels are filled with adventurous locations and wonderful sites to see, what with many being popular or well known places. We tend to travel the world to visit certain places that we know are famous, or are considered as famous landmarks, but somehow forget that the world has so much more to offer!  When travelling one must always keep in mind that there are so many unknown or lesser known attractions around the world, and all it takes is a little time, patience and research to find these magnificent halal friendly sites. We’ve come up with 5 Islamic sites that are just as beautiful and interesting as the popular ones, and are also filled with educational, spiritual, and adventurous things to do while on your Muslim friendly travels!

Ashab Al Khaif; (Cave of the Seven sleepers) Jordan

Just a short drive from Amman in the direction of the Dead Sea, Jordan, here you’ll find an amazing site that is full of history. The Ashab Al Khaif or the Cave of the Seven Sleepers can be found ‘off the beaten path’ in a small village called Rajib, and is an attraction that is open daily to visitors with free admission. Here you’ll be able to visit the story behind the ‘Seven Sleepers,’ seven men who hid inside a cave to escape a persecution. According to the tales, these seven men were to be sentenced to death due to their strong belief in God. At the time of the happenings, a king ordered that everyone in his kingdom worshiped him, and only him, with no acceptations, especially those that believed in God. Though there are many various stories about the cave and the men, it’s mainly said that with their strong faith in God, these seven men hid out in the cave and survived. This amazing site offers a step back into history with information, objects, and the original structure of the cave that protected the Christian men in their time of need, a must visit for those that are looking for a bit of history on their travels.

Islamic Museum; Melbourne

You may be surprised to hear that ‘down under’ has an amazing and educational Islamic museum just waiting to be explored. Situated in Thornbury Melbourne, the ‘Islamic Museum of Australia’ is a community museum. Visitors will get to experience an exciting day out full of history, culture, and education, what with the diverse range of Islamic arts such as architecture, calligraphy, paintings, glass, ceramics and textiles. First opening their doors to customers in 2014, the originally non profit foundation has become a popular stop by for those visiting the area. Not only do Muslims take interest in this great museum, but travellers from all over the world and from various religions enjoy a day out witnessing the beauty of Islamic art. With various activities and sites to see, you’ll also be glad to hear that ‘Masterchef Australia 2013’ top 3rd finalist, Samira El-Khafir is in charge of a great cafe that will recharge your energy!  Not only has this great place become a must visit for those that are in the area, but it was also highly commended in 2014 for it’s amazing permanent exhibition by the Museums Australia MAGNA awards, and was endorsed as: “An important new museum which sensitively interconnects Australia’s Muslim heritage with strong interpretive themes.”

Pink Mosque; Philippines

Situated in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Philippines, here you’ll set your eyes upon probably one of the brightest and prettiest pink mosques you’ve ever seen! Located in a mostly Muslim part of the Philippines, the Masjid Dimaukom or Pink Mosque was founded by Datu Saudi Ampatuan’s Mayor, who owned the land of the mosques whereabouts. The beautiful pink colours were said to be a symbol of peace and love between Christians and Muslims, and was actually built my Christian workmen to symbolize unity and inter faith brotherhood. This amazing place is breathtaking to look at from afar, and is just as beautiful from the inside. Covered in golden colours with spacious prayer rooms and large pillars, this mosque is definitely worth the visit if you’re visiting the Philippines!

Niuji Mosque; Beijing

Another beautiful mosque, but this time situated in Bejing, China is the Niuji Mosque. First built in 996 during the Liao dynasty, Ninju Mosque is considered to be among some of the most ancient mosques in China. Though you will notice how the outside exterior of the mosque is based around traditional Chinese styles, once you take a step inside you’ll feel right at home! The amazing Arabic designs inside will give you chills down your spine, what with knowing you’re taking a step back into history. Being the largest mosque in Beijing, many Muslims often come to visit this amazing piece of art. Side areas and alley ways are open for all visitors, however the main prayer rooms are kept restricted for Muslims only. There is also a small courtyard area that is along a small garden path that leads to doors which opens up to various buildings, while the main hall offers a two storey tower structure that is called the ‘Tower for Watching the Moon.’ Another great thing to know when visiting this spectacular place is that Bejing’s Xuanwu district is home to around 300,000 Muslims, meaning not only will you meet many friendly fellow Muslims, but you’ll also find yourself debating over which amazing halal friendly Muslim restaurant you should eat at!

The University of Al-Qarawiyyin; Fez  

For more than twelve hundred years, the Al-Qarawiyyin has been one of the most important educational and leading spiritual centres of the Muslim world. Situated in Fez Morocco, the al-Qarawiyyin mosque is a religious school/university. Though the school goes way back in history, it wasn’t until 1963 that it incorporated into Morocco’s modern style state university; however, despite being modernized educational wise, the school still keeps to its strong Islamic beliefs, and keeps the Islamic religion one of the top and main priorities. Arabic grammar/linguistics and Maliki law is taught here in the traditional method, which includes students sitting in a semi circle around a sheikh, however the school also offer lessons of non-Islamic subjects such as English, French and even IT. Many Muslims from all over Morocco, West Africa, and even Muslim Central Asia come to study at the school, with students ranging from 13 – 30. This spectacular place that is filled with religion, tradition, culture, and education is amazing for those that want to get a glimpse of the traditional Muslim way of teaching and their schools, as visitors are allowed to drop by and visit certain parts of the university.

Though the above places are just a very few of the many lesser known Islamic sites, it’s always good to know that there are plenty of ‘new’ places for us to visit. When you’re on your travels, or perhaps while you’re deciding where to go next, try and research deeper into your destination as you may be amazed with what amazing Muslim friendly locations are just around the corner!

Susannah Willett

Susannah, better known as Sussie spent her younger years growing up in the U.K before moving out to the Philippines to reside. Having split her years in two very different cultures, Sussie has gained the love for travel, giving her the passion to write about the many beautiful countries. Being a lover of nature, culture, and history, Sussie has big plans to travel wherever her feet may take her, and witness firsthand the various beauties of the world.

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