Key Question: Is it better to express your religion in arts and architecture or in charity and generosity?
LO: Show understanding of the value of sacred buildings
Muslim Architecture: Beauty in design in mosques and calligraphy, for the praise of Allah
Remind the children that our title question asks if art should be less important than giving to charity.
• Ask pupils what they know about mosques, Muslims and the Muslim community. Explain that in Islamic art and architecture there are no images of Allah and for many Muslims no image of humans because they mislead rather an enlighten us. Instead geometric and natural pattern is used to create beauty.
• Teach pupils that the first two mosques in the UK were built in 1889, in Liverpool and Woking (useful website: www.wokingmosque.org.uk/ Over the last 125 years, more and more mosques have opened: there are about 1750 in 2016. There are about 30 000 church buildings, as a point of comparison) They serve the Muslim community, which is about 4.5% of the people in the UK, about 2.7 million people. Look at websites and pictures of mosques near your school, if a visit is not possible.
Why does Britain have more than 1750 mosques? Thinking skills
• Here are 9 possible answers, or part answers to the question. Put them on cards to discuss and rank (see below)
Put these on cards, and ask pupils to cut them up, and rank them: which give the best explanation of the reasons for the number of Mosques in our country? Ask pupils to add a sentence to each one, saying why it is a good explanation (or not).
Ask pupils to write 5 words that describe the beauty of each of the pictures they chose. Ask them to complete the sentences: ‘I think this one is beautiful because…’ ‘I think Muslims might find this a good place to pray because they might feel…’
• Which idea is best? Ask them to express their own views on the relative strength of these four ideas:
1. “A mosque should be beautiful because it is for a beautiful activity: praying to the Creator of beauty is easier in the beautiful surroundings.”
2. “Mosques are not an alternative to giving money for the poor: Muslims do both because worshipping Allah and helping the needy are both really important.”
3. “God hears your prayer anywhere. No special place is needed to pray. A clean heart, a clean body and a clean prayer mat are all you need. So Muslims today should spend less on mosques and more on feeding the poor.”
4. Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] said that whoever builds a mosque on earth, God will build them a house in Paradise, so it is a good way to prepare for life after death.”
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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