Our Year 7 & 8 boys and girls attended Sunshine Mosque to see Ottoman art and architecture as part of Humanities and Visual Arts classes. Although the excursion was related to these two subjects, the trip to Sunshine Mosque proved to be a truly interdisciplinary experience for the students. Not only did we learn about the various styles of art that the Ottomans practiced, or the design and architecture of Ottoman mosques, but also about local history, Islamic history, and important Islamic concepts and principles.
We learned that the main central dome of the mosque represents the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the four outer domes representing the four rightly guided caliphs, and the outermost domes representing the four madhaahib or Islamic schools of thought. From the centre of the main dome, the exquisite chandelier bares a portion of the Quranic verse from Surah Al Imran, verse 103:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ - 3:103
"And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided."
As we pondered over this mighty verse commanding us to be united, we remembered the Ottoman emphasis on unity.
Following the visit to the mosque and as part of exploring daily life in the Ottoman Empire, the year 8 students and staff enjoyed genuine Turkish cuisine at Sehzade Kebab and Bakehouse.
We would like to thank the committee of Sunshine Mosque for their time and hospitality, for they have truly honoured us as guests visiting the house of Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa). We would also like to thank staff and management of Sehzade Kebab and Bakehouse for their amazing food and splendid service.