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Mosques as part of Muslim life

Dr Ahmed describes the function and role of mosques in British Muslim communities

In this video, Dr Ahmed describes the function and role of mosques in British Muslim communities.

The video in this step is presented by Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed, Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University and Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Wales.

The importance of Salah (prayer) as a religious practice was described in Step 1.15. Salah can take place in private spaces, but also in congregation with others, in communal spaces like mosques.

As well as providing spaces for congregational prayer, mosques can be a hub for Muslim communities where a range of activities – social, educational, pastoral and civil – take place. Mosques can be a “first port of call” for Muslims in times of need, including when they have mental health problems. Imams may provide a counselling service, and regular contact with other congregants and mosque-users can be a form of social support. Dr Ahmed reminds us that mosques are gendered spaces, some have separate facilities for men and women, others do not facilitate congregational prayer for women at all.

Dr Ahmed describes mosques as “highly trusted institutions” for Muslims and suggests that they have the potential to promote mental health, informally through social support, or formally through the mental health education led by the Imam and/or mainstream mental health services.

This video was filmed at the South Wales Yemeni Mosque and Islamic Centre in Cardiff, known locally as ‘Alice Street Mosque’. We thank the mosque for their kind permission to film there.

Further in the course, we will consider in more detail the roles that mosques do, and can, play in supporting mental health in Muslim communities.

Over to you

Dr Ahmed puts forward three questions for you to consider towards the end of the video, we ask you consider one of these questions and add your thoughts below

What role, if any, do spaces like mosques (lightly-regulated, social spaces) play in maintaining good mental health?

Please add your own thoughts and, if appropriate, experiences around working with mosques on the topic of mental health.

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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