Friday, 21 April 2017

UGANDA: Kibuli Mosque On Kibuli Hill A Spectacular Site

Visible 1,211ft above sea level, Kibuli hill is among the several hills that make up Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The hill is located a few minutes from lake victoria, and if you are at the top you get a beautiful view of the lake shores as well as the city center with its towering structures.

The biggest chunk of Kibuli hill land was owned by the late Prince Badru Kakungulu who later donated the hill to the Uganda Muslim Council where the current Kibuli Mosque, hospital, and schools stand.

The Kibuli Mosque is one of the few old structural landmarks that still stand tall in Kampala, and is also deeply rooted to the history of Islam in Uganda. Islam is said to have come to Uganda in 1844 and was easily embraced by Kabaka Suuna II, who was the then King of Buganda.

Kabaka Suuna II encouraged Islamic teachings throughout his kingdom and in no time, the numbers of believers grew. When Kabaka Mwanga II ascended on the throne, there were a few disagreements on some of the teachings and in the long run the kingdom and Islamic leadership were split.

Prince Badru Kakungulu, donated 80 acres of land to the Uganda Muslim Council for the construction of a mosque on Kibuli hill in the early 1930s and the construction commenced around 1937. When the Aga Khan visited Uganda in 1941, he started a campaign to raise UGX 250, 000/- for the construction of the mosque and was able to match up what was contributed which led to its completion.

The mosque was opened for prayers in 1951 and has been standing strong since then, watching over the rest of Kibuli like a guardian angel.

Although not as overwhelming in size as is the Gaddafi Mosque, the Kibuli Mosque has a classic feel to it. The mosque’s architecture will blow you away with a beautifully white washed exterior that seems to glow when the sun hits it just right. The towering minarets shaped like a well sculpted beacon stands tall adjacent to the aged but beautiful army green dorm that is almost covered with early morning mist before the sun rises.

As expected of most Mosques, you will find intricate and well made mosaic design with verses from the Quran strewn on the walls throughout the Kibuli mosque.

Inside the mosque is the prayer area which is called the Musalla, a spacious but bare part of the mosque where the faithfuls come to worship. The Musallah is kept bare because Muslims do not need chairs during prayers but you will find a few shelves alongside the walls. The shelves are known as Rihal and they usually house books as well as Qurans for those who do not have their own.

The most beautiful part of the Kibuli mosque or all mosques is the Mihrab. There is a way it looks like someone took time to paint and make it stand out from the rest of the prayer hall. A mihrab is an indentation that looks like an altar that marks the direction of the Qiblah for the faithfuls to face during prayer.

Mihrabs are usually shaped like a doorway and give you an overwhelming sense of calm when you stand near it. The Mihrab at the Kibuli mosque has a sky blue color to it and is a little larger in size compared to most. It has a small passageway with a mat that is usually reserved for the person leading prayers and above it a round window like opening that brings in sunlight.

Due to the opening of the Kibuli mosque, other busy structures were constructed on slopes of the hill. Although within the same compound, you will find the Kibuli hospital which is one of the biggest in the country and just on the right is a nursery/primary school.

As the sunrises on the city after the last call of the Muazzin, there is a sense of closeness to The Almighty as you stare down at the suburbs of Kampala from the verandahs of the Kibuli. It is a feeling of contentment and peace knowing someone is looking down on you and protecting the city you call home.