Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
In most countries in the Gulf you will see mosques everywhere. Part of the reason is because Muslims pray five times a day also, there is a famous “hadith” or saying by the Prophet Muhammad to build mosques in every neighborhood. Many neighborhoods have mosques within walking distance.
Usually, men go to the mosques especially on Friday afternoon for a “khutba” or sermon by the Imam. Sometimes women go to the mosques for classes on Quranic teaching. One of the mosques in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh had this, as well as water available for everyone to drink. I have seen some workers take a giant water bottle and fill it from a mosque.
I have been in the women's area on the mosques, most mosques have a women’s area. It is usually a very quiet place as women prefer to pray in their homes. Men on the other hand are encouraged to pray in the mosques.
Most mosques are not open to non-Muslims for viewing in the Gulf. However, there are some that are available in certain areas. The Shiekh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi is available to view and is very impressive with a huge courtyard of marble. It has an army to clean the floor every day. The Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat is open in certain areas as well. Also, in Istanbul there are two famous mosques worth seeing. The Sultan Ahmet and the Aya Sofia are very old mosques with a traditional feel.
When entering a mosque it is very important to remove your shoes and if you are a woman you may be asked to cover your hair.