June 2010:

This is probably the biggest mosque in Shenzen, located at Meilin Lu. I happened to be in this city was here on one Friday in June 2010, and my other half had to find a mosque to perform his weekly obligation, i.e. Friday prayers. A frantic google search on the internet nights before yielded 2 or 3 mosques in the city and I reckon this one is the nearest to Louhu area, where I stay and shop and watch. The mosque is about 20 minutes drive by taxi from Shangrila Shenzen Hotel near Louhu railway station. Fare is about 30-40 Yuan on metered taxi. The building is  a simple and straight-cut design, a square shaped and two small minarets facing the other side of the main road, for some reason I am not sure. A Meilin Lu entrance leads to the big compound, toilets and wuduk area. A huge green banner with Chinese words greet the new-comers. A woman section  at the back of prayers hall provides refuge to a tired traveller, drained and  exhausted after half day long bargaining at LCC. There are many women on this Friday. Some are tourists from middle east and far east and overseas. Most are local residents. The way they dress during solat puzzle me as some are not properly covered. After the prayers, a fiesta atmosphere develops as they gathered at the spacious courtyard talking and chatting and catching up with friends and neighbors and relatives.  The locals and foreigners mix as well but language is the barrier in this country. Locals do not speak English and foreigners do not speak Mandarin or Cantonese. But what matters they are brothers and sisters and one ummah. On the street you cannot differentiate Moslem Chinese and kufar Chinese by look only, unless you meet them in the mosque, praying like you do.

Meilin Mosque is located at Meilin Lu, Shenzen, CHINA

The best way to this mosque is by taxi. Only 15-20 minutes drive from Louhu.

Fresh halal meat on sale outside the mosque area.

A young imam delivering tazkirah before actual Friday prayers starts at Meilin Mosque, Shenzen

A jemaah recording the khutbah Jumaat (Friday sermon) on his China-made Nokia phone.

The outside view of Meilin Mosque in Shenzen, CHINA

Noodle and grilled meat similar to kebab are all halal here. Yummy yummy!

Halal food stalls are plenty outside the mosque.

Halal restaurant near Meilin mosque in Shenzen, China

The masjid is fully air-conditioned and very clean. The sound system is so perfect — thanks to China electronic technology — that you can hear the tazkirah and khutbah by Imaam very distinctly — syllable by syllable — and crisply.  The Imaam is fairly young with a  scholar and matured look, in traditional moslem robes. He delivered tazkirah first in Mandarin, followed by khutbah (sermon).

At the entrance there are many foodstalls selling halal foods. After the congregation, these stalls are full with jemaah and you have to wait some time for tables to be empty. I tried noodle with plain soup and soy sauce, but the grilled beef fits my taste bud well, simply out-of-this-world taste.  A halal meat shop sell freshly slaughtered cows for Moslems living in the neighborhood. Moslems in Shenzen are mainly from Xinjiang province, some from Sichuan and other provinces.

In June 2010, actual Friday prayers started at 1:30pm. Tazkirah started one hour early. About 600 jemaah attended the prayers.

(The story is contributed by Wannor.)