Jwdi Mosque

Authors: Emine Bala, Mohammed Abdulghani, Ali Bala, Ibrahim Fatih Rasul

Foundation and History

The mosque was founded by Mullah Qadr,a jeweler born in 1954. He decided to start construction on the night of the ascension of prophet Muhammad. The project, which began on July 20, 2009, took two years to finish. It has not been renovated since it was founded.

Front view of the mosque photo by Ibrahim fatih

The first imam of the mosque was Mullah Osman Kani Kurday. He named the mosque Jwdi (Ararat) because it was considered a holy place in Turkey where the ship of the prophet Noah is believed to have landed. Dr Muhammed Ali, who leads Friday prayers, and Imam Sirwan, who leads the daily prayers, are the present imams of the mosque.

Location and Building

This mosque, which covers 8,000 meters, is located in the south of the Nergiz district near the West Emergency Hospital between 100Meter Street at the intersection of the Nawroz and Kurdistan districts. The project was mapped by Mullah Abdulkadir. Furthermore, he paid for the construction himself. The mosque has room for 3,000 people.[1]

The mosque has a simple design, with two floors and two tall, golden domes. A small garden surrounds the building.

There are five cleaners who tend to the mosque every day, especially on Fridays. They receive their salary from the government.


The haram measures 33 by 18 meters with a height of 6 meters, and is rectangular in shape. It is divided into two sections with windows spaced across the facade. In daily prayers, the first section is used and both sections are occupied for more crowded prayers such as Friday and Tarawih. The interior design is very simple and plain, with almost no decorations or inscriptions on the walls. There are two columns covered with a gold-colored metal at the center. The window frames are made of simple plastic. A relatively big chandelier hangs at the center of the haram and is connected to the central dome, with four smaller chandeliers in the corners. Three arched spaces are in the front side of the haram. One of them is used as a minbar and the other one is occupied as a mihrab and the third one does not have any function apart from providing architectural symmetry.  

Pray hall photo by Ibrahim fatih

Celebration Hall

The area is 15 by 26 meters with a height of 4.5 meters. The hall includes some sofas, air conditioners, and a room for serving tea, coffee and water.

Women’s Prayer Hall

The area of the women praying hall is 15 by 15 meters with a height of 4.5 meters. The mosque has an air conditioner, a curtain to separate the men’s and women’s sections, and ablution rooms for women.

Imam’s Room

A separate room contains all the necessary facilities such as an air conditioner, a big library, and a special desk for the imam. The library includes 700 books written in different languages. It is mostly used to collect information for sermons and speeches delivered by the imam. Also, congregants can borrow books from the library for return by a due date. The imam has stated that he is planning to buy more books and computers soon.


The lodgings are divided into two parts: One for the family of Mullah Osman – the imam of the mosque – and another for an employee charged with cleaning the building.

Zhyan Center

The Zhyan Center on the second floor is for memorizing, explaining and reading the Quran fluently. This facility is supervised by the government, and its teachers receive government funds to help meet the expenses for students who take Quran lessons there.[2]

[1] Latif, Omer. “Gashtek ba naw Mzgawt w Takyakani naw Shary Hawler” (A Tour Through the Mosques of Erbil), Erbil 2012, p 67                                                                                  

[2] Interview with Mullah Sirwan, October 3, 2019.

Prayer and Worship

Daily Meeting

According to Islamic principles, every Muslim who has passed the age of puberty must pray five times a day anywhere they like at specific times. Yet praying in a mosque is preferable and encouraged by the prophet Muhammad. That is why different age groups participate in praying including children, young, adult, and the elderly, but the majority of participants are generally young. People mostly attend the four obligatory daily prayers. Yet, the number of participants falls sharply at morning prayer because it is held so early in the day. In total, around 150 people participate in the various daily prayers.[1]

Weekly Meeting

The gate of the mosque is opened to visitors one hour before Friday prayer so the congregants pray individually. They generally recite the Quran quietly. Around 1,500 people participate. When the Friday prayer time starts, the imam preaches about topics provided by the ministry of religious affairs. Topics of the sermons are usually about social and religious life of the people; for example, how a Muslim should behave to overcome his or her problems in social or religious life, or how the lessons may be conducted using the hadiths of the prophet. After the Friday prayer is completed, some people perform Sunnah prayer, which is not obligatory. In this mosque, there is no vocal, collective Tasbihaat after the Friday prayer. Young adults make up approximately 65% of participants, while 15% are children and 20% are elderly. As for the ratio by gender, an estimated 70% are men and 30% are women.[2]

Yearly Meeting

In Ramadan, after Isha prayer, there is a series of prayers called Tarawih and around 500 people take part. After Tarawih, a doctor called Muhamad Ali mostly gives speeches about medical issues to raise the people’s awareness. During the last 10 days of Ramadan, people stay in the mosque overnight to recite the Holy Quran. After the morning prayer, the hadiths of the prophet are explained by Imam Sirwan. On the first day of the feast Eid al-Fitr, a lecture about charity and peace is given by the imam. Then, people shake hands and embrace so that peace may spread among them.

Another religious feast in Islam is Eid al-Adha, for which also people gather in the mosque for sermon and prayer, and to congratulate each other. Around 1,000 people attend.[3]

[1] Interview with Mullah Sirwan, October 3, 2019.

[2] Interview with Mullah Sirwan, October 3, 2019.

[3] Interview with Mullah Sirwan, October 3, 2019.

Community and Group Activity

There are daily Quran lessons in Ramadan. Many students, both male and female, as well as children come to the mosque after Asr prayer in the afternoon and stay for an hour to study the Quran recitation. Mullah Sirwan, a volunteer, teaches them how to read the Quran fluently.

Every day, around 10 people bring food to the mosque to serve nearly 100 congregates who break their fast in Ramadan.

Public Relations

Mostly, people visit Imam Sirwan in his office to consult him about their family, social or religious issues. The mosque does not have ties to any organizations or political parties. Also, it does not hold any social media accounts or print any periodical publications.