The main mosque of Lebap Region has been opened in Turkmenabat today. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, deputy prime ministers and other high-ranking officials, including almost the entire top management, arrived from the capital for the celebration. The ceremony was also attended by clergy, public figures, many local residents, including a lot of young people.
From far away, four snow-white minarets are visible, framing a huge golden dome, which reflects clouds floating across the sky. According to the Turkmenabat residents, the 63 meters high minarets are visible even 30 kilometers from the city. The mosque is also a building of rather impressive dimensions, featuring several massive buildings faced with white marble.
The new mosque can house 3 thousand worshipers at one time. A hotel has been built, and there is an extensive parking lot for visitors. The entire project was carried out by several private Turkmen companies, which provided the most modern engineering and technical equipment of the spiritual and educational center. At the same time, its appearance combines the oriental building traditions and canons with a modern architectural style, which has been widely applied not only in Ashgabat, but throughout the country.
The Turkmen leader took part in prayers and transferred a Muslim relic which was sent to him from Mecca to the new mosque. Another sacred object displayed for viewing was granted to Berdimuhamedov during a pilgrimage to the Kaaba.
Turkmenistan is a secular state, and it guarantees freedom of religion and belief, their equality before the law. Religious organizations are separated from the government and system of state education.
But in a society where majority of the population traditionally professes Islam, mosques have an important spiritual and cultural role. They promote moral values, family foundations, and cultivate a careful attitude towards national heritage.
After the ceremonies in the new mosque, a collective meal (sadaqat) was held in a special place. It is an ancient custom of the Turkmens to celebrate any common event with a charity meal. It was the President who gave the Sadaqat today. He congratulated all the ceremony participants on a new mosque opening in Lebap, and noted that the main mosques have also been built in Mary and Dashoguz regions over the past ten years, and another large mosque has been commissioned in the capital city. The main mosque of the seaside region is under construction in Balkanabat.
Having completed all the prescribed rites and a joint meal, the people did not hurry to disperse for a long time. After all, when hundreds and thousands of people gather at one tablecloth, as it often happens in Turkmenistan on the occasion of various significant occasions and festivities, there are always common topics for conversation. This is the meaning of the sadaqat – to hold together people, unite them for good deeds.