DURBAN 24062014 Grey str Mosque. PICTURE: Jacques Naude

Durban -

The R1.3 million upgrade to the Juma Masjid Mosque, in Dr Yusaf Dadoo (Grey) Street is nearing completion.

This comes in the week that Muslims prepare for their holy month of Ramadan.

Renovations included new plumbing, tiling, lighting and the revamp of the ablution area which will be used to accommodate worshippers breaking their fast during Ramadan.

Muslims will look to the skies this weekend for the sighting of the new moon which will herald the start of the month-long fast.

Those observing the fast will be required to abstain from food and liquids from dusk until dawn.

Mosque chairman Ahmed Vally Mahomed said it had taken them four months to complete the upgrade.

The waterfall feature inside the mosque had also been upgraded.

The passages and entrances to the mosque, from Denis Hurley and Dr Yusuf Dadoo Streets were re-tiled.

The exterior of the mosque would be painted in the next three months.

Mahomed said the mosque would also be fitted with a new carpet, imported from China at a cost of R750 000.

The carpet would be fitted with minimal disruptions before Eid, he said.

The mosque can accommodate up to 7 000 worshippers, and on Fridays, the mosque accommodates 3 500 for the midday prayer.

Worshippers also pray five times daily.

“Ramadan is a holy month. There are disadvantaged people from the community and foreigners who will break their fast at selected points at the mosque,” Mahomed said.

The Juma Masjid Mosque, meaning mosque of the congregation, was built in August, 1881.

It was the first mosque to be built in Durban, and is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Extensions and alterations were last made to the mosque in 1943.

The Nizamiye Mosque, built in 2012, in Midrand, Gauteng, has become the largest mosque complex in the southern hemisphere.