Selfless Service, Equality Define Abu Dhabi’s First Gurudwara || SNE
By .Khaleej Times .
Aug 03, 2019
The facade of Gurudwara Mata Sahib Kaur doesn’t give any hint of a religious place.
A journey through the dusty lanes of M11 sector in Mussafah industrial area leads to Abu Dhabi’s first gurudwara – a place of worship for the Sikh community.
During the summer of 2017, two workshop plots gave way to the gurudwara. The facade of Gurudwara Mata Sahib Kaur, positioned between an array of workshops, hardware stores, Baqala and others, doesn’t give any hint of a religious place. There are no signboards or religious symbols placed outside. But a walk through the gate, there’s instant introduction to Sikhism. There are volunteers sitting in a huddle polishing shoes and some cleaning footwear of believers who have come to pray. Volunteers do selfless service like arranging the prayer hall and other proceedings, cleaning kitchen, plates, cooking and serving ‘langar’ (community kitchen), free turban training, maintaining the facility, including restrooms.
“This is what Sikhs are. All are equal. Even a rich man will be sitting and polishing shoes of others. This shatters whatever arrogance one has. The entire place is run by volunteers. We have 2,000 to 3,000 people coming daily and on weekends and public holidays around 5,000 to 6,000 people come here. Food is prepared for everyone and all supplies, groceries are brought by volunteers,” chief coordinator Harjinder Singh said.
Harjinder noted the camaraderie between community members as reason for smooth functioning of the gurudwara. It was at his workshop which was used for first prayer gathering in 2004 and later two of his leased plots converted into gurudwara.
“In the beginning, workers from my Image Group of Companies used to pray in a small room. Soon devotees from neighbourhood joined. As the number of followers grew, we had to expand the area to accommodate everyone. And by June 2017, two plots of my workshop was converted into this gurudwara. There are eight to 10 rooms for kitchen store, visitors, few staff etc,” he said.
Hope for new land
Another coordinator Jaswant Singh said the recent decision by the Abu Dhabi Government to give legal recognition to non-Muslim worship sites has come as a blessing.
“Once we have the licence, we also hope to get a new piece of land to build a proper gurudwara. We hope this will be realised soon. We wish to have a multi-purpose facility with library, auditorium, meeting halls, garden, parking areas etc. We don’t have enough space to accommodate all the followers during prayer,” Jaswant said and noted the place is open to people from all religion and faith.
“We have some Afghans, Pakistanis, Hindus, Christians and more who come to pray,” he said pointing to the banner hanging at the main entrance that reads: ‘First Allah created the light, then, by his creative power, he made all mortal beings’.