Religion in Second Life – overview

The Second Life Herald have started an overview of religion in Second Life, starting out with Christianity.

We covered Chebi Mosque earlier in the year and the thing that struck me was the attention to detail with the architecture and the desire to create a place of reflection. It’s something all religions have in common that is accentuated in the virtual world context.

Chebi Mosque

Chebi Mosque, built by Marino Nuvolari is an impressive build modeled on the Mezquita mosque in Spain and it’s a striking resemblance.


The information supplied on notecard about the Chebi Mosque covers a range of information (exerpts only):

“As-salaamu alaykum (Peace be upon you)

A warm welcome to Chebi Mosque. For the benefit of those who use the masjid (mosque) as a place of worship, we kindly request that visitors behave with same level of respect as they would visiting a mosque in real life. It is customary for people entering a masjid to remove their shoes. Your courtesy is much appreciated and we hope you enjoy your visit. Please feel free to return at any time and bring your friends!

Things to look out for during your visit to the Second Life masjid:

Mawdh’a (Fountain)
This is the wall holding the fountains which Muslims use to perform wudu (ablutions) prior to salah. There are two Mawdh’a in Chebi Mosque, inside the main courtyard.

Manarah (Minaret)
The tower situated at the corner of the masjid structure, from which the Muezzin makes the adhan (call to prayer). You can listen to an adhan by clicking play on the music icon at the bottom of your screen.

The ornamental arched niche set into the qibla or wall that indicates the direction of Makkah (Mecca). The five daily salah (Muslim prayers) are made facing Makkah.

The steps from which the Friday khutbah (sermon) is delivered.

The Qur’an displays the 27th surah (chapter), called An-Naml (the Ants) in Moroccan calligraphy. If you click on the Qur’an (but not the stand), you can hear an online recital of this verse in Arabic with an English translations.

Is this a “real” mosque?
– Islam is a way of life and people do not stop being Muslim simply because they enter virtual reality. When avatars meet and talk in-world, it is no different to Muslims talking on the telephone – and indeed, one of the officers of the mosque uses the skype telephone service to communicate with other avatars! Chebi Mosque is currently the most important meeting place for Muslims on Second Life – so this is a “real” mosque in many ways. However, it is not exclusively for use by Second Life Muslims. Anyone can visit – at any time.

Do Muslims perform salah (pray) in Chebi Mosque?
– Yes, they do. If you right click on a ball marked “pray” above one of the prayer mats, you avatar will automatically kneel and bow. However, the opinion seems to be that such prayers do not count as fard (obligatory) salah, but are either nawafil (supererogetary) or the equivalent to du’a (a prayer which can be said almost anywhere and in any language).

Is there Jumu’a salah at Chebi mosque?
-There has been in the past. The mosque is open to anyone who wishes to organise Jumu’a, providing all are welcome.


Are there other mosques on Second Life?
-There are three other mosques:
(a) Hassan II. The design is inspired by the Hassan II mosque in Morocco, and is part of an island created by a real life American University:

(b) Fort Malaya. Part of a museum inpsired by an 18th century fort that I gather was the scene of battles between Sultanate, Portuguese and Acehnese forces.

(c) el Second Life Mosque. One of a complex of religious buildings constructed by a real life member of a New York based group which promotes interreligious understanding:

Does Chebi Mosque have an Imam?

Check it out in-world

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