Before you proceed: This is not official UMS guidelines (go read the Rules), and is intended to those who seek more realism in their builds. Compliance is not mandatory.
So, I was talking with Jawad about the mosques in the UMS (surprisingly we have a handful of them!) and about their orientation, and such things. I know the utmost thing in the UMS is to build for fun, but if we can observe some standard it'd be a plus, and adds to the realism.
This post will serve as a guideline for the most true-to-world mosques. It won't apply to existing ones, and adherence is voluntary. Again, this is just for standartization and realism of mosques in UMS as a whole.
The most important aspect of mosques is their direction. IRL it faces Makkah, but we don't have a Makkah in the UMS. This guideline will therefore assume an "imaginary" direction of Makkah from any point on the server world. Given many players are European I suppose the general direction of Makkah from Europe would be southerly (but off to the East). Following this assumption, mosques should face south in the UMS. The side facing the Makkah (or south per this assumption) would be the "front" of the whole building.
A state of ablution is mandatory when performing prayer. Touching other people of a different gender is, except relatives and other exceptions, will nullify that state. Therefore mosques customarily segregate male and female visitors, inside the praying hall itself, in the ablution areas, and of course, the WCs. More will be explained below.
Place for ablution
Ablution is mandatory before prayers. Usually there would be fountains, or a row of taps for this. As per the previous point, the ablution places would be separated for male and female. If you have enough space, that is. An important thing to note is that the female ablution place will be walled around if it's outdoors, or more covered if it's part of the main building.
WCs would generally be close by, but also separated by gender, and female's will be inside the walled compound.
Main praying hall (the interior)
- Many mosques would have alcoves on the side that faces Makkah (or south per the first section). The alcove can be empty, decorated with geometric patterns, or decorated with Scriptures (rarely the shahadah because I never saw one there)
- The main entrance to the hall, otoh, is usually at the back of the building, opposite the alcove. Many mosques would also have side doors.
- Most mosques would have the interiors already fully carpeted. The carpets would have lines to mark the rows for congregational prayer. Because this is MC, usually that means an alternating line of light and dark carpet for a total of 2m per row (it's about 1m IRL).
- Individual praying mats are usually laid out by praying people in non-congregation times, but this can be all over the place (protip: near or under the fans ;) )
- In case the mosque you build don't have row lines marked, the individual prayer mats would crowd the front, laid out in rows and have no gaps in between.
- Larger mosques (those that perform Friday congregational prayers) would have a raised lectern off to the right side of the alcove, for the Friday sermon.
- Many mosques have a corner separated for the female prayers. Usually this is at the left back corner of the mosque, but sometimes to the right. It's always at the back, however. This will be either screened (use doors) or curtained.
- If the mosque have a main dome, you can build a chandelier under it. The rim of the inside of the dome can have Scriptures around them.
Auxillary praying areas
Many mosques have more than one praying halls/areas. The other halls/areas would be at the sides or behind the main hall, but never in front of it. Things to observe:
- They aren't usually carpeted, but mostly tiled instead.
- They can be roofed or open
- If prayer rows are indicated they must align with those in the main hall
No specific requirement for them. Can be either at the front or the back (but not on the center line), one or several (but usually symmetrical between the right and left along the center line)
- Muslims don't bring their outdoor shoes in mosques. Prepare shoe compartments if you want near the entrances or near the ablution places (segregated by gender as usual)
- Face south
- Ablution places
- Prayer rows
- Obstruction of vision around female member's areas: Screens or curtains in the praying halls, walls or limited line of sight in the ablution places/WCs.
- Raised lectern (optional, but generally the case for large mosques)
I hope this would help other builders build more realistic mosques in the UMS. There's only so much you can infer from photos, so I hope this post will help gleam some insight into the reasoning behind the layout of mosques.
Thanks to Jawad who supported my idea of writing this post, and I hope this would be satisfactory. And thanks to everyone else for reading :)