THE ORIGINAL MOSQUE
The original mosque was built by Muhammad pbuh next to the house where he settled after his journey to Medina in 622 AD. The original mosque was an open-air building with a raised platform for the reading of the Qur’an.
It was a rectangular enclosure of 30 × 35 m (98 × 115 ft), built with palm trunks and mud walls, and accessed through three doors:
Bab Rahmah (Door of Mercy) to the south, Bab Jibril (Door of Gabriel) to the west and Bab al-Nisa’ (Door of the Women) to the east. The basic plan of the building has since been adopted in the building of other mosques throughout the world.
Inside, Prophet Muhammad pbuh created a shaded area to the south called the suffah and aligned the prayer space facing north towards Jerusalem. When the qibla (prayer direction) was changed to face the Kaaba in Mecca, the mosque was re-oriented to the south.
The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious school.
Seven years later (629 AD/7 AH), the mosque was doubled in size to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims.
Subsequent Islamic rulers continued to enlarge and embellish the mosque over the centuries.
Our mosque is also designed and functions to a great degree like the Prophet’s (pbuh) mosque in Medina.
ENTRANCE: we have two main entrances: One of them is dedicated for women in tradition with the Bab e Nisa of the Prophets mosque, but unlike the current rules of the Prophet;s Mosque, women are welcome to enter through either door.
The two main colors in the entrance are those of wood and leaves keeping with the natural coloring used in the original mosque of the Prophet pbuh
This is the musallah, where the actual prayer or salah takes place. Salah is performed in congregation here five times a day. It is begun with the name of Allah and continues with recitation of the words of God, and ends with beseeching him for ones personal desires and needs of each person. It is also a time of connection of each individual with God himself.
There is no furniture in this room, no reserved pews for influential families or for those who gave large donations.
All Musallis or those who come to pray are called, are allocated in the lines on first arrival getting the best spot.
The women are in the back to protect their modesty from men whom they do not know.
Children are encouraged to come and stand with their parents.
Standing or Iqamah is an essential part of the Salah; it denotes humility, respect and gratitude to God and an awareness that we are in His presence, by our stance.
Though the obligatory Salah is brief, extra salah can be prayed for need, forgiveness or for consultation with God or to ease a particular difficulty.
It is also a place where one can come to read the Quran and reflect on it in the peace and silence of the Musallah.
The Quran in many languages including Spanish, Greek, Urdu, Chinese, Malyalam and Turkish are provided.
Like the Prophet’s mosque pbuh, our Mosque is also a community center, a place to teach and perform non-violent conflict resolution in the tradition of our Prophet pbuh. It also is a religious school for all ages.
The Suffa is missing which was a residential school of people who had left home for Islam and stayed in stringent circumstance to learn more about Islam in the company of the Prophet pbuh.
A poor copy of the Suffa are the overnight retreats held here for young people as well as the general congregation giving them the opportunity to leave their homes and spend the night in prayer and reflection.
THE KITCHEN AND HOSPITALITY
Hospitality is an essential part of being a Muslim and prophet Muahmmad pbuh was a living example of extreme hospitality.
The Kitchen is the hub of all events; people cook, eat together and serve others all through the year and most of all the huge Ramadan opening of the fasts every weekend, whence people of all faiths, and background are invited.
Cooking classes are also held here with lessons on authentic international cuisine, taught by international cooks.
Following in the tradition of the Prophet pbuh, the classrooms serve as a weekend school for children. The adults meet during the day or evening for classes in Arabic, memorization of the Quran, Islamic ideology, Understanding the Quran (Tafseer) and Tajweed which is the science of learning the correct enunciation of the Quran.
Tutoring classes for of children for educational enhancement is offered.
Sewing and crochet is also taught in classes to preserve and pass on the traditional international arts.
These have a special significance, as Taharah or purification of the body is an essential pre requisite for the salah and daily hygiene. Tough small, they are clean, and well kept and provide a place 24/7, for physical purification called “wudu” done prior to Salah.
Keeping in tradition with the mosque of the Prophet, we endeavor in our mosque to retain the simplicity, equality of all humans and races, a center for teaching and counseling and most of all a sanctuary for Salah and prayer for those who need to escape the rat race for a moment or more.