Visitors Encouraged - The Islamic Center of St. Joseph
We are glad that you have decided to visit our mosque, which is a place of worship for all Muslims. We welcome anyone who would like to visit and observe the daily prayers and participate in the activities at the Islamic Center of St. Joseph. The mosque is fully wheelchair-accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Islamic Center of St. Joseph volunteers regularly gives out presentations about Islam and receives visitors at the center. Here are nine pointers to better prepare you for your first visit to the mosque:
1) Welcome: Know that all of us who work at the mosque are really grateful to you for taking the time to reach out to us and to learn more about Muslims and the Islamic faith. So you are welcome anytime, during any of the five daily prayers, on any day of the week and on any day of the year. You are free to come either alone, with a friend, or an entire classroom. We can arrange to have someone guide you and walk you around the center. You would need to request a guide in advance.
2) What is a good time to visit? The mosque is open from before sunrise (at Fajr) to two hours after sunset (after Isha). Thus it is open all day to accommodate worshipers attending the five daily prayers. Some prayers (especially the two prayers in the afternoon) do not have any worshippers at the mosque, so we do recommend you contact us to make arrangements. Prayer times are on the website homepage. We recommend visiting the mosque during the prayer times so you will be able to meet other Muslims and learn from observation. Most visitors chose to come during the weekly Friday prayer service (between 1 and 2 p.m.) when they can listen to the sermon and when the mosque is at its most active.
3) How long will a visit take? Prayers last for about fifteen minutes. Set thirty minutes aside on your first visit. Arrive ten minutes early and leave a few minutes after prayer is over -- or hang out and meet with congregants.
4) Visiting during prayer time: When someone is praying they do not talk or respond to something you may have said. How do you know their prayer is complete? When they turn their head to the right and then to the left, it signifies the end of a prayer. Walking in front of someone praying is disrespectful. When a prayer is in session, you can take a seat at the back of the room and make yourself comfortable. As mentioned earlier, a prayer in a mosque lasts for about ten to fifteen minutes.
5) Dress: Visitors are requested to dress modestly, which means men can wear sleeved shirts and pants/jeans that cover your knees at least. Women are requested to wear long bottoms. A head scarf is preferred, but not mandatory. Choose something conservative. Be comfortable.
6) Layout: There are two prayer halls and restrooms for men and women with foot-baths for ablution.
7) Once outside the mosque: There are separate doors for men and women. As soon as you enter you'll see a shoe rack where you can place your footwear. Remember to leave both your shoes and your inhibitions at the door. Smile :) , you are now in the mosque and we are so happy to have you over!
8) Interact with congregants: Feel free to speak to other Muslim men and women you meet. They are always glad to answer questions or guide you around.
9) Invite Friends or Educators: Tell your friends and any educators you know that the Islamic Center welcomes them. Local educators covering Islam or the Muslim world in their curriculum find the tour extremely helpful. Common topics covered are Islamic demographics, basic beliefs/practices and misconceptions, educational guidelines and resources.
Our volunteer tour guides offer a wonderful blend of building knowledge and understanding about Islam and Muslims while enhancing the enjoyment of art and architecture, a vital but often overlooked component of Islamic history.
To schedule a visit, please contact us.