Q: What is a mosque?

A: A mosque is a place of worship used by Muslims. The English word "mosque" is derived from its Arabic equivalent, masjid, which means "place of prostration." It is in the mosque that Muslims perform their prayers, a part of which includes placing the forehead on the floor.

Q: How is a mosque used?

A: Mosques play a vital role in the lives of Muslims. The primary function of the mosque is to provide a place where Muslims may perform Islam's obligatory five daily prayers as a congregation. A mosque also provides sufficient space in which to hold prayers on Fridays, the Muslim day of communal prayer, and on the two Muslim holidays, called Eids, or "festivals."

Q: Is a mosque used exclusively for prayer?

A: Though its main function is as a place of prayer, the mosque plays a variety of roles. Our mosque provides part time Islamic educational classes for children. We also provide diverse services such as, Arabic classes, Quranic instruction, and youth activities.

Marriages and funerals, dinners during the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid prayers and celebrations are all to be found in our mosque. They also encourage interfaith dialogues and community activism. Many mosques serve as recreational centers for the Muslim community and may have a gymnasium, game room and weight equipment, as well as a library and classrooms.

Q: Do mosques welcome visitors?

A: Mosques welcome visitors. Tours can be arranged. To arrange a tour please contact the mosque. They will want to make sure your visit is enjoyable.

Q: Do mosques have special rules?

A: Men and women should always dress conservatively when visiting a mosque, covering their arms and legs. Examples of inappropriate clothing would be shorts for men and short skirts for women.

Shoes are always left near the entrance to the prayer area so as not to soil the rugs or carpets. Shelves are usually provided to hold shoes. Women may be asked to cover their hair when visiting a mosque. Many mosques have scarves on hand for visitors to borrow, but it is better to bring a head covering in case none are available.

Visitors to mosques should behave as they would when visiting any religious institution, but they should feel free to ask questions about the mosque, its architecture, furnishings, and activities. Muslims are happy to answer questions about their religion.