Visiting a mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. From the time of the Prophet Muhammad (7th century), mosques have been open and welcoming gathering places. God is worshiped in community and the message of Islam is vibrantly discussed. Mosques have always been a hub of social and political life.
Almost every mid-size city in Canada has at least one mosque. Some of these are small prayer places while others are full community centres with space for worship; education; recreation; and socializing. Mosques are lively places with prayers held five times a day.
To visit a mosque simply call or email to make an appointment (many mosques are online or listed in the telephone book).
What should I do before I visit
Muslims simply ask that visitors be open and respectful.
- Gender - In Islam the obligation of communal worship falls more heavily on men. While both men and women are commanded to pray five times a day, men are encouraged to pray together in the mosque. As a result you may find more men than women at a mosque.
- Modesty in dress - Modesty is highly esteemed by Muslims. It is greatly appreciated if visitor arrive in modest attire.
- Prayer - There are no pews or benches in Muslim prayer areas. The prayer is done in straight rows with worshipers standing, bowing and prostrating. Verses of the Quran are recited either silently or aloud during the prayers.
- Imam - The faith leader in the Muslim community is an Imam. The Imam is usually responsible for leading the five daily prayers; marriages; educational seminars; counseling; etc.
- Friday Prayer - A large congregational prayer is performed on Fridays just after mid-day. A sermon is delivered followed by a short formal prayer.
The word mosque is of French origin and was used by Europeans and Westerners to describe a Muslim place of worship. Muslims prefer the original Arabic term masjid to describe their place of worship.
Masjid in Arabic means a "place of prostration". The term comes from the same Arabic root - sujud, designating the important worship position in which Muslims touch their forehead to the ground.