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Author Topic: The Perfect Mosque for EVERYONE!!??  (Read 24960 times)
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« Reply #25 on: Feb 09, 2009 10:26 PM »

wsalam,

so true bro... so true... they just don't seem to understand that. or they think things can be "fixed" later on.... which is impossible once a mosque is built. why build a mosque in the first place if it isn't going to be built right. i even wrote a 7 page letter to the board about women's participation, but they are so old school it's just so hard to change elder's viewpoints.
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« Reply #26 on: Feb 10, 2009 04:17 PM »

wsalam,

so true bro... so true... they just don't seem to understand that. or they think things can be "fixed" later on.... which is impossible once a mosque is built. why build a mosque in the first place if it isn't going to be built right. i even wrote a 7 page letter to the board about women's participation, but they are so old school it's just so hard to change elder's viewpoints.


As-salam-mu-alaikum,

It seems that your concern is not the only one - I came across a beautifully written 8 page letter to the board of the Muslim Community of Troy listed on their web site below:

http://www.al-hidaya.com/e107_files/misc/womenmosque_letter.pdf

The letter even includes design ideas to address the concerns of the sisters. The board responded and their response was posted as well:

http://www.al-hidaya.com/e107_files/misc/17Jan07%20resolution.pdf

I don't even know where Troy is, but the nasheeha of that sisters letter from that community will benefit ours.

If you don’t mind, can you post, or make available your letter. It may not be effective in your city, but perhaps by publishing it in this forum other communities can benefit from it, inshallah.

as-salam-mu-alaikum,

Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

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« Reply #27 on: Feb 10, 2009 11:08 PM »

wsalam,

lol that would be my letter...

ws
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« Reply #28 on: Feb 11, 2009 05:00 PM »

wsalam,

lol that would be my letter...

ws


As-salam-mu-alaikum Jannah,

Wow, I came across that letter months ago! Truly, everything happens for a reason. I thought Troy was a suburb of Washington D.C. (due to its reference of the Capital Region). I am impressed though, that they did print both the letter and the response on the website - as many boards of directors try to suppress differences or oppositions, rather than accommodate them.

The problem now is that there is a well known quality rule that affects all projects.

It's known as the 1:10:100 rule, and it was developed in the IT industry but the rule can be applied in all aspects of life.

Basically, if you discover a problem in the design phase, that is, when it's only on paper, will cost you one unit of money to fix (example $1)

If you discover the problem during the construction/build phase, that same problem will now cost you 10 units of money to fix (that $1 problem will now cost $10)

If you discover the problem once it's completed, that same problem will cost 100 units of money to fix (that $1 problem now costs $100)


May be you can use our experiences to benefit your community…

Since land is significantly more expensive in Canada than in the USA, we have to build multistory mosques rather than a single floor facility ($600 000 - $1 000 000 / acre of land zoned for religious purposes – that would mean that Al-Hidaya would cost $6-12 million for the land alone if it was in Canada). The mosque that was built in our community is a three level mosque – however, all prayers except Jumaah are prayed on the same floor. Currently we pray in banquet room, located on the lower level. In fact, the banquet hall is carpeted and we have put lines on the carpet to indicate rows. The banquet hall follows the same floor plan as the musalla space above, so there is a space for the imam in the banquet hall in the exact spot.

Benefits we have found from this setup:
1.) It saves on heating costs - save heating costs on two additional floors.
2.) Easier to keep one floor of the masjid clean – one floor to vacuum, wet shoes, etc…
3.) Husband and wife can pray together, and leave together
4.) Both husband and wives can watch the kids as they crawl or walk between both genders – most kids stand in prayer with their fathers as they know their mother is a few rows behind them.
5.) We get to meet children of the opposite gender after prayer. I’ve met little girls who have given genuine great ideas about improving the mosques.
6.) Ideas and announcement are easier to communicate. Prayer time changes are decided by the people attending that prayer (example Fajr jamaat decides Fajr changes) which include men and women – effective the next Saturday and only if it’s announce in Jummah.
7.) We have one single door handicap accessible entrance from the lower level used as the entrance for the whole week for both brothers and sisters .. It means we have to only shovel the snow from one pathway from the parking lot to the door, until the next Jumaah.
8.) All washroom stalls are lockable from the outside (key door). Masjid keeps all but one locked in the brothers, and two available for sisters. This reduces housekeeping and maintenance costs, and it’s easier to identify the problem people who don’t keep the masjid clean.
9.) Even in Jumaah the handicap sisters pray in the lower level. There seems to be an unusually large amount of sisters that have arthritis and thus needs to pray on chairs, having them walk up the stairs adds another barrier to entering the masjid.
10.) We don’t have a kids discipline issue inside the mosques (the reason why mosques built closed off area for sisters) – perhaps it’s because their father or imam is only a few feet away! Hmm…


Disadvantage we have found from this setup:
1.) Most people don’t know where the main entrance is (both brothers and sisters)
2.) This setup can not be used during peak conditions – although we are using it currently by forcing the late brothers to go upstairs!
3.) Sisters/brothers who don’t like the openness don’t come to this masjid … but they can choose from the other 126 mosques and mussala in the Greater Toronto Area with different degrees of separation


Perhaps have the sisters pray underneath the balcony floor for your facility for all prayers but jumaah might be an easy solution. There is a door from stair case to the main prayer hall, easily the women who require privacy can go upstairs – that is the “women with noisy kids room” and area underneath the balcony for all other women. For peak conditions, the LATE brothers can pray in your massively large lobby area in front of the pool or the multipurpose room.

A really great design is the ISNA Canada headquarters masjid area. They have a one level prayer hall with beautiful partitions that are only 2 feet tall between the brothers and sisters. During the womens’ Friday night halaqa, the imam puts a chair on the brother side of the partition and gives nasheeha to the sisters and they asks very private women related questions in the masjid. While the men generally pray in the lobby leading into the masjid during this time (example late Isha people)

They also have a separate room attached on the women side with a glass wall for women who want more privacy.

I hope your community can benefit from these observations, inshallah.

Wa-alaikum-as-salam.


Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

Help Build the Community! Visit:
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« Reply #29 on: Feb 12, 2009 12:31 AM »

walaikum salaam wrt wbt,

Troy is actually a small city up here near the capitol of NY: Albany... so along with Schenectady, Albany, Troy and various other suburbs this makes up the "Capital Region". So that was what was meant by the letter. It really is a good area for families and it is more and more diverse every year but our economy comes and goes. We do have many colleges and many Muslims come here for higher education and end up getting jobs and starting families here. Recently we've had waves of immigration from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and lately Sudan/Somalia and Iraq. We've also had a number of "theological/political" issues between communities which is why from our one mosque about 15 years ago we've now spread out into maybe 5 and more on the way.

I totally agree with your costs. No one knows it better than myself. I kept wishing for years to update this website but it just was built on old architecture without thought on how to expand. Now it's just impossible. I can totally see them building the mosque the way they want now and they will either 1. alienate many people such as young women, mothers, older grandmothers, young parents, children, youth and so on or 2. 20 years from now spend twice as much trying to add the things that are needed.

I can understand the need for floors, I think they have the same problem in the UK or even worse being they can't really build but have to buy existing structures such as churches and modify for their purposes. Lucky for us we have a good amount of land alhamdulillah and if you look at the plans on our homepage it is to be mostly a one floor plan with a "balcony" for the sisters. This is Stage 1 the Musallah and then we will add "wings" to the musallah which would include classrooms or whatever else later on.

But your use of the first floor banquet hall as the musallah shows poor planning in that respect, but I can understand how that happened. It's interesting I think Masjid al Taqwa in NYC had the same idea of building the musallah at the top and having a downstairs multi-purpose area, but now they have done the same thing you guys did by having all prayers on that lower level and shutting down the main mosque area except for jumah. It seems kind of a shame, but I don't know. I know people don't like the idea of having "things" on top of the musallah like a banquet hall or whatever else so I'm sure that's why the plans went ahead like that.

The main thing I found before writing the letter and now is that every sister has a different idea of what she is comfortable with and every age group has different things they would like to see in a mosque. I just keep trying to emphasize that we need to include EVERYONE. If this is a mosque for the 21st century into the 22nd we need a NEW model, we need new solutions, we can't just keep using the old school 12th century model, which is beautiful but built for a different purpose/time/function. The mosques in the west serve as everything... community centers, schools, social areas, prayer facilities, banquet facilities, child care, i mean everything we really have to get out of the old mentality and start planning for the future. That end drawing I put in there is what I suggested as a plan to accomodate everyone. Unfortunately what they are planning now is just a straight rectangular prayer area with "NOTHING" as a barrier between men and women and a very small sister's balcony... for what I don't know. No provisions for children, no provision for young families, niqabis, old women...nothing.

Anyway I could go on forever. We should probably merge this into the discussion on the perfect mosque...







wsalam,

lol that would be my letter...

ws


As-salam-mu-alaikum Jannah,

Wow, I came across that letter months ago! Truly, everything happens for a reason. I thought Troy was a suburb of Washington D.C. (due to its reference of the Capital Region). I am impressed though, that they did print both the letter and the response on the website - as many boards of directors try to suppress differences or oppositions, rather than accommodate them.

The problem now is that there is a well known quality rule that affects all projects.

It's known as the 1:10:100 rule, and it was developed in the IT industry but the rule can be applied in all aspects of life.

Basically, if you discover a problem in the design phase, that is, when it's only on paper, will cost you one unit of money to fix (example $1)

If you discover the problem during the construction/build phase, that same problem will now cost you 10 units of money to fix (that $1 problem will now cost $10)

If you discover the problem once it's completed, that same problem will cost 100 units of money to fix (that $1 problem now costs $100)


May be you can use our experiences to benefit your community…

Since land is significantly more expensive in Canada than in the USA, we have to build multistory mosques rather than a single floor facility ($600 000 - $1 000 000 / acre of land zoned for religious purposes – that would mean that Al-Hidaya would cost $6-12 million for the land alone if it was in Canada). The mosque that was built in our community is a three level mosque – however, all prayers except Jumaah are prayed on the same floor. Currently we pray in banquet room, located on the lower level. In fact, the banquet hall is carpeted and we have put lines on the carpet to indicate rows. The banquet hall follows the same floor plan as the musalla space above, so there is a space for the imam in the banquet hall in the exact spot.

Benefits we have found from this setup:
1.) It saves on heating costs - save heating costs on two additional floors.
2.) Easier to keep one floor of the masjid clean – one floor to vacuum, wet shoes, etc…
3.) Husband and wife can pray together, and leave together
4.) Both husband and wives can watch the kids as they crawl or walk between both genders – most kids stand in prayer with their fathers as they know their mother is a few rows behind them.
5.) We get to meet children of the opposite gender after prayer. I’ve met little girls who have given genuine great ideas about improving the mosques.
6.) Ideas and announcement are easier to communicate. Prayer time changes are decided by the people attending that prayer (example Fajr jamaat decides Fajr changes) which include men and women – effective the next Saturday and only if it’s announce in Jummah.
7.) We have one single door handicap accessible entrance from the lower level used as the entrance for the whole week for both brothers and sisters .. It means we have to only shovel the snow from one pathway from the parking lot to the door, until the next Jumaah.
8.) All washroom stalls are lockable from the outside (key door). Masjid keeps all but one locked in the brothers, and two available for sisters. This reduces housekeeping and maintenance costs, and it’s easier to identify the problem people who don’t keep the masjid clean.
9.) Even in Jumaah the handicap sisters pray in the lower level. There seems to be an unusually large amount of sisters that have arthritis and thus needs to pray on chairs, having them walk up the stairs adds another barrier to entering the masjid.
10.) We don’t have a kids discipline issue inside the mosques (the reason why mosques built closed off area for sisters) – perhaps it’s because their father or imam is only a few feet away! Hmm…


Disadvantage we have found from this setup:
1.) Most people don’t know where the main entrance is (both brothers and sisters)
2.) This setup can not be used during peak conditions – although we are using it currently by forcing the late brothers to go upstairs!
3.) Sisters/brothers who don’t like the openness don’t come to this masjid … but they can choose from the other 126 mosques and mussala in the Greater Toronto Area with different degrees of separation


Perhaps have the sisters pray underneath the balcony floor for your facility for all prayers but jumaah might be an easy solution. There is a door from stair case to the main prayer hall, easily the women who require privacy can go upstairs – that is the “women with noisy kids room” and area underneath the balcony for all other women. For peak conditions, the LATE brothers can pray in your massively large lobby area in front of the pool or the multipurpose room.

A really great design is the ISNA Canada headquarters masjid area. They have a one level prayer hall with beautiful partitions that are only 2 feet tall between the brothers and sisters. During the womens’ Friday night halaqa, the imam puts a chair on the brother side of the partition and gives nasheeha to the sisters and they asks very private women related questions in the masjid. While the men generally pray in the lobby leading into the masjid during this time (example late Isha people)

They also have a separate room attached on the women side with a glass wall for women who want more privacy.

I hope your community can benefit from these observations, inshallah.

Wa-alaikum-as-salam.


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« Reply #30 on: Mar 31, 2009 12:31 AM »

 assalamualaikum


Having been to several mosques since I converted to Islam, most of them make it very difficult for a woman with no mahram to go talk to the imam.  The women's section in the one I've been attending most recently is completely cut off from the men, and the offices are only accessible from the men's side.  Thus, if I need to ask the imam something, I either have to ask one of the women to ask her husband/brother to ask, which is okay for most things, or barge through the men's section to find the imam.  So, my only requirement for a new mosque doesn't depend on the building's architecture or aesthetics, but on equal access to the guidance we all need.


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« Reply #31 on: Apr 07, 2009 07:37 PM »

Build a Radio Tower to Transmit Athan instead of loud speakers

Another solution to the mineret issue that has being implemented in at a few mosques in Toronto is a low frequency broadcast over either FM or AM radio - similar to modern drive in theatres. You simply tune your radio to a specific station to hear the Athan/Azan. The broadcast could potential travel few hundred feet or more from the source, reaching a larger area - especially in noisy urban areas.  More importantly, a broadcast license is not required. The cost of this item is less than $2000 (even cheaper for those Radio Shack buffs) vs tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a mineret.

Athans are broadcast to the local area - so that community knows when to come to the mosque to pray. Also women love it during Ramadaan so that they can come to the Masjid for Tarawid (spelling mistake, i know) prayers and finish any work they have after iftaar.

Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

Help Build the Community! Visit:
Madinat al-Muslimeen > The City > Naseeha Corner > Community Toolbox
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« Reply #32 on: Nov 22, 2011 02:02 AM »

New Mosque soon to be built in Copenhagen, looks really amazing mA...I totally think all Mosques need to have a Visitor's Center area and have tours for everyone including children's classes. So important!! -- J.

===========


From Elan Magazine: Copenhagen is Diversifying

Since 2007 various entities within the extended Copenhagen community were striving to build a “Grand Mosque of Copenhagen.” As with most large-scale cultural/institutional projects a competition was held for design proposals and from the submission pool various winners were selected. Copenhagen is an interesting place within the context of the Muslim community in Europe, so much so that even The New York Times ran an article on their website titled, “Push to Build Mosques is met with Resistance,” in 2009.

There’s no denying that various forces within the Danish political and social sphere have a tense relationship with the Muslim Danish community (we all remember the Danish Cartoon fiasco back in 2005). Therefore history simply isn’t on the side of the growing congregations within the city of Copenhagen. Regardless, Copenhagen is sure to receive not one but two Grand Mosques within the next several years (a large Shiite congregation has already approved plans to build a center in a relatively industrial quarter of town on the site of a former factory) and a Sunni congregation has started the process by acquiring a site with the help of Abu Dhabi-based Muslim consultancy group, the Tabah Foundation.

Although a brewing institutionalized Islamophobia is simmering all across Europe (with France recently banning public prayer and the wearing face coverings), Denmark is quite the extreme case study. Immigrant hate among the people is one of the main factors in the propulsion of the Danish People’s Party, which more or less ran on a nationalistic platform of re-establishing Denmark as entirely “Danish.” They’ve successfully passed new legislation in their tenure that makes it much harder to obtain citizenship or even enter the country in the first place. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that this social disconnect with Islam is what propelled various groups to work together to make the Grand Mosque become a reality.

But as always the building of a new mosque brings with it the challenges of funding, the lingering question in the heads of Muslims and Danes alike is one all too common: “Who’s paying for it?” In the case of the Shite congregation its quite obvious the Danish Parliament immediately assumed the Iranian Regime had something to with it. The obvious parallel with the Sunni Grand Mosque is the lingering question of Saudi Arabia, equally demonized by European leadership for extensive funding of Grand Mosques all across Europe. With that said, proponents within Danish society exist as well, for example the deputy mayor has defended the rights of Muslims to build places of worship on various occasions, citing that synagogues and churches exist in harmony with Danish life and mosques should be no different.

Enter BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), one of the loudest firms working in architecture today. Led by the young and often idealized Bjarke Ingels, they’ve seemed to score more commissions in recent years than some firms do their entire lifetime. If there were a Kobe Bryant of Architecture (before he wore the number 24) it would be Ingels. In other words, young, talented, with various achievements under his belt, but still having a lot to prove (mind you he use to work for the current Michael Jordan of architecture, journalist gone “starchitect” Rem Koolhaas). Bjarke’s plan took the simple project of the mosque and went “BIG” with it (no pun intended). With very little details released and no official post on BIG’s projects page, the renderings and brief suggest a massive development with various residential and non-Islamic programming alongside the mosque. The idea being that the center is more of a cultural hub for Islam and Muslims rather than a traditional Mosque development (It also might be worth checking out BIG’s confirmed project in Albania, the new Mosque and Museum of Religious Harmony in Tirana).

The interesting twist in the history of the project however reveals that BIG originally came in second after the judge’s voting to little-known Danish firm Wenzel-Tuxen’s more traditional solution. They took only the initial program described in the brief and sculpted an elegant yet simple crescent inspired glowing beacon. I spoke with Lars Tuxen and the latest new suggests that the judges have recently reverted to the BIG proposal, not surprisingly for issues of finance. When your mosque makes money (through non-mosque programming for sale or rent), you’re far less likely to rely on external (and often times questionable) funding. BIG succeeded in selling not only architecture, but financial independence. In their summary BIG clearly highlighted their social design agenda as well, with Bjarke Ingles saying “our purpose was to design a Danish mosque as an interpretation of the Islamic architectural and cultural tradition adjusted to the Danish context.” With one grand sweeping move, I feel the Grand Mosque of Copenhagen became a little more…Danish.
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« Reply #33 on: Nov 22, 2011 04:24 PM »

The best thing about a Musjid, is the fact it is used for salat.

You can make it as nice as you like. And have conferences, canteens and courses, but if their is not many people praying in there, what you have created is a community centre with a small prayer room and not a Musjid that does things beyond salat.

So the best thing about a Musjid is to build one where there is a need for one.
A location where Musjids are full, and people are turned back from Jummah.
Locations where people are forced to pray on the wet floors of the Wadu room, inches away from the doors to the toilet.
Or better still, a place where there are many Muslims, but no where to pray.

Basically, what I am saying is build it where there is a need for it.
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« Reply #34 on: Nov 22, 2011 04:26 PM »

And that go for services you offer to. Build things that people want to use. Not things that you would hope for them to want to use.
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« Reply #35 on: Nov 23, 2011 05:25 PM »

wsalam,

Living in a Western country Salah is only one thing a Mosque is used for. If a Mosque is ONLY used for Salah I can tell you in one generation you will have 0 people praying there, no joke.

Mosques of today have to and I mean have to:

- have classrooms for kids classes, adult classes, new muslim classes, presentations for non-Muslims

- dinner hall, yeah we've been eating in our prayer area for 5 years it's disgusting going into sujood and smelling old saalan

- accommodations for women, should be obvious by now the importance of this, if it isn't, i'll give it maybe 2 generations before there aren't any Muslims

Now these 3 things are what should have been built 20 years ago!! The Mosques of today with vision for the future should include the things we've been talking about in the beginning of this thread.

The Mosques of today are the center of a Muslim's life in the West. The goal here should be to include everything they can to make it convenient and comfortable and encourage learning for every age group and demographic in the community.

As for building Mosques in heavily populated areas only... Maybe where ppl live in the UK is different, but over here Muslims are *very* spread out across suburbs and even weird places where no one else lives. It is extremely rare for a Muslim not to have a car. If you work, you have to have a car period. So Mosques here are built wherever we can buy land. And we usually need a lot of it for the building itself and parking. There are two Mosques here in the inner cities and I hear over and over again that people don't go there because they can't find parking. Some parents don't even bring their kids to the weekend school some days because they can't find parking!

So yeah we can talk about what *we* want and what people *should* do but when it comes down to it, a Mosque has to serve the need's of it's attendants.


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« Reply #36 on: Nov 24, 2011 11:49 PM »

A VERY VERY clean and well kept bathroom is a must for a masjid in my opinion.
Plus adequate parking space!!!
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« Reply #37 on: Nov 30, 2011 06:07 PM »

This is 'moderatesufi's worst nightmare!! lol

Don't think they mean "praying together" as in men and women next to each other interspersed, but means "in the same hall with men in front and women in the same space in the back NOT HIDDEN AWAY".

I do like how she practically spits at the corner closet room for wommens...man she should come to the US and see some of the sad places we pray Sad

WOMEN DEMAND EQUAL RIGHTS IN MOSQUE (TURKEY)
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