Islamic Community Center / Tempe Masjid

This profile was last updated in 2006

History

This student-dominated masjid, cultural center and school was established just north of the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe in 1984. Built on land once occupied by deserted and dilapidated houses, the distinctive architecture and ornamentation of the masjid is modeled after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Before the community was able to raise the donations necessary to build the center, Tempe Muslims would gather in local homes or travel to Phoenix masjids for Friday prayers.

Activities and Schedule

The masjid observes the five daily prayers and the communal mid-day Friday prayers. In addition, weekly halaqas (“lectures”) on different topics are held Friday evenings in English and in Arabic. The cultural center also arranges various classes, for example offering Arabic lessons and instruction in Qur’an recitation and Qur’an memorization.

The masjid is also open for tours, and sponsors a Saturday afternoon “Islam Fundamentals” class for anyone interested in learning more about the faith.
Also connected with the center is the Phoenix Metro Islamic School (PMIS), an Islamic school that caters to elementary school-age children from across the Valley.
The cultural center also offers assistance in matters of practical concern, such as questions on Islamic finances and funerary arrangements.

Demographics

Most of the Muslims who worship at the masjid are students, faculty and staff at nearby Arizona State University — as a result, the worshipers are mostly young, and represent over seventy-five different nationalities along with a small convert population. Worshipers speak a range of languages (Farsi, Urdu, French and Spanish among others), but Arabic and then English are the two languages used most commonly.

Description

The masjid includes a minaret and golden dome, attached to an eight-sided structure embellished with tilework depicting verses from the Qur’an executed in calligraphy. Racks to store shoes and facilities for ablutions are downstairs, while the main prayer hall is up a flight of stairs. Across a courtyard from the masjid is the Islamic School, consisting of sixteen classrooms and offices.