This profile was last updated in 2006
Activities and Schedule
Five daily prayers
Friday: Jum’ah prayer and khutba: 1:00 P.M.; Sunday: children’s school from 10:00 A.M.-12:00 noon;
Monday-Thursday: afterschool Qur’an recitation classes
Monday and Wednesday: adult Qur’an recitation classes after Maghrib prayer; Bi-weekly adult social program.
Muslims began meeting in the 1960s and 70s at the University of Rhode Island and surrounding smaller communities to pray and develop a community. In 1975, the group had grown sufficiently, and the planning for a permanent Islamic center began. Funded mostly through donations from the larger New England community, in November of 1976, 582 Cranston Street, Providence, formerly a funeral home, became Masjid Al-Karim. It is the first masjid established in Rhode Island. Renovations and additions soon followed to establish this two-story masjid that is now barely able to contain the expanding congregation.
Like most of the mosques in this area, Masjid Al-Karim is composed of a very diverse mix of Muslims. These include immigrants and Americans hailing from South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Arabic is used in prayers and all lectures/presentations are given in both English and Arabic.Although primarily a Sunni congregation, the masjid openly welcomes all denominations and affiliations to learn from each other and worship together. The masjid has no specific legal affiliations and bases its authority on the Qur’an and Sunna. Imam Abdul Hameed forms part of the larger leadership structure that includes the executive board and education, community affairs, security and building fund representatives. They all deal with the public affairs and finances of the masjid. The community has been growing very rapidly. Thus, one of the group’s main goals is to expand to a larger center, preferably close to its present location. A larger, refurbished masjid will accommodate the expanding community and provide a sense of pride and belonging for its youth, even amidst the crime and dangers on the streets of their South Providence neighborhood. The masjid aims to provide the spiritual support and fulfill the educational needs of their youth amid the expanding community. A future goal is the establishment of a full time Islamic school.
Beyond the daily and weekly prayers, the masjid provides many valuable opportunities for the enrichment of its people. There is a weekend children’s school and after-school weekday sessions for teaching the basics of Islam and Qur’an recitation. The adults have their own Qur’an recitation and interpretation meetings as well as regular social gatherings to maintain a sense of community. Marriage and death ceremonies are performed, and marriage counseling services are available. The large holidays (Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Udha) are celebrated with the larger Rhode Island community. They also issue a monthly calendar of announcements and events. To service the community better, a halal meat store, “Halal To Go” was opened near the masjid in 1995.
Masjid Al-Karim has made many efforts to improve the community in which it lives. The congregants were concerned about the crime-ridden area in which the masjid resides and the impact that would have for its growing community. Imam Abdul Hameed and others attend interfaith councils throughout Rhode Island and their crime watch initiatives have resulted in safer worshipping and working environments for the congregation. By working with local public schools, the masjid has provided a means for its youngsters to attend Jum’ah prayers by allowing them to be excused from school a few hours early on Fridays. Additionally, there is a developing da’wah (propagation of the faith) program that is active in talking to others about Islam and distributing literature. The masjid provides a Muslim chaplain to Rhode Island Hospital and the Providence corrections center, ACI. There also exists a program for members to volunteer and inform prison inmates about Islam.
Location and Directions
From Route 95, take exit 22 (Memorial Blvd.) and continue downtown with the river on your right. Take a right onto Point Street and then a bear left onto Friendship Street and then take a quick right onto Lockwood Street. Cross over Broad Street as Lockwood becomes Fricker Street. Take an immediate left onto Cranston Street. The Masjid is approximately two miles on the left.