Masjid Miami Gardens

This profile was last updated in 2004

History

In 1973, a few Arab and Pakistani Muslims used a room in their apartment as a mosque and started doing the Friday prayer, jama’ah isya, and the zuhur prayer every Sunday. Since then, those Muslims have conducted Friday prayer regularly. They collected money from other Muslims and in 1975 purchased a house on Flagler Street, turning it into a permanent mosque. This mosque is called the Masjid Miami or Masjid Flagler. After three years of growth, these Muslims bought a place at 4305 NW 183 Street, which included a small, former-church structure. In 1991, they started building a new mosque close to their first building and completing it around 1996-97. Demographics This mosque is open to every Muslim no matter what Islamic legal school they follow. The Muslims coming to this mosque are nationally diverse. Almost every Muslim country is represented. Participants come from different nations including Pakistan, India, Iran, Turkey and Bosnia, as well as countries in Africa and South America. Most of the Muslims who attend this mosque are immigrants, though there are some converts born in the US. It is unknown how many people have converted to Islam after attending the mosque. The Imam and other Muslims welcome all those interested in converting to Islam. The mosque is open to every Muslim. While Sunni Muslims comprise the majority, a small number of Shi’i Muslims attend as well. The mosque officers do not promote any tradition, but only request that members follow the Holy Qur’an and the Sunna (sayings and deeds) of the prophet Muhammad. They believe that all mosques are houses of God/Allah and should be a place of peace and comfort for all Muslims. In Miami, this mosque is unique in its diversity; all persons are appreciated. The Imam prefers the Shafi’i legal school but has studied all the legal schools. It does not matter to him if he finds people performing prayers differently from him. He thinks fiqh does not constitute the fundamentals of Islam but only its details. Even the Prophet performed prayers in different ways. So, according to the Imam, the important thing is that Muslims make their ibadah (worship) acceptable to Allah. In sum, this mosque basically accommodates all legal schools. Description This mosque is located on the border between Broward and Miami-Dade Counties and serves Muslims living in these two areas. The mosque is 2,500 square feet and the land owned by this community is 10,000 square feet. It is the largest mosque in South Florida. A large green carpet with many yellow lines (saf) covers the mosque’s floor. The places during prayer for Muslim men and women are separated with a fabric curtain. Both Muslim men and women have their own door entry and their own place for wudhu (ablutions). Beside the mosque is a house for mosque keepers and an office. In front of the mosque is a huge parking lot and a basketball court. This mosque, with Masjid Miami, is organized by a committee called the Muslim Association of South Florida and is associated with the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America). This committee consists of a chair, general secretary, and financial secretary, and organizes everything related to the two mosques. The committee, whose membership is open to every Muslim, changes every two years. Programs and Schedules A number of programs are offered. First, the five daily prayers are served regularly . Second, prayer is led on Friday (about 400-500 people attend). Third, a daily lecture is offered after ashar (around 17:00 P.M.), attracting about 25 participants. Fourth, Sunday school is provided for children. The Qur’an, Arabic and other Islamic studies are taught. There are around two hundred students and one of teachers is a woman. This school is not a regular elementary or secondary school; students also attend regular schools, public or private. Fifth, occasional lectures are presented by different speakers. Sixth, gatherings are held to to recite the Holy Qur’an. Seventh, social gatherings are designed to discuss, through a series of questions and answers, religious and family questions. Eighth, the mosque conducts Ramadan Programs such as ifthar (breaking the fast), shalat taraveeh (a strongly recommended prayer after isha’) every night during the month of Ramadan). Ninth, Islamic Festivals are also given, such as Eid al-Fithr, Eid al-Adha, Milad Nabi (the birth of the Prophet Muhammad), and Isra’ Mi’raj (the night journey of the Prophet). Thousands of people attend the Eid al-Fithr and Eid al-Adha celebrations. Tenth, the mosque also hosts Islamic Marriages and Islamic Funeral services. Interreligious Activities and the Impact of 9/11 Besides those programs, this mosque also has occasional gatherings or dialogues with people of different religions, especially those who are interested in Islam. The Imam is frequently invited to give speeches in churches, synagogues, and religious classes in universities. Christians and Jews sometime visit this mosque as well. This community has a good relationship with other religious communities, especially those in the neighborhood. Often, students from different universities come to the mosque to ask questions about Islam and Muslims. According to the Muslims in the community, this kind of relationship is beneficial for Muslims, because they can then deliver the messages of Islam, which is an obligation of Muslims. Some of this dialogue has been affected by 9/11. However, the Muslims in this mosque stated that the tragedy of 9/11 hurt all people. According to them, 9/11 was against humanity and the beliefs of all religions because the people who died included Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Therefore, those who committed this attack did not respect human life; there is no way to justify the attack. Basically, this community did not personally experience any negative events related to 9/11. However, some of the members were scared and did not know what to do. Some asked if they should refrain from coming to the mosque, but the Imam kept encouraging Muslims to be patient and attend the mosque even more frequently. According to the Imam, it was the time to show people that what they are doing in the mosque is to call people to peace and respect for others. Some Muslim women also came to the Imam and asked if they should remove their hijab to avoid harassment. The Imam replied, “No, you should show people that we are peaceful people. You should initiate dialogue with people.” After following his advice, the women came back to the Imam, indicating that at first, people looked at them strangely but when they started talking openly and kindly, people were also kind and friendly to them. The second year after 9/11, this mosque invited all Imams/leaders of Muslim communities and also some non-Muslims to a meeting, but most people who came were Muslims. At that meeting, Muslim leaders declared that they, Muslims, are part of this state and country. Therefore, whatever is good for Muslims as citizens, has to be good for the country and whatever is bad for this country, is also bad for Muslims. Consequently, Muslims need to have positive civic attitudes and make positive contributions to this country. The Imam stated, “We are blessed to be here in the U.S. This is a place where one can practice religion freely.” Association with other Communities and Organizations The mosque is in association with the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), which is located in Indiana. In addition, the mosque also has good relationships with other Muslim organizations such as ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America), the CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relation), AMANA (The American Muslims Association of North America), and so forth.