By Afaun Mandol
(July 19, 2009) – My ideal Canadian Mosque would be a center of learning and interaction for the community.
Back in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, people used to come to learn from and about Islam in his mosque, take advice on personal matters, and to meet others of the same faith and thinking.
Today it seems that the majority of people only go to the mosque to pray.
Contemporary society is different from the olden days and I think the role of the mosque needs to reflect the higher objective of a learning center.
But, we need to be innovative at looking how to accomplish such a learning centre in today’s society.
I think we should view the mosque from a services perspective.
It would be a true community centre with the prayer hall as the focus, but it would also house professionals dedicated to various services that reflect the needs and concerns of Muslims and non-Muslims in the community – social services, libraries (with more than just Islamic books), book/media stores, lawyers’ offices, tutors, monthly workshops (real world and faith based), full service restaurants, internet cafes (where various groups can hold meetings), ATM’s, etc.
The income from these services and businesses would also help with the upkeep of the mosque instead of just depending on donations.
Professionalism in all business areas is also important in making the facility an exemplary institution.
I think this is something the entire community needs to work on.
My vision for an ideal Canadian mosque would bring back the higher objectives of the mosque – to teach, to guide, to invite – and make it more accessible to the community.