Tuesday, August 17, 2010

South Bay Islamic Association Evergreen Center

Date visited: August 13, 2010

Location: Evergreen, San Jose, CA
2486 Ruby Ave
San Jose, CA 95148

Number of imams: 2

Qirat: Not bad.  I liked Imam Ilyas' better than the other guy's, but he's not as good as his brother, Imam Tahir

Size of congregation: Small. Maybe 200 people

Capacity of center: Not big enough. Folks were squeezed into that tiny place. They are building a new center on the same plot, but judging by the plans, I'm thinking it's already too small for that community. Folks estimate there's close to a thousand Muslims families in that part of San Jose.

Parking: Not enough. There's a parking lot, but I had to find street parking. I did find parking right across the street, though, so it's not like I had to walk for too long.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: Not enough. I had to leave my shoes on the floor outside, which would have gotten gross had it been winter.

Building: A converted house. However, as mentioned earlier, they're building a new center, due to be finished in 9 months or so.

Friendliness towards women: The women were sequestered in a completely different room with its own entrance. However, it is a predominantly Desi community, so they're not too conservative.

Friendliness of congregation: Folks will say hi to you, but since it's an old and established community it's hard to break into the many social circles, especially if you're not brown.

Please tell me if there's any categories on which you'd like me to report.

This place is too god damn small given the size of its community. I showed up at 9:28, two minutes before the prayer started and the hall was already full. This posed a problem because people, especially Muslims, are never running on time and I genuinely do not know where the latecomers prayed. What kind of irked me about the mosque was that the new one they're building alongside this shack of a masjid didn't seem to be much bigger. That's the problem with the Muslim community; they only build what they can afford without thinking about the future. The new mosque will be gorgeous, I'm sure, but what good is a new building if it's going to be too small in 10 years?

Tag-team taraweeh (I'm going to trademark that phrase) reared its pretty head again. Imam Tahir's little brother, Imam Ilyas, ran half the show down here. The Anwar brothers, I learned have been trained to do taraweeh as quickly as possible; the imam who started the taraweeh here actually took his time. I didn't think it was possible for a Desi imam to do taraweeh slowly, and yet here he was.

Oh yes, got another, "what are you doing here?" at this masjid as well. I did get a masha'Allah when I told him about my quest, but still, I started wondering, am I ever going to be able to step out of my father's shadow? When am I finally going to be old enough for people to stop assuming I'm at a mosque with my dad?

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