Date visited: September 1, 2010
Location: Oakland, CA
948 62nd St.
Oakland, CA 94608
Tag-team Taraweeh: No
Size of congregation: ~ 30
Capacity of center: They could fit about 150 in there if they wanted to, but for some reason they were putting two safs between each line. So, they could have fit eight lines of men in the center, but they put only four. Strange.
Parking: Street. Found it right next to the mosque, though.
Minbar: Yes. Delicately carved wooden piece.
Shoe shelves: Yes.
Building: A circular concrete structure. From the outside it looks kind of pretty because the concrete blocks have been textured to look like stone. From the inside it would look like a prison if they hadn't painted a smattering of designs on the concrete and hung up decorations.
Friendliness towards women: Women have no place in this facility. It only has one room, and this isn't one of those hippie Muslim places where men and women pray in the same space. I'm looking at you, Stanford.
Friendliness of congregation: Very. Arab hospitality reared its pretty head once again.
If you haven't been to hajj, you might be a bit unprepared for the dinner they serve here. If you're from a community where folks drive BMWs and eat catered food at the mosque, you might be a bit taken aback when you see this community at dinner time. It's a very traditional community and don't abide by Western traditions of table manners.
You see, when I was on the pilgrimage on Mecca the evening after our day on Arafat we were served lamb pilaf courtesy of the King of Saudi Arabia. There were no spoons, no forks and no plates. Everyone just dug in with their hands from a common plate.
This place took a similar approach. Everyone did have their own plate, but since there were no spoons, you had to dig in with your hands to get your food. I was a bit reticent at first, but a man encouraged me to help myself, saying this is exactly how the army did it.
I was touched by this community's generosity. There was more than enough food for everyone and since it was coming out of household pots and pans God knows how many people spent how many hours cooking it for the congregation.
One thing inside the masjid which stuck out was that they had El Corán on the shelves. No, not just one Quran in Spanish, but 12. Surprisingly, however, I did not see any Hispanics in the crowd.