Saturday, August 6, 2011

Peninsula Muslim Association (Mountain View)

I couldn't figure whether it was because it was a Saturday night or if more Muslims have moved to the area, but there were easily 3x as many Muslims here tonight than when I visited last year.  Otherwise, not much else has changed.

The rug store is still one of the best venues in which I've prayed taraweeh.  The rugs stacked on the floor and hanging from the wall create quite a cozy environment.  For the kids, of which today there were many, it was an indoor playground.  The ones not quite so well-disciplined were hopping from one stack to another, which looked like a lot of fun but also an accident waiting to happen.  I'm surprised the rug store owner also didn't raise a ruckus; who knows where those kids' feet had been?

The hafiz leading the prayer is quite well known in the Bay Area.  He's been all over the Bay Area and teaches very popular classes about Islam and Arabic at the local community colleges.  I also understand that he lives in the Fremont area, which means he's sacrificing a lot of his time by committing to lead taraweeh every day in Mountain View.  I'm having a hard enough time sustaining this project because all the driving is cutting into time I could be resting for work the next day; the temptation to give up and attend the Richmond mosque five minutes away for my nightly prayers is quite strong.  And I'm just an observer!  In addition to the long commute, this hafiz has to prepare to lead 20 rakats each and every night by himself.  I really don't know all too many people who'd be willing to do that, especially for a non-local mosque.  I tip my imaginary hat to him.

The only reason it's hard to focus on the prayer in this mosque is because the congregation faces El Camino Real, which was surprisingly busy considering it was a Saturday night in Mountain View (guess there's more going on there than I'd previously imagined).  The cars coming and going created quite the backdrop and it's unlike anything I've ever seen before in a mosque.  I know this is a makeshift prayer area, but it may not be a bad idea for masajid to build windows in the front instead of solid walls.  It may take a bit more discipline to focus on the prayer and not be distracted by the stars, cars, skunks or whatever you can find in the neighborhood, but anyone walking past the mosque would instantly be exposed to Islamic practice and at the very least wonder what was going on in there, if not someday come inside to actually find out.

Plus hey, glass is prettier than drywall; just look at the Crystal Cathedral.

The Rug Store, located near "Downtown" Mountain View

Folks praying in the rug store.  Traffic can be seen in the background.

Date Visited: August 6, 2011

805 El Camino Real
Mountain View, CA 94040

Tag-team taraweeh: No

Qirat: Good

Size of congregation: 20

Capacity of center: 50

Parking: Street

Mihrab: No

Minbar: No

Shoe shelves: This is what floors are for

Building: A rug store.  At least this means they didn't have to lay down any carpet

Friendliness towards women: Not enough there to really judge, but they were praying in the same room, I suppose, which is something

Friendliness of congregation: High

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