Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ibrahim Khalilullah Islamic Center (Fremont, Alameda County, CA)

Muslims in the West have always faced a quandary when it comes to picking a location for their masjid.  Here in the Bay Area, my local mosque was always doing damage control with neighbors upset at being woken up at 11 PM and 5 AM by congregants heading to prayers in the summertime.  Picking a commercial location hurts local businesses, whose customers can't find parking on Fridays during jummah.  Light industrial?  It's a nightmare getting a permit for a mosque because of the kids.  Oh, to live in Pakistan, where you can squat on someone's land, turn it into a masjid and nobody can say nothin' because their grasp on the rule of law is tenuous at best.

This mosque is located in a commercial park, but to its advantage it shares the block with two other Muslim nonprofits: the Ta'leef Collective and the Averroes Institute.

The Ta'leef Collective is a nonprofit offshoot of Zaytuna Institute and is famous for being probably the least-judgmental Islamic institution in the Bay Area.  Anyone can show up as they are and they will be welcomed in the halls of Ta'leef.  Averroes is Islamic high school, one of the first of its kind in the Bay Area.  In any case, when you share a parking lot with two other Muslim organizations, you don't have to worry as much about parking causing any pains.  Also, when the neighbors are surrounded by 3 different Islamic organizations, they're bound to learn more about the religion.

What's absolutely stunning about this masjid is how quiet it is, given the congregation's size.  The men's room has a capacity of exactly 168, and I'd say it was a little under half-full tonight.  Despite that, it was an extremely serene place to pray taraweeh.  The children were remarkably well-disciplined and all of them old enough to know better were focused on their prayer.  A toddler did start squawking during taraweeh, but his needs were met very quickly and we returned to a space where you could here a pin drop.  If you're tired of the hustle-and-bustle of the larger mosques but still want a large-mosque feel, go here.

Hands down one of the prettiest mihrabs in the Bay Area.

Date Visited: July 28, 2012


43140 Osgood Drive
Fremont, CA 94539

Tag-team taraweeh: No

Qirat: Wonderful

Size of congregation: 80-100 total

Capacity of center: 250-ish

Parking: Off-street parking in the business park.  People probably park on the street during business hours because they share the lot with many other businesses.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: Plenty

Building: A building in a nondescript business park.  You'll probably drive past it the first time you're looking for it since there's only one driveway leading to the buildings.

Friendliness towards women: Women had their own entrance and an equitable space in which to pray.

Friendliness of congregation: It's primarily an Afghan community, but I felt like everyone was welcome.

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