Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Masjid Annur (Sacramento, Sacramento County, CA)

This is the BEST mosque in Sacramento.  I say that because it used to be a BEST department store (I’m punny, aren’t I?).

Best mosque or not, its neighborhood is a little rough around the edges.  This vehicle was parked in the lot:

They imported these from Saudi Arabia, where the fatwa 5-0 cruise around looking for crimes against Allah like women driving.

In addition to this masjid’s stable of private security transport vehicles, they’re also neighbors with Sacramento County’s Sheriff’s Department.  Tall iron gates surround the mosque.  Yessir, there’s plenty about this neighborhood which is less than desirable.  That said, the sheer number of people in attendance creates a festive Ramadan atmosphere and you forget that there are multiple liquor stores down the street.

If you attend this mosque you are either (check one):
_ Arab
_ Desi
_ Other

Diversity is not this masjid’s strong suit, but it is family friendly.  Younglings were scampering through the halls, but they were disciplined enough to settle down by the time prayers got started.

All mosques are houses of Allah, but some do look prettier than others.  This masjid is not as pretty as the SALAM Center, but that’s not for a lack of wealth.  This nonprofit also operates a K-12 school, which is an expensive undertaking.  Granted, SALAM also runs an Islamic school, but it’s smaller and does not go beyond middle school.  My point is some mosques have different funding priorities and it’s my hypothesis that the masjid could build a stunning mihrab/prayer hall if they wanted to.

Additionally, my insider informed me that the imams of all the area’s mosques know each other quite well and collaborate on projects.  I learned that the masjid’s imams meet and distribute zakat money based on their assessment of the broader community’s needs.  This form of collaboration should be emulated in metropolitan areas all across the country.  It’s my assessment that this doesn’t happen, because in my travels across the Bay Area it was apparent that some mosques operate in silos given the state of their facilities.

That said, even if mosques don’t collaborate on the distribution of zakat money, they do help each other out when it comes to development.  As soon as my hometown mosque of MCA was fairly well-established, we began to host a slew of fundraisers for other masjids who needed help getting off the ground, including this masjid.  It’s my humble opinion that mosques should pay it forward; once the community is established, it’s practically incumbent on them to help out other Muslim communities.  It’s heartening for me to learn that Masjid Annur is working to help out the little guys just like how the Bay Area helped them out when they themselves were little guys with their hands on an abandoned department store.

Date Visited: July 30, 2012

6990 65th Street
Sacramento, CA 95823

Tag-team taraweeh: No

Qirat: Slow

Size of congregation: 250

Capacity of center: 500-1,000

Parking: Lots of parking around the center since it used to be a department store.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: A mix of shelves and filing cabinets.  Very spartan.

Building: A converted department store that has been suited to the community's needs by adding a prayer space and school.

Friendliness towards women: Women have an equitable space to pray here.

Friendliness of congregation: It's not dominated by any one ethnic group, so visitors should feel welcome here.

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