Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Masjidul Waritheen (Oakland, Alameda County, CA)

The Raiders lost last night, and it made me a little nervous because you never know how Raider fans will react to a loss, even if it's the preseason.

Thankfully, nothing happened, and not near this masjid on 47th Avenue.  I arrived well after dark minutes before isha time and was a little lost because it seemed that the masjid was closed.  The building desolate, but the doors were open, and I could hear activity going on upstairs in the school area.  While I was mulling what to do, I heard Arabic being recited across the street.  The community prays taraweeh in the center across the street, and not the former church building.

This is an African-American community, which meant quite a few people in the congregation were either new to Islam, or learning more about their faith.  Following Isha there was a short lecture on one of the lesser known companions of the Prophet, but the imam made sure to create parallels between his story and the community.  It was fitting that the time period was the early days of Islam, because then the imam made a comparison between the early Muslims and Muslims living in a predominantly non-Muslim community like Oakland.

Taraweeh was short and sweet, with dhikr after every four rakats.  Following taraweeh, the community once again engaged in dhikr, and all the prayers were wrapped up by 10:15.

The thought crossed my mind that when I retire from doing this 30 mosques project, I should just attend an African-American masjid every night, because they do everything so much quicker, which appeals to the 9-5er in me.  However, the more I think about it, the less I think I would be encouraged to do so.  Ramadan is all about pushing yourself to the limit, which of course the congregation was doing last night.  However, for a person like me, raised reciting Arabic, reading the Quran and praying taraweeh from the early age of 7, it wasn't as spiritually challenging because I'm used to praying taraweeh for 60 minutes or more.  While obviously it wouldn't be haram for me to spend Ramadan in an African-American masjid, I have a feeling it would be disliked because I'd gain so much more from a more established masjid geared towards folks with a more comprehensive understanding of Islam.  It's something for me to chew on.

The main building of the masjid.  This is also where the school is housed.

Date Visited: August 13, 2012

1652 47th Avenue
Oakland, CA 94601

Tag-team taraweeh: No

Qirat: Good

Size of congregation: 15-20

Capacity of center: 50-75

Parking: Street

Mihrab: No

Minbar: No

Shoe shelves: Yes

Building: The main building is a converted church.  The room in which they pray is a community center across the street.  It's also where they hold jummah prayers.

Friendliness towards women: Women have an active role in this community.

Friendliness of congregation: Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

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