Visiting a Mosque

We are glad that you have decided to visit our mosque, which is a place of worship for all Muslims. We welcome anyone who would like to visit and observe the daily prayers and participate in the activities at the Masjid An-Noor. The mosque is wheelchair-accessible.

The following are the most frequently asked questions about visiting a mosque. If you need any more clarification, please contact us

What is a mosque?

A mosque (or masjid in Arabic) is literally any place where Muslims make salat, the prayer performed in the direction of Mecca; it needn’t be a building.

What should I wear?

It is most appropriate to wear modest, loose-fitting clothes. For men, it is better to wear long pants, and for women to wear pants or full-length skirts or dresses, with long sleeves. Muslim women typically wear a headscarf as well. A female visitor may cover her head if she wishes to show respect to other worshipers or to enrich her own experience.

Why do you take your shoes off?

A mosque is free of statues and utilizes rugs instead of pews. It is appropriate to remove one’s shoes before entering the prayer area in a mosque, so that the floors and carpets aren’t covered with dirt—after all, that is where people pray.

Can I take photos?

Yes. Picture taking is permitted inside the mosque including in both prayer areas. Please, be considerate to other’s privacy if they do not wish to be photographed.

Where are the women praying?

Women offer prayers in a separate room below the main prayer hall.

The separate room provides women with privacy and modesty. The physical separation helps men and women maintain focus on prayer instead of one another.

What happens when people join the prayer late?

They will join the prayer already in progress, and after the Imam (leader of the prayer) has finished, they will complete what they missed.

How do Friday prayers work?

Friday is the day of congregational prayers for Muslims—so a short sermon followed by a short prayer at the mosque in congregation is substituted for the regular noon-time prayer. The service begins with the call to prayer, followed by a lecture (rather, two short lectures with a brief pause in the middle). After the lecture (called a Khutbah), another call to prayer is made and the congregation stands to follow the Imam in the prayer. The Friday prayer begins with the Khutba at 12:30 p.m. and concludes with the prayer at about 1:00 p.m.

Are mosques new to America?

Mosques have been here since the colonial era. One of the first mosques in North American history was on Kent Island, Md.: Between 1731 and 1733, African American Muslim slave and Islamic scholar Job Ben Solomon, a cattle driver, would regularly steal away to the woods there for his prayers — in spite of a white boy who threw dirt on him as he made his prostrations. Today, there are more than 2,000 places of Muslim prayer, most of them mosques, in the United States.

What’s the difference between a mosque and masjid?

They are the same. Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque.

A few more guidelines …

Cell phones

A ringing cell phone is a distraction to any service at the mosque—please silence or power-off phones when entering the building.

Talking during prayer

If you need to talk to someone during the prayer (while you are not praying, of course,) please take the conversation outside the prayer hall into the lobby so as to not distract those who are praying.

Not standing/walking in front of someone praying

If you are walking through the prayer area and come across someone who is praying, please walk behind, instead of in front of him.

Shaking hands with opposite gender

Please be aware that many Muslims do not shake hands with anyone of the opposite gender. That is, men do not shake hands with women, and women do not shake hands with men. Unless he/she extends his/her hand first, it is better to not extend yours.