Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from visitors to our masjid location and to our website.

Where are you located?

We are located at 1181 Lewis Avenue in Vallejo, California. It is in Solano County with easy access to Interstate 780 from the Glen Cove Road Exit.

What time are Friday prayers? How many people attend?

One of the Islamic Center of Vallejo’s main religious activities is the Friday afternoon congregational prayers (Jum’ah), which averages about 300 congregants per week. That compares with between 10 to 15 individuals who attend the daily five prayers.

The Jum’ah Khutba (Islamic bayaan sermon) is at 1:30 p.m. The congregational prayer is at 2 p.m.

The Jum’ah service begins with a sermon in English, then a call to prayer (Adhan), individual customary prayers (Sunnah prayers), a sermon in Arabic (Khutbah), and ending in two cycles (rakahs) of obligatory (Fard) prayer in congregation. The services are officiated by the Khateeb (or speaker) which alternates each week.

What are the masjid’s demographics?

The Islamic Center of Vallejo is made up of an assorted group of lifelong Vallejo residents, professionals, students, retirees, and business owners.

Many ethnicities attend ICOV including those with origins in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and several Arab countries. The languages (besides English, of course) spoken are mainly Farsi, Urdu, and Arabic. The age groups range from infants to elders with the majority of the community members ranging from 40 to 60 years old. Congregants at the Islamic Center of Vallejo follow diverse theological Sunni schools.

How often do your members pray at the mosque?

The Islamic Center of Vallejo parallels national statistics on mosque attendance. According to Pew and Gallup polls in 2010, about 40 percent of Muslim Americans say they pray in a mosque at least once a week, nearly the same percentage of American Christians who attend church weekly. About a third of all U.S. Muslims say they seldom or never go to mosques. Also, contrary to stereotypes of mosques as male-only spaces, Gallup finds that women are as likely as men to attend.

One of Islamic Center of Vallejo’s main religious activities are the Friday afternoon congregational prayers (Jumu’ah), which averages about 200 congregants each week. That compares with a handful of individuals who attend the daily five prayers.

What is the governance structure of the mosque?

The Islamic Center of Vallejo’s governance is based on a two-tiered administrative structure consisting of a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee. Both bodies are made up of volunteers. The Board performs primary oversight and strategic functions while the Executive Committee is in charge of the day-to-day management of the masjid. The Board and Executive Committee are selected from amongst regular masjid attendees who demonstrate a clear commitment to the Islamic Center of Vallejo’s mission of peace, prayer, and service.

The Islamic Center of Vallejo has 501(c)3 status. It has bylaws and a constitution. Its bylaws provide for active involvement and consultation of religious authorities both locally and nationally to insure that the mosque adheres to Islamic principles derived from the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) and the Sunnah (the sayings and living habits of Muhammad, the main prophet of Islam).

Where is Vallejo?

We are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Zaytuna College, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a thriving interfaith community that consists of three regional interfaith councils, over 50 mosques and Islamic centers, and 5 full-time Islamic schools.

What educational programs are offered at the Islamic Center of Vallejo?

Here is a list of our programs. The Islamic Center of Vallejo also offers marriage, funeral, and burial services. Members also volunteer in the community for programs such as the Solano County Adopt-A-Highway Program.

What exactly is a mosque?

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

What is Islam?

Take a look at our page explaining Islam.

If I do visit your mosque, 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 attending the mosque 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.

Also, please keep in mind 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 a member of the congregation extends his or her hand first, it is better to not extend yours.

You can take a look at our “Visit” page for more information.

Why do you take your shoes off in a mosque?

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.

Where are the women in the mosque praying?

Women and men offer prayers in a separate prayer areas. The separation provides men and women with privacy and modesty. The physical separation also helps men and women maintain their focus on prayer, instead of one another.

Why are there foot sinks in the bathroom?

A Muslim must be in a state of physical purification before making his or her prayer. That includes washing the feet. Our restrooms are equipped with bidets and other modern amenities for the self-purification process (wudu) performed prior to prayers.

What happens when people come late to the prayer?

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

What is jihad?

One misconception about Islam is often the word jihad. Crusaders from the Middle Ages interpreted jihad as a holy war; however, in Islam, jihad means a struggle against evil, which can include everyday temptations.

Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?

No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons – Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement that today is the city of Mecca, and built a cuboid-shaped building called the Kaaba, which Muslims turn toward daily when they pray.

I am concerned (even afraid) about what’s actually going on in the mosque. Are you teaching people to be violent?

Mosques are probably America’s best line of defense against terrorism. They combat radicalism by providing a community to guide Muslims who have fallen to the rhetoric of radicalism. Mosques, however, remain greatly misunderstood on the American landscape.

Visit us, and listen to what our sermon speakers espouse. What you’ll hear is talk about prayer, fasting, charity, kindness to parents, and service to family and community.

Do mosques promote homegrown terrorism?

To the contrary, mosques are typical American religious institutions. In addition to worship services, most U.S. mosques hold weekend classes for children, offer charity to the poor, provide counseling services and conduct interfaith programs. There have been unfortunate exceptions, and that has led to a renewed commitment among mosque leaders to confront extremism. We hope you will visit us, and find that we are a premier site of American assimilation and community involvement.