Here are seven pointers to better prepare you for your first visit to the Islamic Center of Vallejo:
- Welcome: Know that all of us who care for this mosque are really grateful to you for taking the time to reach out to us and to learn more about American Muslims and their faith. So you are welcome anytime, during any of the five daily prayers, on any day of the week and on any day of the year. You are free to come either alone, with a friend, or even an entire classroom. We can arrange to have someone guide you and walk you around the center. You would need to request a guide in advance.
- What is a good time to visit? The mosque is open from before sunrise (at Fajr) to two hours after sunset (after Isha). Thus it is open all day to accommodate worshipers attending the five daily prayers. We recommend visiting the mosque during the prayer time so you will be able to meet other Muslims and learn from observation.
- How long will a visit take? Prayers last for about fifteen minutes. Set thirty minutes aside on your first visit. Arrive ten minutes early and you can leave a few minutes after prayer is over – or hang out and visit.
- Visiting during prayer time: When someone is praying they do not talk or respond to something you may have said. How do you know their prayer is complete? When they turn their head to the right and then to the left, it signifies the end of a prayer. Walking in front of someone praying is disrespectful. When a prayer is in session, you can take a seat at the back of the room and make yourself comfortable. As mentioned earlier, a prayer in a mosque lasts for about ten to fifteen minutes.
- Dress: Visitors are requested to dress modestly, which means men can wear sleeved shirts and pants/jeans that cover your knees at least. Women are requested to wear long bottoms. A head scarf is preferred if the visitor wishes to show respect and enrich her own experience, but not mandatory. Choose something conservative. Be comfortable. Please also keep in mind that many Muslims do not shake hands with opposite gender. Unless a worshipper extends his or her hand first, it is better to not extend yours.
- Layout: There is are two prayer halls and restrooms for men and women with foot-baths for ablution.
- Once at the mosque: There are separate doors for men and women. As soon as you enter you’ll see a shoe rack where you can place your footwear. Remember to leave both your shoes and your inhibitions at the door. Smile :), you are now in the mosque and we are so happy to have you over!
Feel free to speak to other Muslim men and women that you meet. They are always glad to answer questions or guide you around. Please contact us to arrange your visit.