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Visions for the Masjid's Future
Some people's hopes and dreams for the masjid's future were ambitious, while others felt the masjid was perfect already. In talking about their hopes for the masjid in the future, people touched on the role of the masjid in both Somali and non-Somali communities in Faribault. They hoped for physical changes that would make it feel more religiously appropriate to the Somali Muslim community, and they hoped that the community using the masjid would continue to grow, perhaps welcoming in converts alongside Somali Muslims.
Bashir, the Somali liaison to the school district, thought the masjid needed no changes:
It’s already perfect. We are so glad, this community, that we have this masjid…No one told us, you cannot buy a mosque here…We’re teaching [our children] how to help their families, how to be nice, how to help other communities…In the future, we want these children to have their culture all the time, their religion, not to forget their language, and to help this community as much as they can, to be the leaders of their communities…[and] the doctors who are working at Allina…To teach their community, to walk together.
He saw gently reaching out with the message of Islam as part of the masjid’s mission.
We’re not saying “We are Islam, and you can’t come to us.” We want everyone to be united, come together, have fun…And if someone does not want to join your religion, that’s okay. You don’t have to force people to become a Muslim…The only thing I am supposed to do is…give the message.
Other community members had greater ambitions for the masjid, often referring to the ways things were done in Islamic countries as models. Omar, a middle-aged man at the masjid, said he wished for a public adhan, or call to prayer. The call to prayer is currently heard only within the masjid, but in Muslim countries, it is broadcast through the streets. Omar dreamed of a call to prayer echoing through the streets of Faribault five times a day.
Like Omar, some teenage girls at the masjid compared it to masjids in Arab countries where they had lived, and wished it were more like them.
The ones in Somalia are so beautiful. The architecture is just beautiful—breathtaking! The domes, and the arches on the door. And here it’s just like, what, walls. That’s why we’re talking about changing the rooms.
The girls looked forward to the time, three years in the future, when the community planned to have the masjid paid off and be able to renovate it.
We can’t do anything with the architecture, but at least when you come inside, we can make it look like a masjid, with the carpet, the prayer mats.
The kinds of changes the girls wished for would outwardly echo the beauty they saw within their religion. They saw the masjid as much improved from what it was at its old site, both physically and socially, and hoped for continuing improvement.
It’s better than what we had before—we upgraded. We had, like, a cover that separated the men from the women. And it got crowded during Ramadan, because people come here at night to pray. And during Eid it would be crowded, it would be hot, and some people had to pray outside, or we had to switch out—which is horrible, and this is so much better.
Now we have Arabic classes that go on at night. We sell food now to raise money for the masjid. And people are just more willing to do stuff, they’re volunteering! The masjid is more filled than back then.
Like Omar and the girls, Hodan, a middle-aged woman, compared the mosque to those in Arab countries and looked forward to changing it:
The [mosques in Yemen and Somalia] have the designs of a masjid…This one doesn’t really look like a masjid…A lot of things are going to change…We’re planning to change designs and stuff like that, so there’s a lot of hope.
These hopes for the masjid’s future will surely continue to evolve as the community of the masjid continues to develop and change.
For more on beauty, please see Religious Beauty at the Masjid.
For more on the history of the masjid, please see History of Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center.