Visiting a Mosque

A guide to visiting the Mosque

A new space for those who reflect.

The Masjid in the Park is a mosque in the Sherwood Park area, open now for seekers of truth, beauty and goodness.

Most mosques in North America do not have specific dress code requirements for newcomers. However, wearing dignified and modest clothing is a gracious gesture for a visitor to a mosque. Muslims themselves will wear formal and often traditional clothing. Both men and women try to avoid t-shirts, shorts or clothing with inappropriate messages for a sacred space. As well, both men and women will wear some sort of head covering, although Muslim men are not as consistent about this. For newcomers, it is safe to wear business-casual with longer hems. For women who are touring the mosque, wearing a headscarf would be a gesture that would be appreciated by the hosts but not mandated. Visitors should feel comfortable and are welcome.

Yes. The rituals of formal mosque worship are performed on the ground and include placing foreheads directly on the ground. To keep the space clean and pure, shoes are removed in the boot room and placed on a shelf. Clean socks or hosiery may be worn.

If you wear orthotic devices or cannot remove your shoes for some other reason, shoe covers are provided in both boot rooms.

Both lobbies are places of conversation and connection. In addition to the lobbies, the community room is a space where people are encouraged to meet with one another, have a cup of coffee and chat.

In the formal prayer space (musalla) behind the double doors, voices are kept to a quiet whisper if absolutely necessary, but usually people will be reading Quran, praying, performing remembrance of God with or without prayer beads, or just sitting quietly and reflecting.

However, during canonical prayers, worshippers will no longer speak. You will know that people are beginning the formal prayer when a call to prayer is heard, after which worshippers will stand shoulder to shoulder in a straight line. An imam will be chosen from among the worshippers, who will then remind everyone to congregate formally, to not leave any gaps both physical and emotional between them and their prayer neighbours, and to focus and concentrate. After this, the imam may lead a vocal or silent prayer which everyone else will follow. People who are just entering the prayer hall will take great care not to walk in front of any of the worshippers, lest they are distracted. These canonical prayers occur five times each day. A special prayer service is held every Friday afternoon and is preceded by a formal lecture (khutbah).

Benches and chairs are provided for people who would like to observe the canonical prayer, but not necessarily participate. Some of the worshippers who are participating in the ritual might also be seated on chairs due to physical restraints (ie not being able to perform all the physical postures of the prayer). If you wish to stand with the worshippers, please feel free. You may “go with the flow” or simply stand quietly beside someone who is praying. Again, you should feel comfortable and welcome.

The Masjid in the Park does not have a staffed Imam at this time. If you have general questions, feel free to chat with one of the worshippers at the mosque. However, for more detailed or theological questions, please write to mitp@imanwise.org and the Masjid in the Park staff will try to reach a qualified scholar who will attempt to address your concerns.

Mosques are open spaces. You may come at any one of the prayer times. Due to staff shortage, in between the prayer times, the mosque may be locked. Check this website for prayer timings. You do not need to inform anyone that you will be coming at one of the prayer times.

However, if you would like a formal tour or you just feel more comfortable if you know that someone will be there to greet you at the door, please write to mitp@imanwise.org to set up a time. As Masjid in the Park is a small community mosque, worshippers will usually recognize a newcomer and try to meet with them and welcome them. Occasionally though, during busy times when worshippers are rushing to perform their obligatory prayers and then get back to work and family, it might seem that no one is there to talk.

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