In Islam, Mosque -- Masjid -- is the center of Muslim prayer life. A building called a mosque hosts daily activities for Muslims. Muslims gather there for prayers, on holy days and for special events and activities. Imams -- Islamic leaders -- hold services throughout the week and schedule regular educational activities as part of Islam’s goal to enlighten believers and non-Muslims in communities around the globe.
Muslims experience community as they fulfill their religious obligations. Salat -- obligatory prayers -- is the second of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims pray five times a day -- often together at Mosque. Salat includes al-fajr at sunrise, al-zuhr as midday prayer, al-'asr or afternoon prayer, al-maghrib at sunset, and al-'isha or evening prayer.
Friday -- Jumaa -- is an Islamic holy day, akin to Jewish Sabbath on Saturday and Sunday Sabbath for Christians. Muslims regard Friday as fard -- required. They gather for the “state of the community,” according the IslamiCity website. Muslims perform Friday prayers around midday.
As the representative for the Prophet Muhammad, the imam shoulders the responsibility of guiding his community along the path of the Islamic faith. On Fridays, the imam presents a sermon, called Jumaa Khutba, in which he offers a theme to teach the community, to bring the faithful closer together, and to propagate the faith. Jumaa Khutba includes an introduction of praise to Allah, messages supported by the Qur’an, supplication to Allah for forgiveness, and a conclusion, according to IslamiCity.
Mosques are places of worship, prayer, learning and community outreach. In a typical mosque, Muslims might attend dars -- lessons -- on the Qur’an and Islamic teachings on a weekday night. Women might meet for lessons in Arabic one day a week. During the holy month of Ramadan, imams schedule daily prayer and social gatherings for Muslim families. Muslims turn to their local mosques for events such as weddings and funerals.
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