Visiting the mosque for the first time

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Visiting the Mosque: What do I need to know?

Whatever brings you to be interested in learning more about Islam and Muslims, we’re delighted to have you visit our mosque. The Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR) serves a large and diverse community with religious services, schools and community support. Like any houses of worship, we aim to provide a place that follows the tenets of our faith. You may have questions about what it’s like to visit a mosque and whether there are any norms you need to be aware of before arriving.

What should I wear?

It is most appropriate to wear modest, loose-fitting clothes. For men, we recommend wearing long pants and sleeved shirts, and for women we recommend wearing pants or full-length skirts or dresses, with long sleeves. Muslim women typically wear a headscarf as well. We do not require that women visitors wear a headscarf.

Do I need to take off my shoes?

We ask that you remove your shoes before entering the prayer area at a mosque, so that the floors and carpets aren’t covered with dirt–after all, that is where people pray. As you observe the physical nature of the Islamic prayer, this will make sense. You’ll be able to wear your shoes when walking through the other areas of the mosque. We can accommodate those who need to wear shoes due to medical needs with shoe coverings.

Can I visit at any time?

We ask that you notify us of your visit in advance, but can typically accommodate your request quickly. We do have schools at the mosque, which maintain normal standards for school security. You will need to check in at the reception desk in the lobby when arriving. You can request to visit the mosque using this form or send an email to [email protected].

We welcome and host individuals and groups of all sizes and will work with you to tailor your visit to your needs. Most visitors like to arrive at a time where they can observe a prayer service. View the daily Prayer Times schedule on the home page and review the times listed under the Iqamah column. This is the time we hold the communal prayers onsite. The Adhan time column indicates the time at which a Muslim can perform the prayers if they are praying somewhere else or individually.

What happens on Fridays?

Muslims can pray their 5 daily prayers wherever they are. On Fridays, we have an additional communal prayer referred to as Jumuah that includes short speeches given by our Imams (religious leaders), local and visiting scholars and other knowledgeable community members. This is in lieu of the daily “dhuhr” or mid-day prayer and we hold several shifts at the IAR in order to accommodate the large numbers in our community. You can visit during the Friday prayer, but it can be very busy and parking is limited. Let us know if you are interested in visiting during Jumuah and we’ll advise on the best options.

What etiquette rules do I need to follow?

Like the houses of worship for any religion, we endeavor to create a respectful, peaceful and focused environment for all. Read here for some reminders and some information that is specific to visiting a mosque.

What if I have other questions?

See all of our FAQs on visiting the mosque here. Additionally, you can explore the fiqh and FAQs database or use the Search option at the top of this page.


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