This past Saturday, I visited the Dar al Noor Islamic Community Center in Manassas, Va, which according to the center’s website, has two women serving on the mosque’s board of directors. I entered through a common door, put my shoes on the shoe rack, and walked to the prayer hall where a mother was praying next to her young daughter in what seemed to be the back of a common prayer area.
I didn’t see a partition so I also prayed there. After I completed the 2 units of prayer as a greeting to the mosque, I noticed a wooden wall to my left. Curious, I walked over to investigate further and much to my surprise found that this appeared to be the area designated for women. You can see it for yourself in the above slideshow.
Imam Rashid Lamptey and his wife Jerusha Lamptey spoke to NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty several years ago for her The Young and the Godly series about their mosque community and making it women-friendly among other issues. There were at least three stories produced here, here, and here. Combined below are two clips about women in the mosque and prayer space.
A few years ago, I volunteered to help present the Islam to girl scouts and their families at event called Open Houses of Faith. Imam Lamptey and some members from his community came and together Islam stole the show. There were a number of other faith traditions there with us but people seemed most attracted to the Islam section, asked us questions, and waited around after the event to watch us pray asr (the late afternoon prayer).
I’ve never visited Dar al Noor but plan to so I can see the set-up in that mosque, insha’Allah.