MAS Community Center | Washington Islamic Academy | Alexandria, Virginia

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This past Friday was my first visit to the Washington Islamic Academy and MAS Community Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The building is surrounded by some green foliage and as I walked from my car to the front door, I saw a deer galloping off into the woods. There was a woman hosing down the sidewalk outside the front doors with water, which set the tone for my visit there. The school area, although school is out of session, was remarkably clean and neat. This cleanliness continued into the musalla prayer area.

The crowd for jumu’ah here seems to be one of the more mature in terms of managing gender relations. The main entrance to the musalla is used by both men and women, the imam, Johari Abdul-Malik, arrived early, and the khutbah started on-time. When space got tight, Imam Johari asked the brothers to move up to make room for the men who were standing outside. Towards the back of the prayer space there’s a small divider used to demarcate the men’s area from the women’s area and affords a measure of privacy to those women who want it without impinging on those who would rather see the khatib (lecturer).

The space is tight, I hear the mosque community is looking to expand and renovate their unfinished basement. But I was impressed by the normal and respectful behavior of the congregants despite their close proximity as can be seen in the above pictures.


7 Comments on “MAS Community Center | Washington Islamic Academy | Alexandria, Virginia”

  1. Ameera says:

    Masha’Allah, that’s pretty neat – in more than one way! 🙂

    • Ify Okoye says:

      I thought so and Imam Johari gave a very interesting khutbah by focusing on some of the lessons we don’t offer hear relating to al-Isra wal Miraj and having love and mercy for the ummah.

  2. ualeem says:


    Just sharing 2011 Ramadan Calendar

    jazakallah khair

  3. nadia says:

    please pray for me,ALLAH bless me n forgive my all mistakes,

  4. Amanda says:

    I usually am very happy to attend this mosque when I can because it is the only mosque in the immediate area where there is an option to sit with no barrier in front of you. Unfortunately when I went for Taraweh prayers on the first night of Ramadan I was upset to see that the barrier has been “upgraded.” It is now comprised of a full height barrier for half the room, and a waist-high barrier for the other half. I am a bit short, so I can just barely see over the low barrier when sitting to see where the khatib would stand. I was so upset over the loss of this freedom that I actually cried as I sat there staring at the uninspiring gray cloth, and I’m not sure I will return.

  5. Ify Okoye says:

    Amanda, that’s so sad and unfortunate but thank you so much for sharing your story and personal experience. I visited and prayed at the MAS Community Center these past two days and was also shocked and disappointed to see the “new Ramadan barrier.” I’ll have pictures of the barrier up soon, insha’Allah. I did not pray behind the barrier either day but in between or in front of the gap by the windows.

    It is disappointing how few of the local masajid have accommodations, which are inclusive, respect the dignity of women as full worshippers and believers and accord with the hadith about loving for others what you love for yourself.

    I’m going to the ADAMS Center tonight, insha’Allah, hope they have a better setup. Thankfully, my local masjid Dar us Salaam in College Park is actually praying in a gym at the University of Maryland where there is no barrier.

    Last night was probably the very first time I’ve prayed tarawih and listened to the khatirah in-between and was able to see the imam directly. The experience is far superior spiritually and psychologically then when behind a barrier or relegated to a separate room.

  6. Sacha says:

    I am so glad to see that more and more people both sisters and brothers are having this conversation. It is imperative that the women of the Ummah are seen and treated as though they are valid and hold respectable positions in our Muslim communities let a lone any other community. I truly believe that if those who were so intent on maintaining these barriers were forced to sit behind them and experience what the sisters that feel(the isolation, disconnection from the prayer and often times claustrophobia ) while behind them; there would be a change in mindset. Please keep this discussion alive, we need this.

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