Places of worship are extremely valuable to many people. They go to church, temple, or other places to pray in private and as part of a congregation. A mosque is another type of place of worship, where people of Islamic faith go to pray.
Domed mosques typically feature grand architecture, steeped in many years of history and culture. The surroundings of mosques can also be quite grand, with ornate ablution fountains for washing in the courtyard or entryway. Mosques also feature tell-tale minarets, which are tall spires or towers featuring conical crowns, used for the call to prayer. Mosque ceilings typically feature detailed carvings, adding another unique element to the image.
Mosques, which originated in the Middle East, can be found in many Islamic communities, especially large cities where there is a high concentration of people with many faiths. They are also found in smaller communities, where people come together in such a close-knit community to read and learn from the Koran, which is very similar to the Bible for Christians. It can be presented by the imam in either Arabic or English.
Just like churches and other centers of worship, people attend services at mosques on a daily or weekly basis. An imam leads the congregation in prayer, or salat, during regular services or during special celebrations, such as Ramadan, Islam's most holy month. Mosques also have social events just like others places of Islamic worship, to bring the congregation together.
Visitors, both Muslims and non-Muslims, typically remove their shoes before stepping into the Mosque, as a rule. Shorts and short sleeves are frowned upon. In fact, it's a good idea to wear as much coverage as possible. Men wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, while women wear long dresses and head scarfs to cover the head.
Central to Muslim worship, mosques provide a gathering place for devout followers of Islam. During the 7th century, mosques began to appear in the Middle East, on the Arabian Peninsula, as sites to be used for worship of the Muslim god, Allah. Throughout the history of the Islamic religion, the design and offerings provided by mosques have changed. Depending on location and size of the Islamic congregation some mosques appear with ornate features including a dome and minarets. The feature of the minaret is the point from which the pious would be called to prayer. Mosques also include worship halls. Worship halls within a mosque are usually divided into a space for male followers and devout female worshipers. Whether you are simply interested in studying the architecture of mosques, or would like to attend prayer services you should choose a mosque that will best suit your needs. If you have any friends who practice as Muslims, ask about their local site of worship. Other options include researching mosque locations online. Contacting the imam, or leader of an individual mosque, is an extremely useful means by which you will uncover information regarding your mosque options. By discussing your interest and the intention you have for wanting to visit a mosque you will find one which best suits your needs. When researching mosques you should be aware of the important Islamic holy days, of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. If you seek education, in addition to worship services, you should be aware that some mosques are affiliated with madrasahs, or schools