Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions from visitors to our masjid location and to our website.
Where are you located?
We are nestled in the heart of Jefferson City’s South Side at 5124 Moreau Ridge Road.
What time are Friday prayers? How many people attend?
One of the Jefferson City Muslim Community's main religious activities is the Friday afternoon congregational prayers (Jum’ah), which averages nearly 100 congregants per week. That compares with a handful of worshippers who attend the daily five prayers.
The Jum'ah Khutba (Islamic sermon) begins at 1:15 p.m. The services are officiated by the Khateeb (or speaker) which alternates each week.
What is Jefferson City Muslim Community (JCMC)'s history?
JCMC was established in May 1991 when a handful of Muslims rented a small office space for $12.00 per hour at the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association (M.P.R.A.). Ten years later, due to a scheduling conflict at M.P.R.A., the small congregation relocated to a leased space at Shikles Auditorium. In August 2002, the growing congregation moved to a building at 420 Brooks Street. By April 2003, the burgeoning community was ready to purchase a parcel of land for the city's first-purpose built mosque. They purchased a 4.96 acre lot in Jefferson City’s south side about five miles from the State Capitol and just off US Highway 54. (Floor Plan & Facade)
In January 2004, the community approved a constitution and bylaws for JCMC and appointed members to its Executive Committee and Board of Directors. In June of that year, the IRS granted 501(c)3 non-profit organization status to JCMC.
JCMC community member submitted plans for new mosque to the City of Jefferson City and a fundraising campaign for a new building was in swing. In July 2008, a dream was realized when the City of Jefferson City granted an occupation permit to JCMC. The new building had two prayer halls, two washrooms, an office, a multipurpose gathering area, and a large parking lot. The building accommodates more than 250 persons and 150 in the prayer hall alone. The JCMC site also houses the Islamic Cemetery of Mid-Missouri, which is shared with the Islamic Center of Central Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and the Islamic Center of Rolla in Rolla, Missouri.
JCMC manages the masjid site. Its mission is to secure a religious, education, and family life center for the Jefferson City-area Muslim community to meet its spiritual, social, and civic needs. Please also read more about the Islamic Center of Jefferson City in our "In the News" section.
What are the masjid’s demographics?
JCMC is made up of an assorted group of lifelong Jefferson City residents, professionals, students, retirees, and business owners.
Many ethnicities attend JCMC including those with origins in Pakistan, Germany, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, and Egypt. The languages (besides English, of course) spoken are mainly Urdu, and Arabic. The age groups range from infants to elders with the majority of the community members ranging from 40 to 60 years old. Congregants at the Jefferson City Muslim Community follow diverse theological Sunni schools.
How often do your members pray at the mosque?
The Jefferson City Muslim Community parallels national statistics on mosque attendance. According to Pew and Gallup polls in 2010, about 40 percent of Muslim Americans say they pray in a mosque at least once a week, nearly the same percentage of American Christians who attend church weekly. About a third of all U.S. Muslims say they seldom or never go to mosques. Also, contrary to stereotypes of mosques as male-only spaces, Gallup finds that women are as likely as men to attend.
One of Jefferson City Muslim Community's main religious activities are the Friday afternoon congregational prayers (Jum’ah), which averages about 100 congregants each week. That compares with a handful of individuals who attend the daily five prayers.
What is the governance of the mosque?
The Jefferson City Muslim Community's governance is based on a two-tiered administrative structure consisting of a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee. Both bodies are made up of volunteers. The Board performs primary oversight and strategic functions while the Executive Committee is in charge of the day-to-day management of the masjid. The Board and Executive Committee are selected from amongst regular masjid attendees who demonstrate a clear commitment to Jefferson City Muslim Community’s mission of peace, prayer, and service.
The Jefferson City Muslim Community has 501(c)3 status. It has a bylaws and a constitution. Its bylaws provide for active involvement and consultation of religious authorities both locally and nationally to insure that the mosque adheres to Islamic principles derived from the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) and the Sunnah (the sayings and living habits of Muhammad, the main prophet of Islam).
Where is Jefferson City?
Jefferson City has been extending hospitality to visitors since the Legislature first convened here in the 1820’s. People have come by steamships on the Missouri River, by rail along the glorious river bluffs and, eventually, by automobile and tour buses. Jefferson City, Missouri, the state’s capital, was named for Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Jefferson’s vision for the expansion of U.S. territories led to the Louisiana Purchase. Missouri was part of that purchase. Jefferson City is located on the Missouri River near the geographic center of the state. It is dominated by a beautiful domed Capitol, rising from a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark passed beneath that bluff on their historic expedition. From the Capitol Complex the city extends eastward, southward, and westward over ridges and valleys paralleling the south bank of the river. The airport is located on the north side of the river.
What exactly is a mosque?
A mosque, or masjid, is literally any place where Muslims make their daily five prayers (salat) performed in the direction of Mecca; it needn’t be a building.
What is Islam?
Here is an abridged description of Islam.
If I do visit your mosque, what should I wear?
It is most appropriate to wear modest, loose-fitting clothes. For men, it is better to wear long pants, and for women to wear pants or full-length skirts or dresses, with long sleeves. Muslim women attending the mosque typically wear a headscarf as well. A female visitor may cover her head if she wishes to show respect to other worshipers or to enrich her own experience.
Also, please keep in mind that many Muslims do not shake hands with anyone of the opposite gender. That is, men do not shake hands with women, and women do not shake hands with men. Unless a member of the congregation extends his or her hand first, it is better to not extend yours.
Please see this page about visiting the Islamic Center of Jefferson City.
Why do you take your shoes off in a mosque?
A mosque is free of statues and utilizes rugs instead of pews. It is appropriate to remove one’s shoes before entering the prayer area in a mosque, so that the floors and carpets aren’t covered with dirt—after all, that is where people pray.
Where are the women in the mosque praying?
Women and men offer prayers in a separate prayer areas. The separation provides men and women with privacy and modesty. The physical separation helps men and women also maintain his or her focus on prayer–instead on one another.
Why are there foot-sinks in the bathroom?
A Muslim must be in a state of physical purification before making his or her prayer. That includes washing the feet. Our restrooms are equipped with bidets and other modern amenities for the self-purification process (wudu) performed prior to prayers.
What happens when people come late to the prayer?
Latecomers will join the prayer already in progress. After the leader of the prayer (Imam) has finished, they will complete what they missed.
What is jihad?
One misconception about Islam is often the word jihad. Crusaders from the Middle Ages interpreted jihad as a holy war; however, in Islam, jihad means a struggle against evil, which can include everyday temptations.
Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons – Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement that today is the city of Makkah (Mecca), and built a cuboid-shaped building called the Kaa’ba, which Muslims turn toward daily when they pray.
I am concerned (even afraid) about what’s actually going on in the mosque. Are you teaching people to be violent?
Mosques are probably America’s best line of defense against terrorism. They actually combat radicalism by providing a community to guide Muslims who have fallen to the rhetoric of radicalism. Mosques, however, remain greatly misunderstood on the American landscape.
Visit us, and listen to what our sermon speakers espouse. What you’ll hear is talk about prayer, fasting, charity, kindness to parents, and service to family and community.
Do mosques promote homegrown terrorism?
To the contrary, mosques are typical American religious institutions. In addition to worship services, most U.S. mosques hold weekend classes for children, offer charity to the poor, provide counseling services and conduct interfaith programs. There have been unfortunate exceptions, and that has led to a renewed commitment among mosque leaders to confront extremism. We hope you will visit us, and find that we are a premier site of American assimilation and community involvement.