Georgetown University — the first US college campus to have a dedicated masjid
The Yarrow Mamout Masjid in Georgetown University is being dubbed the first mosque on campus to feature ablution stations, a spirituality and formation hall, and a halal kitchen.
As well as the five daily prayers, the masjid provides a welcoming environment for Muslims, offering a dedicated space for religious talks and seminars.
It officially opened on March 18 after construction was completed, although the masjid has been operational since its initial opening in 2019.
This is not the first milestone for Georgetown — it was also the first university in the US to employ a full-time Imam 24 years ago.
The Masjid is named after Yarrow Mamout, a formerly enslaved Muslim who contributed to the neighbourhood of Georgetown and continued to deepen and practice his Islamic faith after gaining freedom in 1796.
"The naming of the masjid reminds us American Muslims that we are a part of the fabric of the United States of America," said the university's Imam Yahya Hendi during the ceremony held in March.
"We have always been here. We are not newcomers to this country. We continue to contribute to it, and we will continue to engage it in the best of ways. And we American Muslims have to be an integral part of the national fight against slavery and against racism."
The university said the masjid "embodies the university's commitment to interreligious understanding and holistic student care, providing sacred spaces and fostering a sense of community for students of all faith traditions."
It is one of seven religious paces on Georgetown's main campus — and one of three for Muslim students to pray in.
Masjid's design looks towards Muslim tradition
Imam Hendi's vision for the masjid took shape 12 years ago, involving collaboration with students, faculty, staff, donors, and a design firm.
Every element of the masjid's design was carefully chosen. The two wudu stations are lined with blue and red tiles.
The traditional blue Arabesque tile patterns in the entrance evoke the sky, while the carpet where the worshipper's prostate is brown - the colour of dust.
"We come from dust and to dust we shall return," Imam Hendi says in the university blog.
The Abu Hamid al-Ghazali Spirituality and Formation Hall offers a community faith space with Islamic artwork and seating areas.
The masjid serves as a sanctuary for students, offering comfort and an opportunity to forge connections with fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The blog quotes student Tabshir Forkan saying the masjid helped him connect with his faith.
"To come here and not lose that space and not lose that community — only to find a new community and new friends to be around — has been incredibly powerful," he adds.
Another student mentions the masjid was the main reasons she came to Georgetown.
"It's like my little solace away from the chaos of university life," says Aleena Maryam Dawer.
"It's something that provides inner calmness and inner peace when you're constantly in the hustle bustle of the Georgetown community, running around, going to lab, going to a lecture, getting food. When you come here, it's a place of peace and belonging. It's pretty much my second home."
Image credits: Georgetown University