Mosque Visits: Purpose and Etiquette

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Mosques (often officially called Islamic centers) are the center of Islamic prayer and meditation and may serve other purposes such as a court, market or a school. The Arabic term masjid, literally means "a place to prostrate."

Call ahead and ask permission to come and observe prayers. Make it clear that you are Christians simply wishing to observe the prayer ceremony. Always go with at least one other believer; don't go alone.


Purpose of the Visit

Your purpose should be:

  • To pray for a blessing and the salvation of Muslims
  • To learn about the concept of worship in Islam


Inside the Mosque

  • Pray silently from the moment you enter. Ask God to reveal His Word to them.
  • Women must dress modestly (long skirts and long sleeves are best; bring along a scarf in case you are required to cover your head).
  • Men must dress modestly in long pants and a shirt or t-shirt.
  • Take off your shoes and put them on the rack.
  • Sit in designated places for men or women. Stay in the rear of the room as you observe prayer.
  • Be a learner. Ask good questions while listening to the responses carefully.
  • Avoid prolonged conversations about Christianity in the mosque. Make an appointment with individuals who wish to discuss issues in detail.


  • Imam - He leads prayers and is a leading elder. There is no institutionalized clergy.
  • Mihrab - Recess in wall indicating the direction of Mecca (Qiblah).
  • Flooring - Often mats aligned in rows facing Mihrab.
  • Place for Wudu - Where ablutions before prayer are carried out.
  • Rack for shoes
  • Separate room or section for women

Note: These guidelines apply only to North American mosques that accommodate non-Muslim visitors. Mosques in Muslim states are often restricted and open to Muslims only.