Frequently Asked Questions
The name Masjid is the Arabic name for a house of worship. Bilal was an Ethiopian slave chosen by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to recite the call to prayer. We feel Bilal’s life mirrors the life of the African American from slavery to his rise to prominence in the Islamic world.
The membership contributed 60% of the construction work for building the Masjid in 1983. A generous donation by Jabir Muhammad, the manager of boxing champion Muhammad Ali, purchased the land for the Masjid, and an even more generous donation from Imam W. Deen Mohammed completed the construction cost for the Masjid. The remaining monies were contributed through donations and hard work of the membership which allowed Masjid Bilal to open its doors debt-free in June of 1983. Also, Masjid Bilal is the first Mosque to be built from the ground up in the United States by an African American community.
Some believe Muslims pray to the east, but in reality, we pray in the direction of the Ka’bah. The Ka’bah is in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Depending on your location in the world, that direction could be north, east, south or west. The Masjid was built in the direction of the Ka’bah, so when you enter the front doors of the Masjid, you are facing the direction of prayer.
Clyde Rahman was the Imam of Masjid Bilal from 1978 until his passing in 2008. It was the vision of Imam W. Deen Mohammed that a Masjid should be built that reflects the African American lifestyle. It was Imam Clyde Rahman who carried out that vision as project director for the building of Masjid Bilal. To honor him in 2009 The Clyde Rahman Community Center was formed.
Salaam Clinic opened its doors in September of 2019 as a free clinic open to the general public. The clinic operates from the lower level of Masjid Bilal on Sunday’s from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
The congregation was initially a part of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and known as Muhammad’s Temple #18. After the passing of Elijah Muhammad, we continued to follow the direction of his son W. Deen Mohammed who stirred the community towards true Al-Islam. After relocating and constructing our new Masjid, it was Imam W.Deen Mohammed, who chose the name Bilal for our Masjid.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed is the son of Elijah Muhammad and succeeded in his leadership of the Nation of Islam in 1975. Imam Mohammed was a renowned leader and teacher of the Islamic faith and transformed the Nation of Islam from a Black Nationalist group into a respected Muslim community recognized throughout the world.
No, but like most religious institutions, modesty in dress is always best.
Imam Shafeeq Sabir became the Imam after the passing of Imam Clyde Rahman. Imam Sabir was ratified by our congregation in 2008 and again in 2013. He continues the work of community outreach and interfaith building that has been a tradition at Masjid Bilal.