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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imambara / Husainiya / Mosque designs for constructions in the West

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The traditional design (AIUI) is a large hall suitable for congregational prayers and say Muharram majalis. Obviously there's a minaret in the case of a mosque. But I was wondering how well this works in the West.

Let's take the example of the options facing the design of a new facility.

Should it have one large hall - or not?

The answer may seem to be 'of course it should'.

But I wonder whether it is practical to design a building based on its usage for at best 20 days a year. It may seem heretical, but should Husainya design be based on the assumption that Muharram majalis will actually still be held in local schools that are hired for the period?

So the main hall is no larger than the congregation for Jumma prayers.

Alternatively even if a large hall is built from the get go, should it be designed in a manner that it can be partitioned most of the time and used e.g. for Madressa classrooms?

New uses

Something which may not necessarily feature in traditional designs is the provision of a ladies gym and whether this should be open to the wider public as well.

Given various social crises, should there be provision of warm/ air-conditioned spaces & soup kitchens / food bank for Muslims and locals?

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For new and upcoming projects I think the ideas you mentioned should definitely be considered.  In addition to sports and hobby facilities as well as social aid, there should be office space foreseen for administration but also to rent so that the mosque has stable income. In the remote office era I think Muslims would appreciate the ability to work at a location that has prayer facilities.  Furthermore it gives the opportunity to doctors/lawyers etc to do part time pro bono work for people who need it such as refugees  

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14 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

So the main hall is no larger than the congregation for Jumma prayers.

Alternatively even if a large hall is built from the get go, should it be designed in a manner that it can be partitioned most of the time and used e.g. for Madressa classrooms?
 

Salam surly you must consider it's design as a multipurpose place which by partioning & easy moving of partions everybody can use this place for Madressa or classrooms & etc  which in similar fashaion main hall of some mosques & husainiyas in Iran are using for any usefull activity.

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New uses

Something which may not necessarily feature in traditional designs is the provision of a ladies gym and whether this should be open to the wider public as well.

Given various social crises, should there be provision of warm/ air-conditioned spaces & soup kitchens / food bank for Muslims and locals?

definetly you msut consider these matters which in another example fro iran during social crises liewise covid outbreak many mosques & husainiyas have dedeicated their spaces to these things which majority of people who have been there have been women who have been preparaing face masks & food  & other supports for people who have been affected by Corona outbreak in similar fashion of their presence in mosques & husainiyas during Saddam-Iran war from preparing food to washing clothes of wariors even hopitalizing injured people & wariors & even caring people who have lost their homes  due to bobardments by making these places as a shelter for them  which mosque of Khoramshahr during war has been used as a center for everything .

Mosques & husainiyas  during covis outbreak

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Mosque of Khoramshahr during Saddam-Iran war (Sacred defence)

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16 hours ago, Abu_Zahra said:

For new and upcoming projects I think the ideas you mentioned should definitely be considered.  In addition to sports and hobby facilities as well as social aid, there should be office space foreseen for administration but also to rent so that the mosque has stable income. In the remote office era I think Muslims would appreciate the ability to work at a location that has prayer facilities.  Furthermore it gives the opportunity to doctors/lawyers etc to do part time pro bono work for people who need it such as refugees  

One issue that comes to mind is how to separate out spaces that could be used by anyone and would therefore make the place more attractive to all members of the local community and thereby reduce the chances of complaints (for various reasons). But at the same time restrict access (at least to some areas) on the basis of najasat, which non-Muslims might not be aware of or not want to adhere to.

One option would be to have two separate entrances. One entrance for all those activities for which anyone could come in regardless of religion etc. (and which would be the most accessible) and another for access to e.g. prayer areas (for which you'd need to make a bit more effort for entry).

So we have:

1. Sport/hobby facilities

2. Office space (for home workers); possible dual use as consulting rooms

3. Social space - not mentioned yet, but a 'third place' concept, where people can socialise without having to invite people to their homes. Lots of apartments being built in London now and they can be cramped. Some complexes have social areas on the ground floor, but something in an imambara may be more comfortable.

4. Spaces for children's parties

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