Az-Zahra Islamic Centre, British Columbia, Canada
Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre is a multipurpose complex consisting of a Mosque, Imamabargha, Gymnasium, Ghusl Rooms, Seniors’ Rooms, Nursery and Children’s Rooms, Offices as well as Madrasah and Elementary School. This 55,000 sq. ft. facility, built at a cost of about Cdn. $12 million, meets the needs, present and future, of Muslim community that is growing, dynamic and visionary. The conception, planning, development and building of the Centre took ten long years and involved untiring dedication of many members of the Shia Muslim Community of British Columbia and in particular the members of Multipurpose Complex Taskforce. Through the Grace of Allah (swt) and generosity of donors locally and worldwide, the entire cost of building of the centre is now fully paid up!
The Centre has been named after the great lady Sayyida Fatimah az-Zahraa (sa), the beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S). Zahraa means radiant. It is the hope of the community leaders and visionaries that the teachings, practices and values of Islam as taught in the Holy Qur’an and illustrated by the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (as) would brightly beam from this Centre for many years to come.
Each and every structure at Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre is unique, but Masjid Az-Zahraa stands out as the most aesthetic piece of architecture. The beautiful mosque built in Islamic tradition and architecture has a green dome similar to the Prophet’s mosque in Medina, two minarets based on Imam Ali al-Ridha’s (as) mausoleum in Mashhad and Islamic Moorish design on the outside of the Mihrab. The internal of the Mihrab keeps the attention of the worshippers focused to the Almighty on account of relevant Qur’anic verses and calligraphy that manifests Divine unity.
On the day of Eid al-Fitr 1425 (November 14, 2004) the mosque with a ground floor of 5,000 sq. ft. and mezzanine floor of 2,500 sq. ft. accommodated over 1000 worshippers. It was truly an amazing scene to see mu’mineen from various background and ethnicity standing shoulder to shoulder and praying in unison Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest). In addition to wide stairs, the mezzanine floor can be accessed through a small elevator for the elderly and handicapped. A small room at the back of the mezzanine accommodates mothers with small children.
The tall paneled entrance doors, the wide and spacious foyers and corridors with sitting benches make the facility all the more welcoming and pleasant. It has come in Hadith that it is recommended to have wudhu (ablution) place at the entrance of a mosque. Masjid Az-Zahraa has two Wudhu facilities at the entrance of gents and ladies that can cater over 20 people at a time.
The inside of the dome with 12 arched windows signifying our Ithna Ashari (Twelver) faith are decorated with Islamic calligraphy that is simply superb and glowing. The panel of the 12 stained windows beautifully designed contains the names of fourteen Ma’sumeen. The word Allah Jalla Jalaalahu (God, Sublime is His Majesty) is repeated throughout the inside top end of the dome. The internal base of the dome has ninety nine beautiful names of Allah, all decorated but easy to read. The fourteen windowpanes of the mosque also contains the names and titles of the infalliable 14 Ma`sumeen (as).
A small portion of the mosque has been separated from the main section, enabling it to remain open 24 hours a day for the convenience of travelers, visitors and other mu’mineen that cannot make it to the regular scheduled congregation prayers.