Places of Worship
Inside Sheffield Islamic Centre
Inside Sheffield's Islamic landmark
We went behind the scenes of Sheffield's biggest purpose-built mosque and Islamic Centre near London Road, which was funded by the community who use it.
Updated July 2008
A new landmark rises above the terraced houses of the Sharrow area of Sheffield. With its distinctive green domes and tall minarets, the city's biggest purpose-built mosque and Islamic Centre can't fail to grab the attention of locals and passing motorists.
The old Sheffield Islamic Centre
The Muslim community had been looking for a suitable building or site in the south of Sheffield for around a decade and a half. Building of the Masjid - the Arabic word for mosque - on Wolseley Road began in September 2004, when just £500,000 of the estimated £3.5m development costs had been raised. The local community who use the mosque put together the funds to build it.
A former Co-Op stood on the spot of the new mosque and it served as the Masjid for over twenty years. The new building was designed by Archi-Structure Ltd, one of the leading mosque architects in the UK.
Artist's impression of the mosque
In July 2008, the mosque on Wolseley Road is almost finished; the structure and the rooms are complete - it's just the minor detail (the painting, Arabic calligraphy and texts) which is unfinished. It will cost the community £100,000 just to paint the dome from the inside.
Treasurer and Trustee of Sheffield Islamic Centre, Nawaz Khan, speaks about the design of the new building: "We've built Islamic features into it. We've gone for very much a Persian design and mixed it into the local environment, with arches, windows, a dome and minarets."
Jhangir Ahmed and the Treasurer and Trustee Nawaz Khan took BBC Radio Sheffield's Gareth Evans on a tour around and explained to him about the dome, the washrooms and Muslim traditions.
"Muslims pray on the floor. At home, they have a mat but in a mosque it's impossible to provide everyone with a mat. So you take your shoes off and pray on the clean carpet," explains Jhangir.
As Gareth and Jhangir walk down the corridor they come to a large washing area with 26 sinks. "Muslims pray five times a day and there's a process of washing," says Jhangir. "Firstly you wash your hands, then wash your mouth out, run water through your nose, wash your face, arms, over your head, back of your neck so your hair's wet, then your feet and your ankles. When you wash, the lord wipes away your sins. So for example if you spoke anything bad then the lord will wash that away before you pray.
Nawaz Khan is Treasurer and Trustee of Sheffield Islamic Centre. He says the mosque is well-used.
"Approximately 1000 people will come to Friday prayer. There are a few hundred more in the holidays. The rest of the week, it's about 500 people coming in each day."
Gareth walks under the dome to hear the acoustics. "If you were at the back of the room you would be able to hear what was going on at the front. You don't need a mic even though it's a very big room!"
The room is surrounded by a balcony, specifically for the ladies. Gareth asks Nawaz why the segregation during prayers. "It's for religious reason. It's so no evil thoughts come to your mind when you are praying," says Nawaz.
Unlike many of the other major regeneration projects changing South Yorkshire's skyline, this build is paid for entirely by voluntary donations from the community who use it. So what leads a community to dig so deep in its pockets to construct on such a grand scale?
Azra, who can't wait for the new mosque to open.
Faith certainly plays a part and the Muslim community has a charitable tradition which sees a percentage of income and even young people's whole first pay packets being given to the mosque.
For many locals this is more than a place to pray: it has classrooms, a planned daycare centre for the elderly and will host inter-faith events. Anybody is welcome to visit the mosque - it's not just for Muslims.
last updated: 18/07/2008 at 11:27
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Have you visited the new Masjid building? What do you think of the mosque on Wolseley Road?
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