The Main Hall is the primary feature of the Birmingham Central Mosque and is the most widely used area within the mosque. All of our congregation are familiar with this particular area as it is where Muslims attend regularly for their five daily prayers. The main hall is situated under the main dome which acts as a centerpiece focal point within the Main Hall. There is a display chandelier based under the Dome. The minaret is also accessible from the Main Hall and is from where the Muadhan announces the Call to Prayer (Adhān).
The main hall features as niche or arch (Mihrab) in the East wall known as the Qibla wall. This wall faces towards the direction of the Kaa’ba (First House of Allah on Earth) in the city of Makkah and indicates the direction Muslims must face when praying to Allah. There is also a pulpit positioned beside the Mihrab. This pulpit, from where the Imam addresses sermons and lectures, is known as the Minbar. Bookshelves bearing copies of the Holy Qur’an in various languages are also situated along the Qibla wall.
The Main Hall is carpeted with a richly decorated carpet used for the prayer for which the faithful remove their shoes before prayer so as to keep the ground clean. There are numerous pillars to support the structural design and arch shaped windows lining one side of the Main Hall. The hall is equipped with energy saving light features to maintain the beauty and visibility of the hall, these lights are only lit fully on special occasions so as to conserve energy. The hall also has fans and heating which are used depending on the seasonal temperature. The main hall, like the rest of the mosque, hosts a network of speakers for the amplification of lectures and prayers.
The main hall has a capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 people which is the average turnout on a busy Friday. On any ordinary Friday, between 4,000 and 5,000 are expected. It is on Eid, when there are five services one after the other, that between 15, 000 and 20,000 walk through the doors of the Main Hall for special prayer services.
The mosque has six classrooms which are used by the Evening School for the teaching of children. Each classroom houses around 30 pupils who study the Qur’an and Islamic topics by a curriculum. The Evening School (5.00 – 7.00pm weekdays) is run by the Education Department within the mosque. Tables, chairs and white boards are a standard feature of each classroom.
This is a quiet, partitioned area where individuals may study and read literature on subjects of their choice. We have a good selection of books on Islam in English, Arabic, Persian and Urdu as well as leaflets, booklets, and magazines on various religious and community topics. Students also use the library for revision and educational studies. To use the library, please arrange an appointment with the main office at the mosque. The library is currently being re-organised and systematically restructured so that it is more user-friendly and can serve a greater purpose for the local community.
This is a facility for the washing and storing of the deceased. By Islamic law, the body of one who has recently passed away preferably be buried within 24 hours. Most bodies are washed, stored and prepared by the local Muslim funeral parlor before being brought to the mosque for services. However, sometimes it is preferred by close relatives that the mosque take the responsibility of pre-burial preparations. The mosque caters for the washing of bodies and for their cold storage after which the mosque provides an Islamic funeral prayer service for the family, friends, and relatives of the deceased.
These are all purpose halls used for different events such as marriages, lectures, meetings and so on. It is also a reception room for visitors and school groups and serves as the mosque’s main function hall. It is also known as the ’Day Centre’ because it was initially used by elder locals as a drop-in center.
This area, known as the School Hall, also doubles up for functions and services similar to the Community Hall. It is referred to as the ‘School Hall’ as it is where the children’s classrooms are located nearby. Pupils have regular assemblies in this hall too.
The prayer area for female members of the congregation is known as the Ladies’ or Women’s Gallery. It is the area within a balcony located on the west side of the main prayer hall which oversees the entire hall. Female worshippers see and listen to the sermons from the gallery, although, in recent times, women have chosen to screen themselves using curtains.
The Ladies’ Gallery has recently undergone a renovation which involved extending the space within the prayer area for about 1500 spaces for ladies prayers at one particular time and provided a one-way vanition mirror screen so that sisters may enjoy the full benefits of observing prayers and services without undermining their privacy and safety.
Female volunteers dominate the running of the gallery and attend to worshippers’ needs. Members of the congregation within the Ladies’ Gallery dictate their requirements and needs to the mosque management regarding the facilities available to them.
The mosque provides four main areas for worshippers to make ablutions before prayers. Ablution is the act of preparation and self-cleanliness carried out before Muslims stand in prayer and obedience before the Almighty Lord of all creation.
There are two wash areas for male worshippers and two wash areas for female worshippers, both of which are completely equipped with basins, toilets, tools and wash taps and relevant toiletries. Hygiene, cleanliness, and sanitation are maintained throughout our wash areas accordingly. Alongside these washing areas, we have got two newly built shower rooms and one mother and baby changing room as well in the premises.
There are two main external features of the mosque which project the Muslim community across the city. They are the stunning white dome which sits at the top of the mosque building and two towering white-capped minarets which can be seen across the city center. The dome, which is painted white to stand out against the buildings surrounding the mosque, is a feature that is commonly associated with mosques in many countries although it has very little religious significance but a symbolic feature.
It is crowned with a gold colored crescent moon, a symbol largely associated with Islam and new beginnings. The minarets, however, are from where the Muazzin would traditionally announce the Adhān, the Call to Prayer. This call is still declared by the Muazzin from the minaret but by way of an electronic audio system located at the base of the minaret which then amplifies the live broadcast across the mosque building and outside via speakers. One of the minarets displays a sign proclaiming ‘Read Al-Qur’an, The Last Testament’ to all who pass by the building.
There is limited access within the minarets but it is possible to visit the peak of the structure. Most of the city is clearly visible from the top of the minaret including most of the new city center buildings and landmarks. The mosque is paralleled by St. Alban’s Church which projects a progressive contrast of a multi-faith Birmingham.
The mosque has a kitchen which is used for food preparation. The kitchen is used by mosque staff and for catering for guests. It is also made available to individuals or groups hosting functions such as wakes, weddings and so on. For such occasions, the use of the kitchen must be booked in advance.
The kitchen has all standard appliances and fittings and we ensure that all facilities within the kitchen are at the correct standard of hygiene and safety as required by British law. We try our utmost best to encourage this measure amongst all users of our kitchen area.
The mosque has numerous offices for different departments including the Marriage Bureau and Counselling Clinic which are based here. Most of the mosque’s administration work takes place in the main offices which are situated near the ground floor entrance. There are waiting rooms located beside each of the main offices with general waiting areas available for service offices. The main office should be the primary point of reception for visitors.
The Meeting Room, also known as the Chairman’s Office, is where official meetings are held by the mosque management such as management or trustee meetings as well as official engagements. It is also where mosque officials meet with external bodies including inter-faith bodies, the police, community groups, international guests and other organisations and/or individuals.
The mosque has a lift installed on its premises for use by those who require such assistance. The lift is mainly used by the disabled or those who cannot comfortably use the stairs. The lift covers the ground floor level and is accessible from the Mortuary area and it travels up to the second floor, opening at the Main Hall and ladies galleries.
The lift is also used during funerals to transport coffins to and from the Main Hall for funeral prayers. The lift was kindly donated by Riaz Sheikh in loving memory of his late wife Mahvera Sheikh, may Allah (The Most High) reward them both.