With the recent opening of the masjid here in Raleigh, it's not too hard to find things to complain about.
But despite all the complaints, or noise I might have made thus far, I just wanted to say that there is a lot more being done right. The efforts of the masjid administration and committees should be commended, really, for all the work they have been doing and all their help to transform the place into more than just a pretty building, but into a real beating heart for the community.
It's too easy to say that the rooms aren't really soundproof (very obvious when you make sujood to a chorus of crying children), and there's still no video equipment and that's true. It's also easy to say that the children wouldn't settle during the prayer and the women were talking through the program. But I guess it's harder to respect the efforts which have been made to help. So inshaaAllah I am going to try to mention these things, based on what I saw last night at the opening event.
To start with, the obscure new rule about strollers not being allowed in the building--somehow the word did get out and the sisters are cooperating. MaashaaAllah. May Allah reward the sisters who repeatedly had to explain this rule, and the sisters who are following it. Strollers are a problem because they block hallways and doorways--which can be a real safety hazard.
In addition the volunteer sisters last night were determined to keep food out of the new prayer area--that didn't make most people very happy, but it's something that must be vigilantly enforced, I think. Refreshments, you see, were being served across the hall, and naturally some wanted to return to the prayer hall with their food but they were kept out, and the sisters who kept them out often had to be strong in that but they were also polite, so I commend them. MaashaaAllah. May Allah reward them for setting that good example.
There was a liaison between security on the ground floor, and also up with the sisters. She was there to have someone come up and turn off the alarm (when someone attempted to leave through the emergency exit--which sets of an alarm). She also could call downstairs with her walkie-talkie to have the volume of the sound system changed when the sisters would not be quiet. Somebody was definitely thinking ahead. MaashaaAllah.
Here are some other points that are very nice. The chandeliers are pretty, the carpet is soft, the tile in the lobby downstairs is very elegant. There is lots of space, and just when you think the space might be filled up there is even more space that opens up. The new bathrooms are nice and usually clean. There are windows to let in natural light in the halls upstairs and downstairs. There's space behind the musallah which can be used for classes, lectures, presentations, etc. Plenty of racks for shoes, too.
And on Friday, children were kept out of the main prayer hall, kept in the side rooms, most ladies put their shoes up on racks, and 95% or so were quiet during the lecture. With all those women there, and it went so well. It was very frustrating to have to listen to crying babies during the salaat though, as usual--just a sign that there needs to be better soundproofing. Actually, just a proper seal or some carpet underneat the door--there's about a one inch gap which doesn't do much for soundproofing.
All the same... there really is more good than bad, despite what I say.