Friday, August 12, 2011

Night 12- A visit to the Middle East

Earlier in the day my friend sends me a message saying "Bawadi iftaar tonite?" and I was sold. Tonight I had no intention for attending Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, IL (where a large number of Chicago's Arab community resides) because I was saving that for another night. For those not from Chicago, Al Bawadi is one of the more popular and great tasting Middle Eastern cuisine restaurants also in Bridgeview. It worked out perfect: a binge iftaar and dinner at Al Bawadi followed by tarawih at one of my favorite mosques in the area.

After overdosing on the variety of lamb, chicken, and hummus I could barely walk. We park at the far end of the Masjid complex and start walking towards the entrance with the sound of what is being said inside is permeating all around. I love this mosque because it is one of the few in the United States, most likely the only in Chicago, where the adhaan and salat are both broadcasted live over loudspeakers outside on all sides of the building, giving the feeling of being in a Muslim country where it is the norm. Being a predominately Arab neighborhood and community I guess it works out since maybe 85% of the residents on the streets around this place are Muslim families.
Mosque Foundation, Bridgeview, Illinois
The Mosque Foundation has several silver domes on all corners of the building and a minaret emerging from the middle illuminated with green lights. The center consists of the original prayer hall, an even larger extension to the main hall, and towards the back is a considerably large ladies prayer section. Initially I sat in the main prayer section looking up at the chandelier swinging ever so gently a few inches back and forth due to the ceiling fans. For Ramadan, all three sections are filled with Muslim men for Isha and Tarawih and I suppose the ladies pray in the basement section or maybe the 2nd floor. I'm not sure what is on the second floor, but guessing the women's section would be in either. I would say easily over 1000 Muslims were in attendance which is great for a Thursday weeknight, mashaAllah.

Main Prayer Hall
My two friends who came along for Bawadi and prayers and I finished Isha. At this point I'm slipping deeper and deeper into a food coma. I hadn't eaten that much after iftaar all Ramadan long, but who could lay easy on Bawadi, and that too their iftaar buffet special. The longtime Imam of this mosque who also led tarawih had an injury. Due to this he had a huge cast on his leg, but nonetheless still managed to lead the jamaat in a chair, Alhumdulillah. All I thought was I wish I could sit and pray tonight too as I burped repeatedly. I can't even imagine how I would feel if I had Al Bawadi before attending the Albanian Islamic Center the night before (up down up down up down... read the night 11 post below)!

Burps and belching aside, I still enjoyed the Mosque Foundation. The jamaat saying Ameen after al Fatiha resonated through the walls, perhaps shook the building, and maybe echoed throughout Bridgeview for that matter over the loudspeakers outside. The people of this town and the surrounding suburbs are blessed to have this sprawling complex consisting of a full time school and an all-girls school in separate buildings for their children and the future generations to come, inshaAllah!


  1. AsalamAlayKum Brother Imaad,

    Appreciate your nightly thirty/thirties.

    I went to school at American Islamic College on Irving Park in the 40 hundred block many, many crescent moons ago. InshAllah, through your lens, will be able to see how Chicagoland Masjids have progressed since then.

    Is thirty/thirty (or are you) on twitter?

    Here in Toronto, I'm also doing 30 Masjids in 30 days, and have added your blog in our links.

    Salam and Ramadan Mubarak!

    HiMY SYeD

  2. The prototype, the model for all other masjids in chicagoland! Bawadi and Mosque Foundation are a perfect combo