|The "front" entrance|
On the absolute fringe of what I consider to be the end of the Chicago sits a little mosque nestled in a strip mall between a US Marine Corps career center and a mathematics tutoring facilty in Plainfield, IL. Plainfield is infamously known as the northern most tip of "tornado valley" where in the early 90's tornadoes destroyed what little was built in this flat-landed town at that time. Up until a few years ago there was nothing here except corn fields which I why I refer to the Islamic Foundation of Southwest Suburbs as 'Little Mosque on the Prairie."
One might ask how can a fully functioning mosque be in a shopping center? Well, the Muslim Community here somehow managed. I had no idea where this place was so I called IFSWS earlier that day for directions. The phone did not go to the mosque but was answered by a Plainfield resident on his private mobile line.
"When you get here you have to enter from the back entrance, not the front," He said. This should be interesting, I thought.
As I walked through the dark alley behind the plaza and entered through the back door, I realized that this was in fact the main entrance. The foyer is very small with a shoe rack the the left, a fridge directly in front, and two plastic wash basins, typical of what you would find in a home laundry room, on the left side for wadu. The main hall's walls were painted brown and the floor had beige carpet with white masking tape forming angled lines for prayer.
|Islamic Foundation of Southwest Suburbs|
A very simple place of worship transformed for the simple act of prayer. Isha and tarawih was led by a hafiz in his upper 20's. He led salah in a voice which was in a nasalized, but soft, tone. There were only about twenty-five to thirty men here, and for the first time this month I noticed no women attendees. Some people refer to this center as a musalla, but to this day, and due to my partial ignorance, I really do not know the difference between a musalla and a mosque.