Welcome to our article where we invite you to explore the vibrant and diverse Islamic culture of Philadelphia. This historic city is home to a thriving community that has deep roots in the Islamic faith. Join us as we take you on a journey to discover the top masjid locations in Philadelphia and delve into the fascinating Islamic culture that is alive and thriving in the city.

Philadelphia’s masjids not only serve as places of worship but also as hubs of community development. They offer a wide range of programs and services that contribute to the overall well-being and growth of the city. From promoting education and vocational training to providing support for returning citizens, these masjids are catalysts for positive change in the community.

As we explore the masjids and their significance, we will also delve into the rich history of Islam in Philadelphia. We will discover how the African-American Muslim experience has shaped the city’s Islamic landscape and explore the contributions of influential figures such as Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and the Moorish Science Temple.

Key Takeaways:

  • Philadelphia is home to a vibrant and diverse Islamic community.
  • The city has a rich history and culture that is often overlooked.
  • Top masjid locations in Philadelphia serve as hubs of community development.
  • The African-American Muslim experience has played a significant role in shaping the Islamic landscape in the city.
  • Influential figures such as Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and the Moorish Science Temple have had a lasting impact on Philadelphia’s Islamic community.

The Evolution of Islam in America

The history of Islam in America is deeply intertwined with the experiences of African-American Muslims. From the early days of the Nation of Islam, under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad and his son Warith Deen Muhammad, to the transition to Orthodox Sunni Islam, the African-American Muslim experience has played a significant role in shaping the Islamic landscape in Philadelphia.

The African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia has a rich history of activism, self-reliance, and cultural contributions that have had a lasting impact on the city. The Nation of Islam, founded in the 1930s, was a key catalyst in introducing Islam to African-Americans and promoting self-empowerment. Under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam emphasized black pride, economic self-sufficiency, and social justice.

In the 1970s, Warith Deen Muhammad led a transition from the Nation of Islam to Orthodox Sunni Islam, aligning the African-American Muslim community with the Arab and South Asian Muslim communities. This shift towards mainstream Islam brought a greater emphasis on theological study, interfaith dialogue, and integration with the broader Muslim community.

The Nation of Islam

“We believe that the black man is the original man, and that he is divine, but he is living under an inferior condition due to white supremacy. Our goal is to awaken the black man to his true identity and empower him to overcome racial inequality.”

Warith Deen Muhammad’s Leadership

“It is through education, dialogue, and embracing our shared humanity that we can build bridges and foster understanding between different communities. Islam teaches us to seek knowledge and strive for justice, values that are essential in creating a harmonious society.”

The African-American Muslim experience continues to evolve, with younger generations embracing their faith while also championing social justice causes. Their contributions to Philadelphia’s Islamic community and the broader American society are a testament to the resilience, strength, and cultural richness of African-American Muslims.

Philadelphia Masjid: A Beacon of Community Development

The Philadelphia Masjid, located on Wyalusing Avenue, stands as a shining example of community development within the African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia. More than just a place of worship, this masjid serves as a catalyst for positive change and upliftment in the surrounding community. Through its diverse range of programs and services, the Philadelphia Masjid has become a hub of empowerment and support.

One of the key initiatives of the Philadelphia Masjid is its commitment to providing affordable housing to community members. Recognizing the need for safe and affordable housing options, the masjid has partnered with local organizations to develop housing projects that address the pressing issue of homelessness and housing insecurity. This initiative not only provides shelter but also helps individuals and families regain stability and rebuild their lives.

In addition to housing, the Philadelphia Masjid also offers a variety of educational programs and vocational training opportunities. These programs are designed to equip community members with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s job market. From GED preparation to job placement assistance, the masjid is dedicated to empowering individuals and fostering economic self-sufficiency.

Programs and Services Impact
Affordable Housing Providing stable housing to those in need
Education Programs Empowering individuals through knowledge and skill development
Vocational Training Equipping community members with job-ready skills

The Philadelphia Masjid also understands the importance of supporting individuals who are reintegrating into society after incarceration. Their comprehensive support services aim to break the cycle of recidivism by providing job training, counseling, and mentorship to those seeking a fresh start. By offering a range of resources and support, the masjid plays a vital role in helping individuals rebuild their lives and become productive members of the community.

The Philadelphia Masjid’s commitment to community development and empowerment sets it apart as a beacon of hope and progress. Through its various programs and services, the masjid continues to make a tangible difference in the lives of community members, fostering resilience, self-reliance, and a sense of belonging. It serves as a testament to the strength and determination of the African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Masjid

The Moorish Science Temple: Pioneers of American Muslim Identity

One of the key contributors to the early American Muslim identity was the Moorish Science Temple, which was established in Philadelphia in the 1920s. Led by Noble Drew Ali, the followers of the Moorish Science Temple rejected derogatory terms like “black” and “negro” and instead embraced a message of black pride and self-sufficiency. This movement had a significant impact on the African-American community, advocating for justice, equality, and self-determination.

“We must have unity and love, unity and love among ourselves before we try to unite in the world. The world is you; you are the world. The world is yours, and we’re all of one family.” – Noble Drew Ali

The teachings of the Moorish Science Temple resonated with many African-Americans at that time, who were seeking a sense of identity and empowerment. This movement challenged societal norms and played a vital role in shaping American Muslim history.

The influence of the Moorish Science Temple on the African-American community, particularly in Philadelphia, cannot be overstated. By promoting self-awareness, self-respect, and cultural pride, the Moorish Science Temple laid the groundwork for future generations of African-American Muslims to navigate their identities and contribute positively to their communities.

The Legacy of the Moorish Science Temple

The legacy of the Moorish Science Temple continues to inspire and guide African-American Muslims today. Its emphasis on unity, love, and self-determination resonates with those striving for social justice and equality. The Temple’s teachings have contributed to the rich tapestry of American Islamic culture, fostering a sense of pride and empowerment within the community.

Despite its influence and significant contributions, the Moorish Science Temple is not widely known outside of the African-American Muslim community. However, its legacy serves as a reminder of the resilience, strength, and positive impact that marginalized communities can have in shaping American history.

Key Contributions of the Moorish Science Temple Impact on American Muslim Identity
Promotion of black pride and self-sufficiency Shaped African-American Muslims’ sense of identity and empowerment
Advocacy for justice, equality, and self-determination Inspired African-American Muslims to navigate their identities and contribute positively to their communities
Contribution to the rich tapestry of American Islamic culture Emphasized unity, love, and self-determination within the community

Masjid Muhammad: Serving the Common People

Masjid Muhammad, located in Germantown, is a beacon of hope and service for the African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia. With a mission to uplift and empower the common people, Masjid Muhammad offers a range of community services that address the diverse needs of its members.

At Masjid Muhammad, education is a top priority. The masjid provides free GED preparation classes, empowering individuals to further their education and improve their prospects. Adult literacy programs are also offered, helping community members gain essential reading and writing skills.

Recognizing the importance of addressing addiction and supporting those in recovery, Masjid Muhammad offers drug addiction treatment programs to individuals seeking assistance. This vital service helps individuals overcome substance abuse and rebuild their lives.

Moreover, Masjid Muhammad is dedicated to supporting people reentering society after incarceration. The masjid provides valuable resources and guidance to individuals who have served their sentences, giving them the tools necessary for a successful transition and integration into their communities.

Community Services Offered at Masjid Muhammad:

Program Description
GED Preparation Free classes to help individuals earn their GED and improve their educational opportunities.
Adult Literacy Programs designed to enhance reading and writing skills for community members.
Drug Addiction Treatment Support and resources for individuals seeking to overcome substance abuse.
Reentry Support Assistance and guidance for individuals reentering society after incarceration.

Masjid Muhammad’s dedication to serving the common people is a testament to the values of compassion and community upliftment rooted in Islamic teachings. Through its programs and services, the masjid plays a crucial role in improving the lives of individuals and families, making a positive impact on the African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia.

Lajna Ima’illah: Empowering Muslim Women

Lajna Ima’illah is a dynamic organization committed to empowering Muslim women and challenging misconceptions about Islam. Through various initiatives and projects, Lajna Ima’illah aims to educate, inspire, and empower women in the Philadelphia Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. One of their impactful projects is the web series titled “Maidservants of Allah: Muslim Women in Perspective.” This series provides a platform for Muslim women to share their stories, experiences, and perspectives, promoting a better understanding of their diverse roles and contributions.

The web series covers a wide range of topics that are relevant to Muslim women in Philadelphia and beyond. From discussions on hijab and modesty to conversations on education, career, and family life, the series offers an insightful glimpse into the lives of Muslim women and challenges stereotypes that often surround them. By highlighting the achievements, aspirations, and struggles of Muslim women, Lajna Ima’illah strives to break down barriers and foster a more inclusive and equitable society.

“Maidservants of Allah: Muslim Women in Perspective” is a powerful and educational web series that provides a platform for Muslim women to share their experiences, challenge stereotypes, and showcase their resilience. It is a testament to the strength, talent, and diversity of Muslim women in Philadelphia and serves as a source of inspiration for women of all backgrounds.”

The Impact of Lajna Ima’illah

Through their efforts, Lajna Ima’illah has made a significant impact in empowering Muslim women and promoting understanding and acceptance in the wider community. By providing a platform for Muslim women to share their stories and perspectives, Lajna Ima’illah challenges stereotypes and fosters dialogue, ultimately breaking down barriers and building bridges between communities.

Furthermore, Lajna Ima’illah actively engages in community service projects, extending their reach beyond their membership. They participate in various initiatives, such as food drives, clothing donations, and educational programs, to serve and uplift the community. The organization’s commitment to empowerment, education, and community engagement has made Lajna Ima’illah a driving force for positive change in both the Muslim community and the wider Philadelphia society.

Lajna Ima’illah’s dedication to empowering Muslim women and promoting a more inclusive society is an inspiration to all. Through their various projects and initiatives, they continue to make a real and lasting difference in Philadelphia and beyond.

African-American Muslim Artists and the Influence of Islamic Culture in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s Islamic community has made a significant impact on the city’s music and fashion scene, with African-American Muslim artists playing a prominent role. These artists have not only showcased their talent but also incorporated Islamic cultural influences into their work, resulting in a unique and vibrant fusion of art and faith.

Renowned jazz musicians such as McCoy Tyner and Pharoah Saunders, both African-American Muslims, have drawn inspiration from their Islamic heritage, infusing their music with soulful melodies and rhythms that resonate with Islamic cultural influences. Their compositions reflect the spiritual depth and devotion found in Islamic traditions, creating a distinctive sound that captivates audiences.

“In my music, I try to reflect the beauty and peace that Islam has brought into my life. It’s a way for me to express my faith and the values that Islam represents,” says McCoy Tyner, Grammy-winning pianist and composer.

Beyond music, the African-American Muslim community in Philadelphia has also had a significant impact on fashion trends. The iconic “Philly beard,” a full beard style popularized by Muslim men in the city, has become a distinctive fashion statement. This trend signifies both masculine pride and adherence to Islamic grooming traditions, blending cultural identity and religious expression.

Rappers like Freeway and Tone Trump are prominent examples of African-American Muslim artists who proudly embrace their faith and use their platform to promote positive messages and community engagement. Their music reflects a fusion of Islamic values, African-American identity, and social consciousness, inspiring listeners and challenging stereotypes.

Artists Genre Influence
McCoy Tyner Jazz Incorporates Islamic cultural influences into his compositions
Pharoah Saunders Jazz Blends Islamic spiritual depth with soulful melodies
Freeway Hip-Hop Uses his music to promote positive messages and community engagement
Tone Trump Hip-Hop Challenges stereotypes and embraces his African-American Muslim identity

These artists serve as inspiring examples of how Islamic culture can shape and enrich artistic expression, fostering pride, unity, and positive change within Philadelphia’s African-American Muslim community.

African-American Muslim artists

The Legacy of Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Tamil-speaking Sufi mystic from Sri Lanka, left an indelible mark on Philadelphia’s Islamic community. In 1973, he established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship in the city, attracting followers from diverse backgrounds who sought spiritual guidance and enlightenment. Bawa’s teachings, discourses, songs, and artwork continue to inspire and guide his followers, offering profound insights into the Sufi tradition and the path to spiritual growth and realization.

The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship has created a dedicated space for spiritual seekers to connect, learn, and engage in meaningful dialogue. Through regular gatherings, retreats, and study circles, the fellowship fosters a community of individuals committed to deepening their understanding of Sufism and applying its principles in their daily lives. Bawa’s emphasis on the importance of love, compassion, and unity resonates strongly with his followers, who strive to embody these qualities in their interactions with others.

“The true teachings of all the prophets are the same: to teach humanity to love, to unite, and to live together in peace and harmony.”

The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship: A Center for Spiritual Exploration

The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship center in Philadelphia serves as a hub for spiritual exploration and growth. Its serene atmosphere, adorned with beautiful artwork and quotations from Bawa’s teachings, provides a space for reflection, meditation, and contemplation. Visitors to the fellowship center can immerse themselves in the rich spiritual heritage of Sufism and engage in various activities that promote self-discovery and inner transformation.

Programs and Activities Description
Sufi Study Circles A weekly gathering where participants delve into the teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, engage in thoughtful discussions, and seek answers to spiritual inquiries.
Spiritual Retreats Intensive retreats led by experienced mentors that offer a deeper exploration of Sufi principles and practices, providing an opportunity for participants to connect with their inner selves.
Meditation Sessions Regular meditation sessions conducted in the fellowship’s peaceful environment, allowing individuals to cultivate mindfulness, inner stillness, and a deep sense of tranquility.

The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship continues to be a source of inspiration and guidance for those seeking spiritual fulfillment. With its commitment to fostering love, unity, and compassion, the fellowship carries forward Bawa’s profound teachings and serves as a beacon of light in Philadelphia’s Islamic community.


Philadelphia’s masjids and Islamic community are the heart and soul of the city’s rich Islamic culture. From the historic Moorish Science Temple to the bustling Philadelphia Masjid, these sacred places of worship not only offer spiritual solace but also serve as centers for community development and empowerment.

The Islamic community in Philadelphia has a deep-rooted history and a vibrant present. Through their commitment to social justice, education, and support services, Philadelphia’s masjids have become catalysts for positive change, uplifting not just the Muslim community but the entire city.

It is through the tireless efforts of dedicated individuals and organizations that the Islamic culture of Philadelphia is preserved and celebrated. From promoting black pride and self-determination to empowering Muslim women and challenging stereotypes, the Islamic community is a testament to the diversity and strength of the Muslim community in the United States.

Philadelphia truly stands out as a hub of Islamic culture, where tradition, faith, and community converge to create a vibrant and thriving environment. As we reflect on the rich history and promising future of Philadelphia’s Islamic community, we recognize the invaluable contributions they have made and continue to make to the fabric of the city.


What is the significance of Philadelphia’s Islamic community?

Philadelphia’s Islamic community has a rich history and culture that is often overlooked. It has played a significant role in shaping the city’s African-American Muslim experience and has made important contributions to social justice, self-reliance, and cultural development.

What is the Philadelphia Masjid known for?

The Philadelphia Masjid is not only a place of worship but also a hub of community development. It offers programs and services such as affordable housing, education programs, vocational training, and support for returning citizens, serving as a model for positive change in the community.

What is the Moorish Science Temple?

The Moorish Science Temple, established in Philadelphia in the 1920s, rejected derogatory terms and embraced black pride and self-sufficiency. It made significant contributions to the African-American community, advocating for justice, equality, and self-determination.

How does Masjid Muhammad serve the community?

Masjid Muhammad provides free or low-cost programs and services such as GED preparation, adult literacy programs, drug addiction treatment, and support for people reentering society after incarceration, focusing on serving the common people and transforming lives.

What is the role of Lajna Ima’illah in Philadelphia’s Islamic community?

Lajna Ima’illah, the women’s wing of the Philadelphia Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, empowers Muslim women and challenges misconceptions about Islam. Through their web series “Maidservants of Allah: Muslim Women in Perspective,” they educate and remove stereotypes surrounding Muslim women.

How has Philadelphia’s Islamic community influenced music and fashion?

Renowned African-American Muslim jazz musicians, such as McCoy Tyner and Pharoah Saunders, have infused their music with Islamic cultural influences. Additionally, the “Philly beard,” popularized by Muslim men, has become a distinctive fashion trend in the city.

Who is Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen?

Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was a Tamil-speaking Sufi mystic from Sri Lanka who had a profound impact on Philadelphia’s Islamic community. He established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, attracting followers from diverse backgrounds, and his teachings continue to inspire and guide his followers today.

What is the overall significance of Philadelphia’s masjids and Islamic community?

Philadelphia’s masjids and Islamic community not only preserve and celebrate Islamic culture but also contribute to community development, social services, and the overall well-being of the city. They serve as a testament to the diverse and thriving Muslim community in the United States.

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