Central Mosque is the second purpose built mosque in the United Kingdom. After initially raising money to lay the foundations of the mosque, funds had run dry. There was the possibility that the city council would sell the land off to another buyer if the mosque was not completed within two years. Thus the mosque trustees went to local communities for donations, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Soon enough, sufficient money was raised to pay for the building and completion of the mosque in 1969. The mosque was then officially opened in 1975 as the largest mosque in Western Europe.
Since the mosque’s erection, it has become a focal point for the Muslim community. Over the years, Muslims have used the mosque for events, meetings, lectures, studies and community and educational purposes. Many of the original founders of the mosque committee still make up the mosque management or are trustees of the mosque but as time has passed, many new innovations have been made as to how the mosque is democratically run using Islamic teachings as the basis for equal representation of all members of the community. Thus, regular meetings, annual selection and equal opportunities have meant that the running of Birmingham Central Mosque has been as efficient as possible over the decades.
The mosque itself has got two floors. On the first floor there is a large Main Hall for prayers which can easily accommodate around 3000 worshippers at any one time.
In addition there is a Ladies’ Gallery to accommodate about 400 women. New contracts have recently been given to extend the ladies gallery as well as provide extra separate accommodation for visitors to the mosque who drop in to learn about Islam and Muslims.
The ground floor is divided into two areas providing office accommodation, a community hall (Day Centre), an extensive Islamic library, educational classrooms and a large School Hall area which is used for prayers, assemblies and other activities. On special days like Eid, when demand is high, both the Main Prayer Hall and the School Hall are used for prayers providing accommodation for 5000 people.
On Eid day, there are five prayer services during which between 15,000 to 20,000 worshippers visit the mosque for the special services, and on Fridays the gathering is 4,000 plus. This is excluding the frequent attendance of international visiting groups and mainstream media personnel.