As the Harrogate Islamic Association, we are the hub of Muslim community for Harrogate and district. Between festive events, charitable pursuits, seeking knowledge and congregational worship, we provide our town and surrounding district with a base for living in the way of Allah (SWT).
Harrogate Islamic Association’s community includes individuals from the Middle East to America, Africa to Southeast Asia, West Indies to those born right here in Yorkshire. The rich diversity within out network is a great attribute (particularly when there’s food involved) and means that nobody is ever a stranger.
Whilst offering an essential network for our local brothers and sisters in Islam, anyone from the community is welcome. Whether they want to know more about Islam, have in interest in charitable causes or are just invested in Harrogate life, we always welcome new friends and supporters.
Harrogate Islamic Association is just young, being founded in 2011. The vision was of a Mosque that would offer guidance and support to both Muslims and the wider community in the Harrogate and district area.
A town nestled in North Yorkshire and famed for its spa history, Harrogate is a wonderful place to live, home to over 160,000 people. The Muslim population make up only 0.4% of this with approximately 300 individuals. It is perhaps not a surprise that Harrogate doesn’t have a Mosque given this small percentage. The nearby cities of Leeds and Bradford have many options, however they are more than 10 miles away and difficult to get to without a car or in the middle of the day on a regular basis.
But Allah tells us through Qur’an, “O believers! When the call to prayer is made on Friday, then proceed ˹diligently˺ to the remembrance of Allah and leave off ˹your˺ business…” (62:9). So, in 2009 a small group of brothers and sisters came together to organise Jumu’ah Salah (Friday prayers) at the local hospital.
Whilst this was an immense help to those working there Alhamdulillah, we quickly outgrew the hospital space with attendance of over 40 brothers on a Friday. As the numbers grew, so did the sense of community and desire to meet together; after a little reorganisation we registered our association in 2015. To accommodate the growing congregation, we rented a larger hall at St Roberts Centre then later the Friends Meeting House and Knaresborough Prayer Room.
Harrogate Islamic Association continues to use these rented spaces in Harrogate and Knaresborough for prayer. Jumu’ah is hosted at the Friends Meeting House every week and evening prayers in Jammat (congregation). During the Holy month of Ramadan this is extended to Tarawih Prayers in the evening and community iftar so we can break our fasts together.
Family events are central to our community, with Ramadan and Eid at the forefront. These times are something we all look forward to and they help our children to foster a love of their religion. Living in a community that is primarily non-Muslim, it’s important to mark these dates in the Islamic calendar. Between games, activities, and food from everyone’s cultures, we are able to make this a really special time.
As Muslims, studying our faith is of the utmost importance. Allah tells us: “and pray, ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.’” (20:114). As a community we try to help our children with this by offering Islamic classes year-round. More than 40 students meet at Harrogate High School to study Qur’an, learn about the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and have fun with their friends.
The sisters also have the opportunity to learn by attending the Qur’an Circle that Harrogate Islamic Association has run for the last few years. Between the kindness of one sister volunteering her house and the generosity of various teachers, we have maintained a group that fosters a love of Qur’an and offers help in perfecting tajweed.
Our brothers get together too, often enjoying sport and exercise sessions. Harrogate Islamic Association also offers services of confidential counselling and support.
For each of these things we have found local facilities Alhamdulillah. As our community grows, we hope to create a place that everyone can use whenever they need Insha-Allah. This is why we continue to work towards our initial vision of creating a Mosque.
Harrogate Islamic Association are now the owners of 4 Belford Road, a building right in the centre of our town. Since purchasing it in March 2022 we have repaired the roof, sealed the building, and received approval from the local council to go ahead with our plans.
Our next steps will be to clear the site for structural works across two floors, including the installation of heating and electrics. We then need to fit windows and doors, fittings and appliances, bathrooms, and flooring.
Eventually we will have a finished Mosque Insha-Allah. There will be prayer areas for both brothers and sisters to pray their salah in congregation. Brand new facilities for toilets and ablutions will be ready to use. A fully functioning kitchen will be fitted for when we need to cater our community events. Spaces will be available for us to gather in classes and circles and as a base to fundraise for causes that we support.
This will be a place where you can attend Salah in Jamaat. A place can where you can find help with your recitation or understanding of the Qur’an. Somewhere you can go to learn more about Islam whether you are Muslim or not. Our community will have everything it needs under one roof; a hub for the Muslims of Harrogate and a place where everyone is welcome.