MIIM Designs' Founder and Principal Architect Maryam Eskandari was featured in Harvard University's "islawmix" magazine on the "history, representation and role" of the mosque in the nascent Muslim community and today. The mosque historically has served as a social, spiritual, educational and even economic center for Muslims. MIIM elaborated on the commercial role of the mosque as a contributor to the economic growth of the Muslim community:
"According to Maryam Eskandari, an American architect focusing on creating inclusive Islamic architecture who recently sat down with islawmix and will be featured in the upcoming parts of this series, the relationship between the mosques and surrounding businesses was extremely mutual and contributed to the economic growth of the community as well as the sustenance of the mosques: since mosques were a central communal space, it made sense for merchants to establish themselves there, attracting any and all congregants. The merchants, in turn, would donate portions of their earnings to the mosque for its care and growth. Indeed, we find that the Ka’aba, the holiest site in Islam to where Muslims are obliged to perform pilgrimage at least once in their lifetimes if they are able to, itself was a commercial center both before and after the establishment of Islam"
"While the state of the mosque in its communities evolved throughout the centuries, its position in the heart of the Muslim community in which it was built remained strong as did its function as a space for worship, social interaction, education, justice and commercialism. The mosque was never just walls, brick and calligraphy thrown together for ritual prayer. Instead it was a place of almost functional worship in which the very existence and cultivation of the mutual and altruistic relationships within the community were acts of devotion to God. Today, its role differs greatly from not only society to society – but neighborhood to neighborhood as a result of several factors. This fluctuation has been nowhere more apparent than in the United States."
Read more here.