The Muslim West
Mosques: A Place for Prayer
The prayer room
Mosques are not temples or 'houses of God', and no liturgical acts are performed in them. They are a place for prayer and meditation, and a meeting place. Believers come to the mosque to perform their ritual, mandatory prayers with others, although private prayer is also practised. Believers face the qibla when praying, bowing when necessary and reciting verses from the Qur'an.
Mosques are also centres for training and learning. In the weekly sermon given during Friday prayers, the imam discusses a specific religious theme recited from the minbar (pulpit) and, outside prayer times, the learned can give conferences on theological or scientific topics.
Almohad Mosque of the Kasbah

Hegira 633 / AD 1235
Tunis, Tunisia
Despite its simplicity, the prayer room offers some degree of comfort, furnished with esparto mats, rugs and lamps, which faintly illuminate the room. The prayer-room furniture typically includes two important components: the minbar from which the imam delivers Friday prayers, and the case in which the Qur'an is kept.