There was a time when the Islamic Center of Greater Miami could not fully accommodate the growing Muslim community.
Worshipers would overflow outside of the mosque at 4305 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens — the second oldest mosque in South Florida — trying to hear the sermon.
Now, with $1.9 million in renovations, the center, established in the 1980s, can handle more than 800 people.
The new upgrades to the Islamic center will make the fasting and long prayer hours more comfortable during the month of worship.
“This was long overdue,” said Mohammad Shakir, who brought his 6-year-old granddaughter to the mosque. “It’s time to rejoice.”
Starting June 28, Shakir, 63, and his family will observe Ramadan in the newly remodeled mosque.
The center, which sits on 4.23 acres, was not renovated solely to add capacity. The mosque received several aesthetic enhancements.
A copper toned dome now sits atop the once simple facility. Inside, observers will find a plush maroon and gold $25,000 carpet imported from Jordan and cushions on the floor for daily prayer. On the second floor, women have a separate prayer room furnished with televisions and windows to see the imam below.
For passersby, the imperial building is an unlikely sight on a street lined with one-story homes and a shopping plaza.
The Muslim community is growing and here to stay, said Syed Faisal, board member of Muslim Communities Association of South Florida. He estimates the South Florida Muslim population to be around 150,000.
“We believe it’s a landmark for the city of Miami Gardens,” he said.
The Muslim community donated the funds used to renovate the mosque.
Without their support, the changes like the dome would not have been possible, said Sid Khan, the mosque’s chief engineer.
“It almost did not get constructed,” Khan said. “There was a shortage in money, but a donor came through.”
The new design, Khan, said more so resembles the Islamic architecture and mosques of his home country of Pakistan.
At night, the mosque is a sight to see, said Shabbir Motorwala, a Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations member.
LED lights beam onto the building lighting up the dome.
“It looks fantastic,” he said. “You can see it from far away.”