Day 13 – Outside & Inside – Towfiq Islamic Centre – 7 Oak Street – York – Toronto

Towfiq Islamic Centre at 7 Oak Street… in Toronto?

This masjid is located in the Old Town of Weston, which is located inside the former City of York, that was then amalgamated into the new “Mega City” of Toronto in 1998, which ultimately was re-divided into four districts, where the former City of York and the former City of Etobicoke now make up the Western District in Toronto officially designated Etobicoke-York.

Locals still call it York.

7 Oak Street is in York.

Sometime during the few hours between Witr and Fajr on Night 8 of Ramadan 2023, two individuals were seen leaving the front area of the Towfiq Islamic Centre.

They forgot some of their spray paint.

It was left outside, in the form of hateful messages, upon the front wall of the Masjid.

More than the ugliness, there was an urgency in painting over the wording of one of the two messages, as it made false claim against The Creator.

As a House of Worship, that was unacceptable.

Urgency meant readily available white paint was used to cover over the hateful messages.

Initial coats of white paint were quickly done on Thursday, Day 8 of Ramadan.

It’s since been painted over again using a colour to closer match the outside wall’s previous colour.

Yet still not close enough.

The unmistakable colour mismatch reminds arriving worshippers and passers-by who have already seen the hateful messages that, oh that’s right, there were hateful messages spray painted here earlier.


Let’s go inside, Bismillah

Tall wall of shoe shelves, bulletin board posted with Ramadan related and Masjid information flyers, plus two undoored entrances into Towfiq’s Main Prayer Hall welcomes the regulars, as well as this visitor on Day 13 of Ramadan 2023.

I step into the prayer hall through the left side doorless entrance.

Lime and blue and green squares of tarp are spread, more or less evenly spaced apart, throughout the carpeted prayer hall.

Paper plates with random numbers of sticky dates, sticky because of they’re dipped in honey, but I won’t be able to confirm it’s honey until after Sunset… haha.

Haven’t had Sticky Dates to break fast inside a masjid since…

Wait, was it Day 1 of Ramadan . . . 2017 ?

At MAC Islamic Centre ?

In Vancouver ?

Plastic water bottles suggest Iftar seating of between 8 to 12 per tarp.

Having yet to pray Asr, my late afternoon prayer, time is short until Sunset.

So that’s my priority having entered the prayer hall.


And before Asr, Wudu, the pre-prayer ablution, the physical washing to become ready for prayer is my priority before the priority.

I briefly look around the two defined areas of the prayer hall but do not spot any signage pointing towards a place for wudu.

Beside the elders sitting at the table, much Iftar related activity is taking place.

A number of Somali women and men are hurrying about in a small kitchen area with meal preparations.

A tall slender younger brother is helping.

Approaching him, I ask where can I do wudu?

Because of the bustle in the kitchen, he mishears me and asks if I want him to show me how to do wudu?

I almost have to laugh, no no, I assure him, I’m Muslim and already know how to do wudu, I’m only asking where?

Ah, okay.

The young brother, Casey, leads me past the kitchen, down the stairs, points out the brothers’ washrooms and then two standard wudu spots: tiled single benches opposite water faucets.

After praying Asr by myself in a mostly empty front row,

I turn around and find young Brother Casey at the foot of an elder sitting atop a chair in quiet conversation with a third brother.

I show them my 30 Masjids photo card, and simply say I’m visiting 30 Masjids in 30 Days of Ramadan, and because of what happened on Thursday, I decided their masjid would be my stop for Day 13.

I’d like to formally speak to leaders of the masjid to learn about the congregation from them.

The elder looks over my card and smiles in a friendly way.

Casey tells me the person I should talk with is arriving shortly, and he’ll ask when he gets here.

I tell Casey there’s no rush, a few minutes after Iftar and Maghrib and before Isha starts is likely the best time.

I leave the 30 Masjids photo card with Casey.


I choose an Iftar Spot in the corner of the most centrally located Iftar Tarp.

Hmmm, can we call them Iftarps™ ?

Park my butt in front of the water bottle and plate of sticky dates, then patiently await Adhan Al Maghrib.

Iftar gatherings inside Masjids often do something extra in the minutes before the Call to Prayer after Sunset and time to break the fast.


From beside the Mimbar, we hear some reminders spoken in the Somali Lanugage.

As the Khateeb began speaking, the din echoing from everyone’s pleasant sounding pre-Iftar chatting, dies down, and most everyone is now listening or being attentive.

I can recognize a few Islamic words, because they are Arabic, and a brief closing dua.





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