In the basement of the Bay Shore mosque, beneath the spacious green-carpeted prayer hall and next to the multipurpose room filled with Ping-Pong tables, is a small room with a wide doorway. It has two sinks and a row of cupboards.
It also has two metal tables, each about the size of a human body. In the corner sits a giant refrigerator with four square doors, each opening to reveal a long, sliding tray.
The room is a tiny morgue.
That might seem out of place in the Masjid Darul Quran, a serene, white mosque tucked into a residential neighborhood in Bay Shore. But for Dr. Hafizur Rehman, the little room is a dream come true, one that brings the rituals for the dead out of the funeral home and into the mosque.
“Our own people would rather pray and attend to the deceased and the deceased’s family in the mosque,” said Rehman, a pediatrician and president of Masjid Darul Quran.
The mosque’s washing station – the first of its kind on Long Island – is an important first step toward giving Muslims control of the rituals of death and dying in their communities. But they have their sights set on something more ambitious: an entirely Muslim cemetery on Long Island.