There is a prayer room (Musalla) for use by the MIT-MSA community in the Institute's Religious Activity Center (W11). The address for the building is:
40 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
You are welcome to go inside the Musallah whenever you please. Note that Religious Activity Center is locked for a short time during the night (1am to 4am) and is only accessible with a student ID. Aside from prayers, other events such as Qur'an reading and halaqas may also be held in the room. Musalla also hosts a large collection of religious books from variety of languages which you are welcome to come an read.
In addition to Musalla, there are other rooms on campus dedicated as prayer rooms or meditation spaces. They are located in Sloan area: E52-112 is a dedicated Muslim prayer room, and E51-050 and E52-212 are dedicated non-denominational prayer and meditation spaces. You should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get access to these rooms (please be specific about which rooms you want access to, and include your nine digit MIT ID number). Please refer to map below for locations of prayer rooms.
Jumu'ah (Friday) prayers are held every Friday — during the academic year and the summer, during standard time and daylight-saving time — at 1:15pm. Please plan your schedules accordingly. The khutbah begins at 1:15, and the prayers usually begin at 1:35pm. The entire prayer should be finished by 1:50pm. During the winter months, attendees are invited to stay a few extra minutes to pray 'asr. Space becomes limited due to the large amount of brothers and sisters who attend from MIT and the local community, so it is highly advised that you arrive on-time. This is an excellent time to meet fellow MIT-MSA members. Also, there are charity collections after every jumu'ah prayer.
Many Muslims follow zabiha / halal eating regulations, which call for meat to be prepared in a particular manner (similar to kosher). Check out the dining plans, which are required of those who live in dorms with dining halls, and voluntary for all others. These dining plans offer halal options almost every meal (you may have to request "halal meat" to the chef). As a result, many members of the MSA eat together many times a week.
Cafe Spice and Shawarma Shack located in Student Center offers halal Indian and Middle-Eastern cuisines. There are also two food trucks around campus -- "Couscous Kitchen" (near 77 Mass. Ave) and "The Jerusalem Cafe" (temporarily located between the T and MIT Medical) -- that offer zabiha options.
Many students — undergraduate and graduate — cook their own food (or bring food from their parents!). The largest nearby grocery store is Star Market, located right next to the Le Meredian Cambridge.
More information about Muslim food options in the Boston area can be found at zabihah.com.
Housing at MIT is done through the Housing Office. Picking where to live is an important choice, as your dormmates will often become some of your closest friends throughout your time at MIT. Each dorm has a unique personality and flavor, but don't forget that each also has a different housing arrangement. Below are some tips for helping you choose the right dorm for you.
As a freshman, deciding where to live can be a daunting task, especially because there are numerous options available. Needless to say, your home at MIT plays a major role in your college experience. That is why you need to choose an environment in which you not only feel comfortable, but one which also caters to your needs as a Muslim woman. Currently, many of the undergraduate Muslim women who live on campus reside in McCormick, the only all-female dormitory on campus. Advantages to living in McCormick include its location (right across from the Student Center and just a five-minute walk to the Infinite Corridor), its condition (clean; relatively quiet), and its convenient facilities (kitchens on each floor, as well as a laundry room, an exercise room, and multiple living rooms).
In McCormick, as with many of the dormitories on campus, freshmen usually live in doubles or triples; a lucky few might get singles. Having a roommate can often be a rewarding experience, and one to which you will quickly adapt. In general, the few dormitories on campus that offer singles to freshmen (like MacGregor) are coed (although it is possible to live in an all-girls suite in MacGregor), which often, but not always, means coed bathrooms.
If you do apply to live in McCormick, you will be given your room assignment and the names of your roommate(s) before you arrive on campus. However, you are still allowed to choose your roommates. Insha'Allah, during the summer, the MIT-MSA will try to organize a list of incoming Muslim freshmen and their contact information. This will give you the opportunity to get in touch with other Muslim sisters; this can possibly give you the option of picking them as roommates as well.
If the idea of living in McCormick doesn't suit you, but you are interested in living and sharing facilities only with other girls, MacGregor Hall might be another option. MacGregor is arranged into suites of six to eight singles; each suite with its own kitchen and bathroom. However, we highly recommend living in McCormick because it is much closer to campus and has a larger community of sisters.
Housing for male Muslims is, in a way, a tougher issue than it is for females because there is no completely all-male dorm. All dorms on campus, except for MacGregor, have singles and doubles. Some also have triples and quads. Since your chances of getting a single during your first year is low, except in MacGregor, you will most likely have to room with another person. For many reasons, we have found that you may want to consider finding a Muslim roommate. We in the MITMSA hope that we have made it easy, inshAllah, for you to find a Muslim roommate beforehand.
Just contact us and let us know that you would like to get contact information of other Muslim freshmen concerned about the same issues. You can then write to each other and perhaps even plan to room together before you arrive on campus.
The other concern about living space that you may have as an incoming freshman may be the coed living environment prevalent throughout the housing system. In most dorms this also means coed bathrooms. Some dorms have all male suites or private bathrooms. Specifically, MacGregor and Burton-Conner have a few all male suites and New House has somewhat more private bathrooms with doors that lock even though the suite is coed. Maseeh Hall also has a large male Muslim population due to having male-only bathrooms and its proximity to the Musallah.
Some graduate students live on the graduate dorms on campus, while many others live off-campus. Check out the off-campus housing options below.
For first-year graduate students, we recommend living on-campus at least your first year, until you become familiar with the area, and are settled. However, there are several reasons people live off-campus too, from having a bad housing lottery number, to wanting to live with someone in particular. Note, though, that the housing prices in Boston are very high, and living alone is very expensive.
For many reasons, we have found that you may want to consider finding a Muslim roommate. If you are interested, please add your contact info to the housing form on contact page.
If you have any questions about academics, safety, transportation, or anything else at MIT, feel free to talk to an MSA member, in person or through our contact form. We would love to talk to you!