Dar Al-Hijrah was established in 1983 by a group of Arab university students who wanted to form an alternative community to the Washington DC Islamic Center
. That year, the group purchased a plot of land in Falls Church to construct a mosque for their community. For nearly 8 years, an already-existing house on the property served as the masjid while the new facility was built. This house remains on the grounds of the Center today.
A local Greek-American architect named Brown Marazzi was hired to prepare the design of the masjid. The community felt that the presented design had functional drawbacks and did not apporpriately express the cultural heritage of Islam, however construction went ahead. A local builder, Muhammad Hadid, was hired as the general contractor. Construction began in 1986, and was halted shortly after the foundations were poured so the project could be reassessed. The firm of Balodemas Architects Chartered was hired to revise the plans and address the lingering concerns about the design.
Numerous changes were made to the design, including: changing the proposed facade from red brick to white marble; covering the main courtyard; changing roofs to flat surfaces from gables; and designing windows and doors in arched forms. Construction was completed in 1991 and the masjid opened on March 2.
The building is two stories, with the interior spaces clustered around an enclosed courtyard. Separate men's and women's entrances lead to the main floor, which has the prayer hall, auditorium/covered courtyard, classroom and lecture space, a library, kitchen and cafeteria, ablution areas, and office space. Ladies' prayer space and additional classrooms are found on the second floor, and a gymnasium/multipurpose room is located on the lower level.
One low dome sits over the prayer hall, and a cluster of five are over the auditorium. A freestanding 13.7 m. high minaret is located at the western corner of the building.
Serageldin, Ismail, and James Steele. Architecture of the contemporary mosque, 161-163. London: Academy Editions, 1996.