A $2.5 million funeral facility that will service Muslims in the North Virginian cities of Alexandria, Annandale, Springfield, Woodbridge and Fairfax, is planned by the Mustafa Center, the masjid built by the Afghan community in Annandale — a place where families can wash, shroud and grieve for their loved ones in an Islamic manner.
Sitting on a acre, across the street from the Mustafa Center (MC), the 5400 sq ft facility called Mustafa Funeral Chapel will have separate ghusl rooms for men and women, comfortable visitation lounges, offices, a waiting hall, conference room, prayer hall, a spacious parking lot and other facilities.
“More than 300,000 Muslims live in the Northern VA/DC area. However, a well-equipped chapel that is fully compliant with Islamic traditions does not exist to serve all the personal and spiritual needs of grieving Muslim families faced with the passing of a loved one,” stated Zohra Sirat. She serves on the Outreach Committee at Mustafa Center.
Land was purchased in 2012 for $600,000 by MC and since then the center has jumped through several county hoops to get the necessary permits to build the facility. Since it was located on a residential parcel, MC needed to get special exception approval through several public hearings. Hundred attended the hearings and expressed the need for a funeral home of this calibre. In January 2015, they received the permission for a funeral facility on the parcel.
The state of the art project is called a “funeral chapel” instead of “funeral home” because the latter requires a certified director on the site for cremation. Since Muslims do not need cremation services they do not need the services of a funeral director, explained Sirat.
The plan is to hire counselors to help with the grieving process. The chapel will provide assistance in obtaining death certificates and other pertinent services such as obituaries, funeral prayer, memorial services. Depending on client's’ wishes, the chapel will coordinate with cemeteries for gravesite arrangements which is priced separately. Modern cooling facilities which can accommodate ten janazahs at a time. Janazah services will take place three times a day. The chapel is a non profit and not a business —meaning no high fees. “We lost my cousin and it cost $25,000 burial process; for the time they took him from the limo to the hospital and kept the body for two days,” Sirat said. The funeral chapel plans to host fundraisers for those who cannot afford a burial.
Imagine waiting for a loved one to arrive, or a place to make quiet prayers and recite Quran. “Make Space, Dar Ul Huda, and Al Madina will also be serviced through the center,” says Sirat.
To date, Mustafa Center raised $750,000 with the help of the community which was used to purchase the land and pay for technical design, site development and Fairfax County fees. They are working with VDot. “They brought gold and jewelry,” shared Sirat, linking this to the great need for this project. “We will start construction as soon as we have funds available.”
Sirat says their neighbor, the Immanuel Bible Church supported them from the beginning, with a caveat that the site plan is similar to the church. Contractors in the Muslim community are urged to shared their expertise, said Sohila Shakil, who is an engineer and project manager for the Mustafa Center,
The funeral chapel will have links to Begh e Firdaus, the Afghan Academy cemetery, and Stafford Cemetery. Mustafa Funeral Chapel plans to hire morticians and volunteers will be needed to help with ghusl and janazah services.
The big fundraiser for the funeral chapel is slated for April 23, 2017 at Dunya Restaurant. This is the first fundraiser MC is having outside the masjid. “We are trying to bring community together and they are part of the Mustafa Center community,” shared Sirat.
“As we all wish to live a dignified life in this world, let’s prepare for a dignified death in our final journey toward our Lord, Allah The Almighty,” reads a statement on the Mustafa Funeral Chapel website. For more information please visit https://www.mustafa.center/
The funeral chapel will be located across from the Mustafa Center at 6839 Braddock Rd., Annandale, VA. All donations are tax-deductible.