Masjid Inauguration Completes Major Phase of Expansion
After eighteen months of construction, a well-lit extensive lobby with a slick beige floor and a formal reception table welcomes visitors. Make a left and a hallway takes you to the men’s entrance. Two dark wood doors patterned in classic Islamic geometric design open up the women’s entrance to the new masjid. After 30 years, the ADAMS main center in Sterling, Va. has a dedicated permanent masjid and a lovely space it is.
A floral fern green musallah rug, a contemporary minbar with classic geometric pattern detailing over a modified pointed Moorish arch merge the center’s Islamic and American identities. The aesthetic is very American Muslim. Three shallow dividers separate the men from the women. A viewing glass gallery for guests frames one side of the second floor. Another open gallery running the width of the masjid leads to offices on the second floor.
For the ADAMS community, the weekend of May 5th marks more than a masjid inauguration. It marked over 30 years of ADAMS ‘striving to grow, flourish and become a 'model masjid' as envisioned by founding member, Dr Jamal Barzinji.
Dr Yaqub Mirza and his family are recognized for their contributions to the masjid. “After 9/11, the challenge was great,” he reminisces, as he expressed gratitude for the completion of the masjid, as the huffaz of the community sit and watch.
“30 years ago, we prayed Jummah between the shelves of the library,” expresses Sanober Yacoob, board member, Principal of the Preschool at ADAMS, and a founding member of the ADAMS community. She recalled how children of the community, now professionals in their 30s and 40s, sold Eid cards, wore placards and held bake sales to raise money for the masjid. “I think that day, Allah accepted our niyyah,” she says, her voice cracking with emotions and her cheeks wet with tears. As she walks back into the women’s area, she is greeted with hugs and warm wishes from young and old.
“It was an amazing journey,” said Rizwan Jaka, the Chairman of the Board, who was reelected on May 21, 2017. “Freedom is not free, it takes time, money and effort,” he says.
Booths showcased every service and program offered from scouts, to social services, the Qurtaba Institute to Radiant Hearts Academy.
Seven-year-old Ayesha was feeling very happy at the crafts table. “Everything in the masjid is so much fun right now and I like the new doors,” she says, gluing glitter on her card.
“I’m shook,” says Nabiha, a senior graduating high school who grew up in the community but hasn’t been to the masjid in a while. “It doesn’t feel like ADAMS!” quips her friend Naila, taking in the changes.
The original building fused into the new structure now houses a youth lounge, game room and a private sisters workout area. Staff is emptying the space as new offices and boardroom were built for them in Phase 3.
Social Services Director, Suheir Kafri, informs community members of the variety of services offered by her department: a food pantry, ESL classes, a wellness center which does mental and physical health seminars and find links to providers.
Adhan rings out as worshipers gather for the first of three Friday prayers. The center was expecting large crowds, like Afrah who drove 40 minutes for the inauguration. Executive Director and former Chairman Wael Alkhairo is the first khateeb.
The multipurpose hall is used as overflow space for both men and women during prayer times. Hifdh student, Amin, gives the masjid project a 7 out of 10. “The design is good, but the size is not good,” he says. Kids tend to say what is in their hearts —hashtag real talk. He thinks the space is too small for the large number for congregants.
The weekend celebration includes the ADAMS imams, Imam Mohamed Hag Magid and Sheikh Abdur Rafa, going 5 on 5 on the basketball court in a "Once in a Lifetime" game of basketball.
On Sunday, May 7, 2017, elected official and public officials, including members of Congress, the General Assembly and the Board of Supervisors were invited for a separate ribbon cutting ceremony.
“The ADAMS Center is not in Loudoun County. It is of Loudoun County,” says Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randal.
ADAMS hired a professional audio-visual tech company to set up a state of the art system. A camera is positioned in the roof of the new masjid to capture Friday khutbahs and other presentations so they can be live streamed on the ADAMS campus as well as online. Wali Ashparie of AVIT Service, walks around with an iPad. He is designed a system keeping in mind the unique needs of the masjid, making it easy to use for a changing pool of volunteers. Asma Saqib, the education administrator of ADAMS, says that that the center can now hold bigger and better programming with the new technology.
Over the weekend, ADAMS raised over $260,000. “We still need over $480,000 to cover the remaining costs of the Phase III construction,” writes Imam Magid, in an appeal to the community.
In a thank you letter to his community, he writes, “Your prayers, hours of volunteering, word of mouth and donations have allowed ADAMS Center to , complete Phase III and build the next chapter for our community, in particular our youth. The next generation of young adults are standing by your side in the musallah [sic]. They are playing basketball in the gym. And they are with you during the ups and downs of being a Muslim in today's society.”
“ADAMS has become a safety net for the youth, elderly and those who have been dis-engaged from society,” he adds.