|New Imam Aims to Target Youth At Masjid Ibn Taymiyyah|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by By Hena Zuberi, Muslim Link Staff Reporter|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2012 11:14|
Masjid Ibn Taymiyyah, located in Glenarden, Maryland, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Highway, is situated next to a liquor store, a Chinese restaurant, a laundry, and other retailers. The new masjid opened in January 2010 committed to serving the neighborhood, and making it a better place to live for Muslims and Non-Muslims.
Haunted by a turbulent past few months, the Shurah Board of the masjid is focused on reviving this direly needed place of worship. Many changes are taking place including the hiring of a new financial accountant and reformation of the Shurah Board.
To head the new masjid, the community is welcoming a new Imam. An approachable and friendly man, Imam Firdaws was a regular speaker, offering weekly lessons on the authentic stories of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah at the Mount Hope Masjid (Masjid Sunnatu Wal Jama’ah) in Bronx, New York. The imam also devoted his time as a visiting khateeb (speaker) to masjids both outside and inside New York.
Imam Firdaws Ladan received his Islamic education at the Islamic International School (in Kumasi, Ghana), which is an affiliate of both the Islamic University of Madinah and the King Saud University of Riyadh, where he received a 3-year diploma in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He furthered his education through a diploma certificate program in teaching Arabic and Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Madinah in 1995. Forever a student, the Imam is continuing his education in Islamic studies from Arees University-Texas.
The Imam is passionate about working with the youth. “Where are the youth and the elderly in our masajid? They are my target.” Planning on hosting events like inter-masjid soccer games, the Imam will use these events to bring the youth back into the masjid.
A midfielder, Imam Firdaus loves playing soccer; he is affectionately known as Platini – after the famous Italian soccer genius of the 1990s.
For the past 4 years Maryland has been home for the Imam. A family man, Imam Firdaws lives with his wife and stepdaughter in Upper Marlboro.
Counseling is one of the needs of the community that Imam Firdaws recognizes. With rising dviorce rates in the Muslim communities, marriage counseling will be a focus for the new Imam. Imam Firdaws is a certified Conflict Resolution and Analysis facilitator from the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC and a Serious Crime Investigator. He will refer couples to professionals if he sees the need.
"We needed someone dynamic, who shares the vision of the community", says Ahmed Lampety, a member of the board for Masjid Ibn Taymiyyah, "Including the sisters. Sisters in our community do so much and need to be heard. To address their needs Imam Firdaws has scheduled a meeting with the sisters in the community."
“One of the many problems our community faces is the irresponsibility of our brothers in regards to their families. We need to change this culture,” said Br. Lampety. “This can only take place when we have leadership who can address this issue.”
“He won't shy away from tough topics, his last khutbah was about homosexuality in Islam,” Br. Lampety told the Muslim Link.
Another role that the adminstration sees him filling is a liason between the various Masjids and Islamic centers in the area. “He will be a bridge between us and other communities, inshaAllah, as we see humilty in him and a vision to bring people together.”
Putting his background as a manager, radio talk show host and chaplain into use, Imam Firdws plans to fix the ‘hot mess’ the masjid is currently in. ‘My first task is to organize and to bring the people in’, he told us in a phone interview.
The Imam recognizes that the environment is not great. The neighborhood needs help and working with the people of the community, his plan is to present Islam in a good manner. Programs like Feeding the Hungry and other free social services will be relaunched, ‘so non-Muslims can see the perfection in Islam.’
He is no stranger to community service, the Imam is the founder of the ‘Shoulder To Shoulder Foundation’ which sponsors brilliant, but needy children, to help narrow the education gap in his Ghanaian community.
Imam Firdaws holds membership of various bodies such as: the Islamic Propagation and Research Centre (a grouping of Muslim comparative religion preachers based in Ghana), the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana Muslim Students Association (Executive Member), the American Independent Black Writers Association, North American Imams Federation (NAIF), Denver Association of Ghanaian Muslims (Co-founder), Amaana – Ghanaian Association in Maryland (Imam), Ibadur-Rahman Inc. – New York as well as the Islamic Research & Humanitarian Services Center Of America (IRHSCA) in Washington DC.
Addressing the greatest need of his new congregation, the dearth of Islamic classes, Imam Firdaws will be giving classes every Saturday at Masjid Ibn Taymiyyah after Asr prayers till Maghrib for men and women. ‘What is the cause of people not populating the masjid? I believe it is the lack of classes.’ In addition he will be teaching the Qur’anic Weekend School starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
A published children’s author, his series of short stories made him a favorite amongst his young students., learning him the endearment, 'darling teacher'. Some of his titles include:’ A Bad Beginning Makes A Good Ending’, ‘A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed’, ‘AIDS Is Real’ and ‘The Brave Little Mice’. He has also authored a book called “Qur’an, Science and the Secrets of the Unseen World”, which he has written based on his experiences as a jinnologist and exorcist, learned in the method of ‘ropes’.
His next book which is in the editing stages is called: “Morality: A Neglected Part of A Muslim Belief."
The address for the new masjid is 8000 Martin Luther King Highway, Glenarden, MD 20706, or visit www.masjidibntaymiyyah.org
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