The Islamic Circle of North America masjid (ICNA) in Alexandria, VA hosted an Open House and appreciation dinner on May 18th, 2013. The masjid was completed and inaugurated earlier this year.
The event was an opportunity for the wider community to meet the new imam, Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan who sits on the Fiqh Council of North America.
In the upstairs women's section, the speeches were broadcast over a large TV screen. As kids screamed and ran around and the majority of the women chitchatted, some sisters tried to concentrate on the speeches given by the President, Ramiz Abid, Dr. Essam Tellawi, Imam Abdool Rahman and Dr. Zahid Bukhari of ICNA.
It was a joyous, social occasion so a certain amount of informality was tolerated in the packed halls.
The speeches highlighted many weighty issues from the past, present and future of the new masjid.
Building the ICNA masjid was a journey. Br. Abid reminisced about the small trailer that served the community as a masjid for several years prior to the building of the new structure.
He recalled fond memories of youth meetings,”when we would horse around and end up breaking walls; once we even found racoons in the wall.”
Now that the structure is complete, the masjid is forming various committees to aid in running the masjid smoothly, including Jumu'ah, fundraising, sisters, and maintenance committees.
Dr. Essam Tellawi, a long standing member of the community, spoke on the bond of brotherhood and imaan. The masjid is diverse, and most attendees are immigrants from a variety of countries.
Dr. Bukhari spoke about the model of the American masjid and the expanded role that Islamic centers play. He believes the masjid is a place where future leadership develops, and which serves as a hub of social, relief and dawah activities.
Young girls and boys from the weekend school presented Quran and Salah recitation to the audience.
Bintu Fofana has three children in the weekend school. She has lived in the community for 4 years and was pleased with the new structure. “We did not go to Jumu'ah, we were waiting of this masjid,” she said, after watching her son, Kafumba, recite Quran on the big screen.
In her opinion, the new imam will be a welcome teacher of masjid etiquettes for the community.
Sr. Asma is from the Sudan, a warm friendly sister, she said she feels very happy about the new masjid and the arrival of the imam. “I can meet people and enjoy food together with different nationalities,” she said.
Saiqa Aziz’s daughter, Areeba, recited Surah Yaseen to the audience along with her friends Anum, Ayesha and Fatima. “Alhamdulillah,” Sr. Saiqa said with a grateful smile when asked about the masjid.
Imam Abdool Rahman Khan urged the congregation to stand together, love each other and work to develop this masjid with ‘tolerance, understanding and sabr.” The Imam has started counseling for youth, marriage and family as well as several circles of learning on aqeedah, tafseer, tajweed and hadith. (TML will be featuring a detailed interview with Shaykh Khan in the June issue in shaa Allah).
A South Asian dinner was served with humility by enthusiastic volunteers serving guests who sat on the floor of the new center.