A view of the Ritchie Coliseum from the stands behind the womens section shows the capacity crowd at the first ever DMV Unity Night taraweeh program. Photo by Fatimah Waseem.
The Ritchie Coliseum at The University of Maryland College Park was packed to capacity on August 5, 2013 for a special taraweeh night where imams from over 15 masajid were invited to lead taraweeh by the Muslim Youth of DMV Council.
Called "A Night of Unity", the aim of the DC-Maryland-Virginia joint taraweeh was consistent with the mission of the Muslim Youth of DMV Council.
“We pray that we unite the DMV community," said DMV Youth Council board member Areeb Quasem as he welcomed the attendees from the surrounding communities. “Muslim Youth of DMV was established so all the youth groups in the area can work together."
Thirteen imams represented their masjid including: Dr. Aamir Sheikh of Dar Al-Taqwa, Imam Assem Salama from Dar Al-Hijrah, Imam Haroon Baqai of the Al-Huda School, Qari Ibrahim Khan of Prince George's Muslim Association (PGMA) who represented Imam Ahmed Azzarri, Imam Khalid Omar of the First Hijrah Foundation in Washington DC, Imam Mahmoud Hady of the Maryum Islamic Center in Ellicot City, Imam Muhammad Zahid and Shaykh Yaseen Shaikh of the Al-Rahmah Qur'an Academy in Baltimore, Qari Rakeen Mahmud of the Islamic Center of Maryland who represented Imam Jamil Dasti, Imam Safi Khan of Dar-us-Salaam, Imam Talib Abdus-Samad of the Islamic Research & Humanitarian Services, Sheikh Muhammad Ar-Ra'ee of the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia Trust (ICNVT) who led the witr prayer in three different styles, and Imam Mohamed Abdullahi of the Muslim Community Center (MCC) in Silver Spring, Maryland. Imam Javaid Bhaiyat of Islamic Community Center of Laurel (ICCL) was not able to attend and was represented by his son, Qari Masihullah Bhaiyat, while Imam Faisal Khan of Islamic Society of Washington Area was represented by Qari Muhammad Ishaq.
The Muslim Youth Council of DMV presented gifts to all the Imams during a short ceremony after the first eight rakaat. Gifts were provided by the MCC and prepared by the MCC youth group, while food, venue, and childcare costs were sponsored by ISB, ISWA, PGMA, and Dar-us-Salaam.
“[This was] a very inspiring event, I look forward to next year,” said Umm AbdelMuhaymin who thoroughly enjoyed the recitations. She came from Baltimore to support Qari Zahid who led the isha' prayers and recited surah balad and surah shams in two different, uncommon reading styles.
Imams from Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia prayed in the front row, directly behind their fellow imam leading salah. Photo by Fatimah Waseem.
Umm Anisah, a sister who grew up in the area and now lives in Phildelphia heard about the event and came to attend. “It was nice to hear the different styles of the imams,” she said. She was impressed the youth coordinated this event. “It is one word but being said in so many different ways.”
Ammar was visiting his sister in North Baltimore from Saudi Arabia. He missed the Ramadan atmosphere in Riyadh and seeing so many Muslim gathered to listen to the Quran reminded him of the good things at home. “The recitations were diverse. We can’t be fair and compare them to Saudi reciters but they were really nice, the imams in their qirah.” His sister Hiba enjoyed Fahad Hijazi and wanted Muhammad Hijazi and Abdul Rahman Hijazi in the event next year.
The Muslim Link estimates close to 1,000 people attended the event; the DMV Council apologized for the shorage of food and emergency orders of pizzas disappeared upon arrival.