Al-Rahmah students had a major role in running the program, from collecting donations to serving food. Photos by Muslim Link.
Big things have been happening at Baltimore’s Al-Rahmah School lately.
Just in the past two years, the full-time Islamic school run by the Islamic Society of Baltimore built a professional science lab, earned accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and this month they will be graduating their first high school class.
Al-Rahmah School opened in 1987 with 27 students and now has a student body of 276.
On May 19, 2012, a dedicated group of about 150 supporters gathered in a tastefully decorated ISB gymnasium for the school’s annual fundraising dinner, pushing to provide the funds needed for the school’s continued success.
Al-Rahmah student Hudaifah Kabaka opened the program with a beautiful recitation of the Qur’an, and then from their the program was managed by mistress of ceremonies Surrayah Khan, an Al-Rahmah alumnus who now attends Western Tech High School.
After a nasheed performance by Al-Rahmah students on Palestine, the keynote speaker for the evening, Baltimore native and Islamic lecturer Moutasem Atiya, took the stage.
“We weren’t reciting Qur’an like that and we weren’t singing about Palestine like [these students] when we were [children] … the only Islamic education we had [happened] when we went to the masjid,” he began. “Allah will ask you about every bounty He gave you, and you have Islamic education in your backyard [in] Al-Rahmah School,” said Atiya.
He related a personal anecdote to highlight the need and the value of Islamic education.
A few months ago at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, Atiya approached the cashier to purchase a book on Islam. The cashier asked him if he was Muslim and Atiya replied in the affirmative. Then the cashier asked him if Atiya knew Ibn Batuta and Atiya replied yes. “[The cashier] said, ‘all the Muslims I’ve asked don’t know, [so] can you tell your people to start reading?’,” recalled Atiya.
Atiya also said he had a discussion with a jewish co-worker who told him she pays $650 per month for her child to attend Hebrew weekend school; the tuition for Al-Rahmah is around $430 per month for full-time schooling.
“Islamic education has a secret element which other education doesn’t have – barakah,” said Atiya.
ISB President Maqbool Patel conducted the fundraising, helping to just meet the $50,000 goal as the athan for maghrib sounded. Some of the funds will be used to refurbish the on-site house formerly used by the Imam for use as classrooms. About 70 Al-Rahmah students will be able to study in six classrooms once the remodeling is complete.
The fundraising dinner was sponsored by Diamond Security, Inc, Titanium Lock Services Inc, and Willoughby Beach Pediatrics, PA.