Masjid Report 2015
Of all the Masaajid founded in America, only 25% were founded before The Islamic Center of America Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah. The State of New Jersey ranks fifth amongst the states regarding the number of Masaajid in the state. The Islamic Center of America Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah provides many free services for Muslims and non-Muslims, even if their approach differs from the methodology established upon the Quran and Sunnah with the understanding of the pious predecessors; only 1% of Masaajid adhere to the Quran and Sunnah according to the outstanding three generations. From these services are:
The Five Daily Salaah
Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah is open daily for Fajr Salaah, and its doors do not close until after Ishaa. In the wintertime, the Masjid closes after classes, which are held after Ishaa. The number of worshippers in Salaah is usually between 20-50 worshipers. Worshipers exceed 100 during some special events like the marriage celebration, Asr, Maghrib, and Ishaa on Jumu’ah or Thuhr time when the school is in session. The numbers of worshippers decrease during the summer and winter months as many have complained to me about the excessively hot and cold temperatures in the Masjid. In Ramadan 1434/2013, they number between 40-75 worshipers for the daily Salaah; the numbers for the daily Salaah decreased after Ramadan. The Imam delivers short talks from time to time after any given Salaah and often times before Taraaweeh or after four (4) raka’ahs of Taraaweeh. It is also important to note that there is activity between the Salaahs in the Masjid and people making up Salaah because they missed the Jumu’ah or for simply reading from the Masjid’s library, to meet Muslims, and for other reasons.
Around 30% of the more than 2,000 Masjids do not offer the five (5) Salaah. Of those that do, the average number of people for Fajr is 16. We are at that number on our low side and often times more than twice that number. Thuhr’s national average is 16, and we are twice that and sometimes six (6) times that number when we include students from the school. Asr’s average is 13, and we are usually 2-3 times that. Maghrib and Ishaa are 24 and 28 respectively, and our numbers are the same and more.
Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah’s attendance on Jumu’ah is usually between 400-500 Muslim men and 75-120 or more women. We are in the top group Masaajid when it comes to attendance. In 1994, our average Jumu’ah attendance was better than 52% of the Masaajid in America. In the year 2000, attendance was 88% better, and in the year 2011, it was 82% better. The Jumu’ah crowd is very diverse. However, we do not have any data on this diversity. Qur’an and authentic Hadeeth as understood and practiced by The Prophet himself and his companions and the scholars of Islam is the basis of all Khutbahs. We do not promote any group’s methodology from our minbar, just Islam and the Sunnah, In Sha Allah.
Attendance at the Masjid Ahlis Sunnah on Eid’s day is usually between 700-1000 Muslim men and women. Some say there were more than 900 Muslims who attended Eid Al-Fitr 14134 (August 2013), with four Masaajid coming together in the park in the city of Roselle, NJ. The Muslims stayed in the Musallaa (park) until Asr. Attendance for this Eid Al-Adhaa 1434 (October 2013) was more than 600 Muslim men and women. This number was probably lower than usual because the ‘Eid was on a weekday and it was held at an earlier time than usual. The Khutbah, the Salaah, and slaughtering were Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah because of the inclement weather. The city municipality allowed us to slaughter a couple of sheep in the parking lot at the Masjid, Alhamdulillah.
Those attending Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah to pray Taraaweeh is between 1200200 worshipers, men and women. Former students of Madrasatu Ahlis Sunnah lead the Salaah. A half of Juz’ of the Qur’an was recited every night to make things easy for the people because the Ishaa was close to ten o’clock and dawn just after 4 a.m.
The Masjid provides matrimonial services from helping Muslims find future mates to family, marriage, and divorce counseling. We provide official marriage and divorce certificates. We performed fifteen (15) marriages in our Masjid during the year 2013. There were no recorded divorces during this year, Al-Hamdulillaah.
Funeral services are available at the Masjid, from helping families contact funeral homes to washing and shrouding the dead in our Janaazah room, all free of charge. Twelve (12) Muslims were prayed over in 2013 at our Masjid.
Religious Classes and Workshops
The Masjid offers various classes throughout the week and the weekend for adults. Among those classes during the week are Qur’an memorization, ‘Aqueedah, Fiqh, etiquette, manners, and the Arabic language. Our weekend classes are on Sundays on an as-needed basis. They are ‘Aqeedah and basic Islamic fundamentals and Beginners Arabic and Qur’an for the men. For the Sisters, we offer Islamic Studies 1 & 2. We have not held any religious workshops this year due to restructuring.
Our efforts on the calling to Islam among the American community in the area through free publications and individual Da’wah efforts. The presence of a Masjid in the area is Da’wah within itself and the Muslim dress that many of the Muslims in the area wear. We have no official record of how many people embrace Islam regularly, but it appears to be around Twenty-Five (25) people a year. Allah knows best. We began giving out free Cds for Da’wah purposes in March.
Hajj and Umrah
We have offered Hajj and ‘Umrah services. Many of the Muslims who attend our Masjid have already performed these rites. We have been less involved in offering Hajj and ‘Umrah packages since the economy has gotten so bad. However, because this is a pillar of Islam, we will always do our best to offer some assistance for the Muslims seeking to perform these rites. During the year 2013, only two (2) Muslims performed the Umrah on our package. We hope to make a greater effort during the 2014 year in this area.
Fifty percent (50%) of Masaajid in America offer Qur’an Memorization classes. However, only 14% consider it a top priority. Masjidu Ahlis Sunnah is among the 14% that consider it a priority. However, our Qur’an memorization and the other religious programs are not supported by the Muslims and have been the most poorly financed programs in our center. In the future, we plan to change that, so that religious programs and events are priority, In Shaa Allah.
We have a bookstore with two separate locations, one for the men and one for the women. The Bookstore provides books, brochures, tapes, and CDs for sale and free distribution. We try to distribute one hundred (100) pamphlets biweekly. Among their topics are Wudoo, Salaah, fasting, Hajj, ‘Umrah, Zakaah Al-Fitr, Nikaah, Janaazah, ‘Eid, Etiquettes of giving the greetings of peace, and more.
We hosted several events for the Muslims at our center. Among those events hosted at our center are the Ladies Night Out (May 18), the youth conference (June 21-23), a Nightly Iftaar in Ramadan (July/August), a Family Day in the Park (September 14), a NJ Wild Outdoor Expo family Outing (September 14), a food drive (October 7-14) and 32 Years of Islam in East Orange (December 29). Other events we have hosted and plan to reintroduce in the coming year are The Sister’s Luncheon, the Brother’s Breakfast, and the Men’s Dinner, In Sha Allaah.
Zakaah and Sadaqah
For 2013, we have had seven (7) requests for Zakaah, totaling $2,131. We have had eight (8) requests for Sadaqah during 2013 totaling $1,100. These are from the records held in the office. We also offer a Feed the Hungry Program (“NEIGHBORHOOD SOUP KITCHEN”) every last Saturday of the month.
Da’wah Department: It is comprised of two Islamic bookstores, one for the men and one for the women. They have many books and lectures available for sale on a wide variety of subjects. The Da’wah department distributes free literature on Islam and English translations of the Qur’an regularly to those interested in Islam or who have newly embraced Islam. We also distribute some of our own pamphlets on various Islamic subjects, Zakaah and Sadaqah Department: This department collects and distributes Zakaah in STRICT ACCORDANCE with Qur’anic verse. Allah says, “Zakaah expenditures are only for the poor and needy and for those employed to collect [Zakaah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler-an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” Soorah At-Towbah, The Repentance 9:60. Sadaqah, or general donation, which is not Zakaah, is mainly used to cover the operating expenses; we also use Sadaqah to help the poor and needy if there is no Zakaah money available. Janaazah Department: This department provides Janaazah (Funeral) services for the Muslims. It helps with the washing, shrouding, Janaazah Salaah, and burial arrangements through a Muslim funeral home. Nikaah Department: This department helps Muslims to get married, perform marriage ceremonies, and provide official marriage certificates. We also provide marriage, divorce, and family counseling. Fundraising Department: This department host many fundraising programs like bake sales, dinners, the women’s luncheon, the men’s dinner, ladies’ night out, and other activities to raise funds for the on-going expenses of the Masjid and the School.