Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Message from Brother Ashfaq Taufique

Allah (swt) blessed us to witness Ramadan. We pray that our fasting, Taraweeh and all the good deeds that we did are accepted, and we are among the ones who will attain Jannah, inshaAllah.

At all three Masajid, I saw volunteerism at its best as people selflessly served the community at iftaar and the last ten days of Ramadan with suhoor. I sincerely pray that Allah (swt) reward all volunteers immensely and reserve the highest place in Jannah for them, ameen.

One of the highlights at Hoover Crescent was a 10 to 15 minute lecture delivered by Imam Sameh on the explanation of the Quran that would be recited in the Taraweeh. The Musalees at the Hoover Crescent also saw an additional pavilion, and another shed for vending. The additional pavilion helped us serve the expected participants at the Iftaar.

Musalees at the Westside Masjid witnessed the renovation of the entire Masjid with new carpet, paint and totally renovated bathrooms with a wudu station.

In a month or so, the HCIC outdoor storage room and pantry will be completed and the two storage sheds will be removed to make room for additional parking. Depending on the collection of the last fundraising we will continue with the building of the additional parking and the plans for the building addition that will accommodate the weekend school and a clinic for Red Crescent Clinic of Alabama.

Eid Party at Oak Mountain by Sakeena Ahmed

BIS held its annual Eid ul Fitr Party at Oak Mountain State Park Fishing Pavilion on Sunday, June 17 from 1-5 PM. This is always fun celebration for the community and families to celebrate our holiday together after spending a whole month of fasting and extra worshipping.

BIS sold halal KFC boxes, a community favorite, for the picnic lunch. Free rides were set up for the children, including a giant slide, bounce house, mind-winder carnival spinning ride, and airbrush tattoos.

About half way through the picnic, the sunny skies quickly turned gray and rain fell, sending most attendees to take shelter under the pavilion. Some adventurous children continued enjoying the rides in the rain. Many families socialized with each other before heading home soon after.

Unfortunately, there were many picnic lunches left unsold. May Allah reward Br. Tariq Hamid who made home deliveries of the unsold lunch boxes to community members later that evening.

May Allah reward the volunteers who organized and managed the event. Despite the weather, many families enjoyed the chance to see their friends and families.

Boys Youth Basketball Program by Rashid Almuntharee

SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Laa ilaaha ilallah, AllahuAkbar!!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the successful start of our boys youth basketball program. This is the first of its kind, Masha’Allah.

Right now we are in the preliminary stages of establishing a basketball league. We deemed it best to begin with a Pilot Project with practice games prior to launching a full time basketball program. Alhamdulillah, it has proven to be beneficial in all aspects.

The first practice game was very successful with a good turnout from both sides, Birmingham Islamic Society and Shades Mountain Baptist Church. This is something our children are really enjoying and benefitting from. From discipline, sharing, consistency, teamwork, and so much more, the children are learning and growing.

It will be great for the kids if the community members come out and show their support at 6 pm on July 10 at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and at 6 pm on July 31st at HCIC, InshaAllah.

HCIC Ramadan Guests by Lucas Gambino & Ashfaq Taufique

A tradition has been established by the Birmingham Islamic Society over the past several years, as part of our outreach initiative, to open our doors during the blessed month of Ramadan to the non-Muslim community at large.

Most every evening during Ramadan, BIS hosted up to 30 or more non-Muslim guests in our multi-purpose room where such guests hear a short summary of our organization and community, as well as a presentation from our Imam and our youth on the 5 pillars of Islam and 6 articles of faith, before breaking fast with us, observing Salaatul Magrhib in the musullah, and then joining us for a private dinner, during which time our conversation continues with questions and answers.

During Ramadan 1439, our more than 300 guests ranged from groups and individuals representing local churches and girl scout troops, to members of the municipal cabinets of the Cities of Hoover and Birmingham, including Mayor Woodfin (Birmingham) and Mayor Brocato (Hoover). Based on feedback from our guests, we have found that this experience affords them an opportunity to learn the basics of Islam in an authentic environment and, perhaps more significantly, inspires them to become “ambassadors” of our faith when they leave our facility, since they typically depart with an much more accurate understanding of Islam.

In addition to our iftar visitation program, BIS has also catered actively and responded to the request from requests of various political candidates seeking to address our community, regardless of party affiliations, by providing them a forum to address our community, introduce themselves, and share their manifesto platforms. The community has proved very receptive by listening to these candidates and asking questions.

Our community is clearly evolving, as we are witnessing that an increasing desire among our community wants members to be more engaged in our society, in order to influence policy and become a stronger voice for the rights of us, not only as Muslims, but as American citizens...who happen to be Muslim.

Inmates’ Letter Writing Campaign by Akhlaque Haque

Every year in Ramadan, the Birmingham Human Rights Committee participates in the Letter Writing Campaign to remember the Muslim prisoners who are incarcerated in Federal Prisons throughout the United States. The campaign was initiated 5 years ago by Sister Sharmin Sadequee from New York. As part of the project Muslim brothers and sisters write a short note on a greeting card to share the thought that prisoners are not forgotten and we Muslims in the US care for them.

Through the letters, prisoners know that they are always part of our community and that they are in our prayers. Sometimes it’s just a letter from the community that can make a lot of difference inside the four walls of prison cells. The letter from someone who cares can be a charity or sadaqa for our Muslim prisoners, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, requiring only a few minutes. Even just one message and du’aa (prayers) can make all the difference for a brother or a sister isolated from his or her beloved family and community. Birmingham Human Rights Committee is proud to support this initiative for the last 5 years.

Eid Toy Drive by Sakeena Ahmed

Ramadan is the month of giving. Some local Muslim mothers wanted to provide a learning opportunity for their children by donating toys to local needy families for Eid. Hence, a last minute Eid Toy Drive was organized by BIS during Ramadan. With a two weeks notice, we organized a one-day toy drive drop off on Saturday, June 9 at the HCIC.

We collected items to donate to local Muslim needy families and Children's Hospital patients. Alhamdulillah, our generous community donated over 80 large and small items. We dropped these items off on Eid day to the hospital and the staff were delighted and thankful to BIS for the donations. JazaakAllah khair to everyone who donated toys and helped with this project.

Ramadan Story Time Recap by Kirin Nabi

It is always satisfying when things go as planned, but when things go better than planned, that is truly a blessing. This year the weekly Ramadan Story and Craft Time was such a hit we had to cap it at 30 children each week, and when the parents were given the option to have a story time the day before Eid or leave it, the response was a resounding, yes, Alhumdulillah!

Held at HCIC, the stories and activities were geared for children ages 2-6 and parents were asked to register so we could ensure enough supplies. This, the third year of the program, we tried to change it up a bit to keep kids interested.

The first week we read stories about the Ramadan Moon and then made our own Mr. Ramadan Moons to hide and find throughout the month.

The second week we read Ramadan Around the World in the activity room and set up activities from three of the countries for the kids to rotate through. They explored making tortillas in Mexico, making sadaqa jars in Texas, and making puppets like in Turkey.

The third week we read stories, played a huge game of pass the parcel and dipped pretzels in chocolate. The final week we read a story about helping the less fortunate in Ramadan and then made over 40 lunches for the homeless. We concluded with a story about Eid while munching on a snack.

Alhumdulillah, all four weeks began at 12 and concluded with salat ul thuhr in jammat.