50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED THROUGH “HONORING OUR PAST ENSURES OUR FUTURE”

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By Ibrahim and

Carole Mumin

Holy Qur’an 4:1: O man­kind! Reverence, have a high regard for your Lord (Guardian Evolver, Cher­isher and Sustainer), Who created you from a single soul; created, of like na­ture, your mate and from the two came scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Al­lah (G-d) through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (reverence, have a high regard for) the wombs (that bore you); for Allah (G-d) ever watches over you.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Believers of Masjid Mu­hammad, under the leader­ship of Resident Imam Talib Shareef, celebrated their 50-year Anniversary of the his­toric building. The theme for the three-day celebration was “Honoring Our Past Ensures Our Future.”

It was consistent with Scrip­tural Guidance (Al-Qur’an and Bible) to reverence, honor and show gratitude for the wombs that bore us. The com­munity’s Pioneers, grassroots Americans, made great sac­rifices to establish the com­munity and build Masjid Mu­hammad from the ground up.

It was the first in the Na­tion, among the many oth­ers, under the leadership of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, father of Imam W. Deen Mo­hammed (May G-d be pleased with both of them), to hold such a distinction. Along with that is the distinction of serv­ing the oldest Muslim commu­nity in the Nation’s Capitol.

The June 17, 2011, week­end also served as a kick-off for the year-long Capital Campaign to upgrade and expand this historic Masjid. The three-day event began Jumuah, the khatib being Imam Nasir Ahmad of Miami, Florida. His inspirational and motivational talk set the tone of excellence for the rest of the weekend.

Imam Nasir began by re­minding us that Imam W.D. Mohammed taught us the im­portance of saying “As Salaam Alaikum” and not just Salaam Alaikum. The difference being temporary or man’s blessings with the latter compared to Allah’s Peace.

He continued by reminding us that Islam is the religion of nature, and in fact, Islam is bigger than religion. His talk continued by mentioning Al-Qur’an is a Universal Book that recognizes other Faiths and is respectful of other Faith traditions, including the believers of Christ Jesus and the Jewish people.

Imam Nasir Ahmad went on to say that Islam is not identified with any race, tribe or nationality. His message throughout his talk addressed the pioneer honorees, Mus­lims and visiting Christians and Jews present for the his­toric celebration weekend.

Throughout his talk, Imam Ahmad also took examples from Al-Qur’an, Bible and Torah to show similarities between the major Faiths. At one point he mentioned that Christians and Jews are not enemies of Muslims.

Rather, he said, we are their Brothers, adding that one of the major problems fac­ing our communities is there is so much attention focused on labels and not content — too much attention to the “container.”

He ended his talk by shar­ing how the human being is created in two phases; the biological phase and the in­tellectual or rational phase. He also shared a unique in­sight Imam W.D. Mohammed had given the community on two important concepts, “Paradise lies at the foot of the woman” and “men are the maintainers and protectors of the woman.”

After Jumuah, a Health Workshop was conducted by Sis. Sharon Abdullah, who spoke about the female com­ponent of the Nation of Islam and the MGT and the GCC. She spoke of the customary practices of how the children were raised and often times how we married young dur­ing the first experience.

The moto, “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave,” by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was how they were taught to carry themselves.

On Saturday morning a se­ries of workshops began coor­dinated by Ibrahim MuMin.

The first workshop, “Future Directions for Muslim African Americans,” featured presen­tations by Imam Raouf Abdul­lah, Sis. Farah Shakour and Bro. Anwar Saleem. Topics covered “Reconciling our faith with our secular life,” “Educa­tion,” and “Strengthening our economic future through our past practices.”

The next workshop, “Reflec­tions on the History of Muslim African Americans featured a presentation by Dr. Abulalim Shabazz, former Imam/Minis­ter-Masjid Muhammad who spoke on “Significant events during the 60s and 70s.”

Sis. Baseemah Beyah, a 50 plus year pioneer, spoke on “Reflections on the teach­ings of our leaders.” And Sis. Ayesha K. Mustafa, Editor of Muslim Journal, talked about the national context of what was happening in Wash­ington, D.C.

That afternoon the young adults held a forum that in­cluded Sis. Tawqa Mahdi, who spoke on “Good: The En­emy of GREAT,” Bro. Shareef Abdul-Malik who spoke on “Marriage the Centerpiece for Community Life,” and Sis. Zaibaa Mahdi, who talked on “Upholding Our Community Values.”

The workshops concluded with an Interfaith Panel. The panel presenters included Clark Lobenstine of the Inter­faith Conference of Metropoli­tan Washington and Marilyn Boesch of the Focolare, coordi­nated by Bro. Mujahid Beyah.

An evening sold-out cel­ebration banquet capped the day of events. After opening payer by Imam Yusuf Sal­eem, Sis. Alia Waheed sang the National Anthems. Sis. Labeebah Salaam, a 50-year honoree, brought the welcome greetings and introduction of the Trailblazers.

An impressive lineup of speakers followed that in­cluded the Hon. Paul Monte­rio, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement who brought congratulatory greetings from President Barak Obama. Sis. Khadijah Siddeeq Moham­med, widow of Imam W.D. Mohammed, delighted the audience with wisdom she gained from her late husband.

Sis. Ayesha K. Mustafaa, Muslim Journal Editor, pleased the attendees with her national and internation­al perspectives. The audience was treated to a solo tribute to the Pioneers by violinist, Fad­lullah Ba’th. Resident Imam Talib Shareef was presented Proclamations by the Hon. Kwame Brown, Chairman, Council of the District of Co­lumbia, and from the Mayor’s office read by Bro. Shareef Abdul Malik.

A surprise appearance by the Hon. Ebrahim Rasool, Ambassador to the United States from South Africa, ar­riving with his parents capped off the evening. Later, Imam Shareef gave all the 50-year honorees a gift from the Mas­jid. Accepting on behalf of the Pioneers was Sis. Aida Sabir.

The gift was a specially commissioned cookbook, pub­lished by Masjid Muham­mad, that included recipies from Pioneers as early as Sis. Clara Muhammad, first con­vert to Islam in Washington, D.C., and the home where the Hon. Elijah Muhammad first stayed when he came to the Nation’s Capital.

Imam Sultan M. Abdullah provided the closing prayer. And the evening concluded with entertainment by Leron and Cristal Young, longtime favorites of the community.

On Sun., June 19, the week­end concluded with a Public Address Session at Masjid Muhammad. The speakers at the Public Address in­cluded Imams Yusuf Saleem and Abdulalim Shabazz, both former Imams at Masjid Mu­hammad, and Imam Nasir Ahmad. Imam Talib Shareef made closing remarks, thank­ing all who had participated.

Imam Shareef encouraged attendees to support the year-long schedule of events as part of the Capital Campaign and to purchase CD’s, DVD’s and other merchandise docu­menting the historic weekend celebration.

The 50th Anniversary Cele­bration Committee was led by Resident Imam Talib Shareef. Sis. Rabbil Montez was the general Chair for the event. Committee Co-chairs includ­ed Carole Mumin (location) and Marvis Aleem (work­shops).

Committee Members were Anwar Saleem (Banquet Pro­gram), Wali Shakoor (Pioneers), Najmah Salim (Registration), Muhammad Abdul-Malik (Secu­rity), Rodney Hawkins (Technol­ogy), Albert Sabir (Vendors) and Jamilah Mahdi-Shabazz (volun­teers).

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