By Nayawiyyah Muhammad
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Two years is a relatively short period of time, but as Allah (SWT) says in Qur’an, Surah Al-Asr (Time Through the Ages): “By the token of time through the ages, surely man is in loss, except such as have Faith and do righteous deeds and join together in the mutual enjoining of Truth and of Patience and Constancy.”
Masjid Al-Shareef continues to exemplify Muslim community life and to be a beacon of light in the Long Beach area, by using time wisely. This year, Masjid Al-Shareef marked the two-year anniversary of its Masjid Al-Shareef Sunday School (MASS) program at their Pre-Ramadan Dinner.
After opening with a dua by Bro. Ashraf Bhuiyan, a parent of MASS, student Tasneem Khatib welcomed everyone and recited a Ramadan poem. The students then led the way with the Sunday School’s Ramadan Blessings and Du’a Tree.
The Ramadan Blessings and Du’as Tree came about as a way for the students and families of MASS to stay mindful of the Mercy and Blessings of Allah (SWT), especially during the month of Ramadan.
Each student was asked to list something which they are thankful to Allah for and to write a du’a of what they would want to ask for this Ramadan. Some of the students came and presented their blessings and du’as written on leaves.
Each student then placed the leaves on the bare tree. All of the audience was invited to do the same. There were leaves at everyone’s seat to write down their own blessings and du’a, sign their names and add them to the Blessings and Du’as Tree at the end of the program.
What a beautiful sight as the tree slowly became heavy with the leaves of thankfulness and du’a against the backdrop of the room decorated with traditional Ramadan fanoos (laterns).
The program also was filled with Qur’an recitations by the some of the School’s top reciters: Muhamad Putra, Chelsea Rahman, Shahrir Bhuiya, Fayza Elshafie and Fathalla Elshafie.
Everyone appeared jubilant and enjoyed the dinner prepared by the parents, as they looked on at a slide show presentation of the many accomplishments and events of MASS over the past year.
After dinner, Bro. Kazem Elshafie, the Arabic Teacher presented the students with certificates for Good Attendance, Distinctive Progress, and Excellence in Effort.
As principal of MASS, I had the honor of presenting Certificates of Appreciation to some very surprised and deserving parents and supporters of MASS and announced the results of the Islamic Studies Fair.
The announcement of the results Second Annual Islamic Studies Fair was met with great anticipation. Students, ages 6-18, of MASS were asked to research and do some critical thinking on an Islamic topic of their choice, following specific guidelines and present their conclusions before a panel of judges.
This year, the range of topics were quite extensive and showed a great deal of progress in the reasoning skills of the students. The judges grouped the students into two age categories, 6 to 11 and 12-18, and questioned them on their findings, research and conclusions.
In the end, six students worked their way toward either first, second or third place trophies.
From the 6-11 age group, Tasneem Khatib won First Place with her project, The Future of Islam in America: How Muslim Americans Can Impact Islam in the World. Fayza Elsahfie won Second Place with her project on Ramadan. Nawaf Ahmed won Third Place with his project on Eid.
From the 12-18 age group, Shahrir Bhuiya won First Place for his project, Performing Salat. Chelsea Rahman won Second Place for her project, What are the Five Pillars of Islam? Muhamad Putra was the Third Place winner with his project called Islam in the Orient.
All of the winners received trophies and each participant received a certificate.
Another of the highlights of the dinner came as Bro. Ahmed Saafir gave an impressive introduction to Imam Haroon Abdullah, the founder of Masjid Al-Shareef. Bro Ahmed recounted meeting the Imam in his youth and how he witnessed Imam Abdullah’s establishment and formation of the Masjid from the early 1970s until the present.
Imam Abdullah received a standing ovation from the crowd. The entire room fell completely silent with complete attention and respect being paid to Imam Abdullah as he told the history of the Masjid.
It was the first time for many of the believers to hear of how the early members of Masjid Al-Shareef, before it was even called a masjid resigned themselves with the Help of Allah (SWT) to move from a storefront, find a building being used as a heavy duty machine shop, completely pay off the property, and reconstruct out of all that the beautiful Masjid which stands now in Long Beach.
Alhamdullilah! What an excellent example of the good use of time with patience and constancy.
Resident Imam of Masjid Al-Shareef and the director of MASS, Imam Ameen A. Omar closed the evening with remarks about the goals of Masjid Al-Shareef Sunday School, which include teaching the Qur’an, Arabic reading and writing, Islamic Studies, Seerah, and life skills for being Muslim in America.
Imam Omar noted that it is the responsibility of Muslim parents to make sure that their children have an Islamic education. Imam Omar also announced that Masjid Al-Shareef is in the process of establishing Al-Shareef Learning Center, a full-time Muslim school to be opened in the very near future, insha Allah.
As the community continues to grow and develop, we can only give all praises to Allah, much can be accomplished in whatever time given, whether it is a year or two or 40 or more.
The mutual teachings of truth, faith, good deeds, patience and constancy has been a mainstay at Masjid Al-Shareef. The results has been a fruition of blessings from Allah (SWT).
(More pictures of our events and information can be accessed on Masjid Al-Shareef Sunday School and Al-Shareef Learning Center’s Facebook page.)
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