Large Turnout on Brick Donation Day in Chicago

Chicago, IL: It was a memorable event which brought a lot of enthusiasm to the community on July 16, 2006. Tents were still being set up at 11:45 pm the night before and a core group of volunteers was scrambling to ensure that last minute details were attended to. The weather is still memorable: On Sunday, July 16th, the thermometer reading was a blistering 100 degrees in the shade. Despite this, by the grace of Allah (SWT), it was a resounding success.
The set-up was simple. As people arrived, they were directed to the Brick Donation Center, where they registered and paid for their bricks. Wall bricks were offered at $100 each and Qibla-side bricks were offered at $1,000. Community members signed their names to the bricks they had purchased. Bricks were signed by young and old alike, some on behalf of deceased loved ones. It was heart-warming to see donors pulling out lists of names from their pockets and getting out their cell phones to consult with family members as to exactly whose names should go on the bricks. One student had marked the Brick Donation date in her calendar. The physical act of signing a brick made it real and tangible for a lot of people, and it dawned on many that they were helping to build a House of Allah (SWT).
Despite the heat and humidity, community members enjoyed the day. Sweet watermelon and plenty of cold water and soft drinks helped slake the thirst until the barbeque lunch was ready. There was enough whole roasted lamb and chicken to feed a small army, and the Bosnian brothers who did the grilling volunteered their time and effort for the event; a definite sacrifice, considering the heat of the day. May Allah (SWT) reward them! Peak attendance seemed to be between the hours of 1-6pm, and an estimated 600- 700 people from different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities came throughout the day until sundown. For some, it was a family reunion and for others, an opportunity to see their friends after a long time. One family came just after the Maghrib prayers were over, donating 21 wall bricks. One can only wonder what the numbers would have been if the weather been more clement.
True generosity, amicability and community spirit marked the occasion. Salaat-ul-Dhuhr, Asr and Maghrib were prayed outdoors. At the end of the Maghrib prayer, MCC president Dr. Sattar made a du’a for the well being of the community and success for the tremendous task at hand.
Alhamdulillah, about $118,000 was raised at the end of the day through 26 Qibla-side bricks and 717 wall bricks. For those who missed the occasion, the opportunity to give still exists. The month of July has been declared “Brick Donation Month”, and those who wish to donate and sign their bricks, can do so at the MEC location between the hours of 2:00-3:00 PM and 7:00-8:00 PM. Also, a similar event is planned for 20th August which will be specifically geared towards the younger generation of professionals and students, while at the same time keeping it open for those who missed the July16th event. Details will be coming out soon.
In closing, a special thanks to all those who donated bricks and to the volunteers who devoted their time and effort for making this event a huge success. We would also like to thank Indo-Pak food for donating meat and the brothers who donated the cost of rentals, water and soft drinks, watermelon and printing 10,000 flyers. There are too many names to list and Allah (SWT) knows best who they are.
We still need an additional $800,000 to complete the outer shell by Ramadan. May Allah (SWT) help us to achieve this goal, forgive our shortcomings and reward our efforts! Ameen.
MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER, 4380 N. Elston Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60641 Telephone: (773) 725-9047, Fax: (773) 725-1616
MUSLIM EDUCATION CENTER, 8601 N. Menard St., Morton Grove, Illinois 60053. Telephone: (847) 470-8801 Fax: (847) 470-8873



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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