Masjid Ibrahim Fundraiser and Appreciation Banquet in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center located in Sacramento County has embarked on building a new mosque on its already acquired site located at 3049 Rio Linda Blvd. “The idea and goal behind building a new masjid is to increase our ability to serve the local and non-Muslim community, to build upon our efforts at unity amongst Muslims, and to increase services and teaching to new Muslim converts, and to bring together Muslims from different backgrounds in the spirit of faith and brotherhood. We realize that we need help from the larger community in order to realize that goal,” said Imam Luqman Ahmad, Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center. For this reason a fundraiser was held on August 24 th at the Country Club Event Center in Sacramento featuring a keynote address by renowned religious scholar Dr Muzammil Siddiqi and comedian Mohammad Amer.
Elaborating on the effort, Imam Luqman said, “Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center is a community service-oriented community. Many of the congregants come from the surrounding neighborhoods, and many of our members are directly involved in local neighborhood activities. We are engaged in feeding food, coaching local sports teams for the youth, drug and family counseling, literacy, and crime prevention in our neighborhood.” In other words, this is an All-American Masjid which is developing deep roots in the greater Sacramento community. It does have a large African-American component but it does not like to be called a “Black Masjid” because its membership is quite diverse and it caters to the poor regardless of race or national origins. Over 250 people have converted to Islam at Masjid Ibrahim since it opened its doors. One must also add here that this Masjid has been offering its services in the area since 1995 and has made a positive contribution in the region since then.
It appears that was not coincidental that Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi was invited to speak at this event. His keynote address on the topic”Nurturing a Successful and Harmonious Community” was already in progress when I walked in and it fit right in with what Imam Luqman had said earlier. Dr Siddiqi’s presentation was long and detailed and his PowerPoint Slides were being keenly followed by the almost full venue. Dr Siddiqi is known worldwide for his knowledge on Islam in its entirety. He was deeply engrossed in explaining the value of ethics in community relations when I started taking notes. Some of the principles he pointed out were that we should not laugh at each other but with each other. He strongly urged against defaming, insulting and spreading rumors about each other within the community (including journalists, one hopes). He also promoted allowing differences of opinion and resolving our disputes through peaceful and productive means.
After explaining types of donations in Islam (Infaq, Zakat, Sadaqat and Khairat), Dr Siddiqi stressed the need for building trusts (Awqaf) and Bequests (Wasiyyah) to assist the community in many areas including the building of mosques in this country. Other activities highlighted included education, social work, socialization and Da’wah. Two other areas which one has to consider very important these days are: 1) “Living in Peace and Harmony with others “(Our creator is one), and 2) “Living with the Human Family”, and the rules that need to be followed were focused on here. These rules included working for justice for all people, honesty, honoring neighbors (of all faiths) and being good to the poor and needy. He closed on the topic of “Building Relations with Others” by holding Open Houses for neighbors, promoting interfaith activity, interacting with local government, media and the academic community (one can throw in Law Enforcement here too) and by engaging in social work and charity.
Imam Luqman next returned to the stage and presented awards of appreciation to businesses and individuals. The Muslim Businessman Awards were given to Extel Corporation/ East West Foods (Rashid Ahmad and Abdul-Halim Khan), B & L RV (Mukhtar Ahmad) and Comprehensive Security Services (Bashir Choudry). The American Muslim Pioneer Award was presented to Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, and the Masjid Ibrahim Appreciation Award to Amin Huddleston. The Spiritual Leadership Award went to Imam Mumtaz Qasmi, the American Muslim Trendsetter Award to Dr Metwali Amer and another Masjid Ibrahim Appreciation Award to Antoine 'Abdullah' Watkins.
A fundraising appeal was made next to gather resources necessary to build the new mosque. Imam Luqman did his best to ask people to be generous. And when things got too serious comedian Mohammad Amer took command of the stage with his ethnic Muslim and Palestinian humor. His explanation for not having a “Palestinian Passport” while traveling years ago as a refugee in Germany was especially excellent as was his relief at finally becoming an American citizen!
A dinner of fine halal food from Ancho’s Mexican Grill closed the formalities. Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center would like to extend its special thanks to Ancho’s, Speedbird Inc, CAIR, Sharif Jewelers, B&L RV, Extel Corporation and U Save Auto Sales along with all the local mosques and people for making this event a success. Readers are invited to visit http://www.masjidibrahim.com/ to find out more details of this new masjid effort and to contribute towards making it a reality.