Every masjid I’ve attended in my area for the last 20 some years has it’s own special place in my heart. With the number of options in our area alhumdulillah, I’ve always felt like I could go to any masjid and find my place. They each have their unique memories attached to them and I figured it would be nice to reflect on a few.. :)
Dar ul Huda: This was the Friday night spot for every TJ uncle in the area for a good 10 years. I still remember the handful of times I went with Abbu to this musalla even though it was just one hallway down from us. I was in 3rd grade at the time and Aminah was just born. A jamaat had come from South Africa and I needed to help Abbu take some things inside. I wore a pull-over hijab with a green and pink dress, a barney purse, and velcro-strapped shoes (simpler times). I remember walking in and a nice uncle treated Ayesha and I to candy and gave us a handful of miswaks from South Africa. A child never forgets an adult who offers them candy.
MSA Musalla: I doubt there is a Muslim Mason student who doesn’t have memories associated with the 3rd floor musalla. Every semester around finals, you’d see the musalla overflow with students imploring Allah to help them pass their exams. Beautiful sight. My freshman year, I was awfully shy and quiet until I got to know a few of the MSA board members, and later learned the ropes and became a board member myself alhumdulillah. Too many memories to count. :) Br. Husain Kamani was speaking last week at Mason so I stopped by and saw the new board added beautiful new rugs to the area. Each board always leaves their own touch to the space, adding to the legacy.
Shirley Gate: Visiting Shirley Gate Masjid in Ramadan makes me feel like I’m in Pakistan. Aunty’s are cooking meals in the kitchen, uncles making kheer in the courtyard, warm tea bubbling in peculators ready for taking. There’s always a sugar pot with way too many plastic spoons but everyone still chooses to get their own. I’m reminded of Ayesha when I see the air fresheners she periodically donates to their restroom. Their plush carpets have been the source of many wonderful naps over the years. After Ramadan, I usually come by the masjid only during the day to pray dhur after a meeting on that side of town. It’s quiet and calming. The masjid is fully embellished with glass art work and Asma’ ul Husna. I make it a point to rest my eyes on a particular name and think about it for as long as I can before I am ready to head out. A couple weeks ago, it was As-Saboor .. The timeless .. The patient. One thing about Shirley Gate is that there’s always a toss-up of which Imam will lead the evening salah. One drives over hoping it’ll be Qari Bilal at the mimbar, and sometimes .. it isn’t.
IHC: Any time you need a reminder on the Day of Judgement, and how much you are lacking, IHC is the place to go. The Imams focus almost exclusively on aqeedah and the pillars of Iman if you listen to their khutbah’s and general talks. They’re certainly on the more conservative end relative to other masajid. I’ve always found great benefit from their focus on the foundations of iman.. and also in their 35 minute witr salah in Ramadan.
Peace Islamic Center: I came to love the simplicity of this masjid on my first visit. The first day I visited a couple years ago, I had finished a behavior assessment on an adorable 6 year old autistic boy. His mom came in to introduce him. He looked over with his big brown eyes, “Hi Ms. Asma, whatr we doin today?” :) His outfit couldn’t be cuter – a yellow shirt with a minion on it, tucked into his blue shorts while holding a bouncy yellow stress ball to calm his nerves. His mother was at a loss of what to do when he’d engage in repetitive behaviors and have tantrums a couple times a day, among other issues. After the assessment, I needed to pray asr and headed over to PIC to check it out. Tidy, organized, functioning technology, and equal space for women. Just perfect. Since working that case, PIC became a regular Asr spot for 6 months, and a source of much needed knowledge. Another notable moment was the day after coming back from Umrah last year, I went to PIC and saw a child had made a hand-made ka’ba. I stared at it for a while thinking of our final tawaf in Makkah just a couple days earlier, being just a few feet from the Ka’ba itself. May Allah (swa) illuminate and facilitate our paths to His house.
Mustafa Center: My home on Saturdays. MC brings back memories of Ilmathon and planning youth events when I myself was a youth. It was the starting place of friendships I’ve had till today and a space where I’ve been privileged to teach and work with local Muslim students. Despite all of the challenges and changes over the years, the tireless work of its leaders and volunteers make it one of the most rewarding places to be. When Br. Tariq offered the teaching position in the summer, I had declined twice before he realized who my Abbu was and then went directly to him to ask that I join their team, and so I did. I opted out the first time because I’d taught there in the past and noticed many internal areas of improvement, and I also wasn’t thrilled at the idea of working yet another day after 5 days.. But alhumdulillah, it’s been a real joy. The admin told me the class they were giving me was problematic in previous years and would need a lot of structure, variance, and discipline. They needed all three and more for the first couple months of teaching but they have made such strides alhumdulillah. I never have to ask them to help out in setting up or putting things away anymore, they seemlessly transition from one task to the next, they put effort into their assignments, they truly earn their basketball breaks, they respect our entire instructional team, and I think above all, they feel we really care about them and care to know them as individuals.
Dar al Hijrah: Diverse is such an understatement for this masjid. My relationship with DAH has transformed over the years. When Qari Abdullah led taraweeh, there was no question of where we were spending Ramadan until he moved out of the area. No trip for taraweeh was ever complete without Ayesha or Aminah anticipating I’d graciously make a left turn to get them a late night snack before going home. I had a little fun playing with their hearts with this one :) More recently, DAH became the post-work stop before going home. Asr and Qur’an help with leaving work at work and coming home more relaxed. I’ve had a slight dilemma here though since most of the Muslim students/families I work with attend DAH. So whenever I go and run into a student or parent, I can’t help but think of everything I know about them simply by being their social worker. Kinda awkward, so I’ve found myself opting for another masjid sometimes. Won’t be a problem much longer though alhumdulillah lol :)
MakeSpace: Although not a masjid, it’s become a great resource for our community, especially for people who maybe have felt disconnected from masajid for one reason or another. This will probably be our spot for Ramadan 2016 inshaAllah, since Imam Zia’s reciting and the khatira’s are inspiring and action-oriented, and we always get to see more friends here than any other location.
ADAMS: It’s one of the largest masajid in the area. Over the past year, it became the masjid stop in between farm visits in Leesburg and trips to Toosoo for falooda, with Ayesha’s preferred sound track playing in the background on the way. <3
The masajid and musalla’s we visit will always leave an imprint on our lives. Alhumdulillah for the masajid that have been a source of my solace and connection to Allah (swa) and for all the masajid I look forward to seeing in my future bi’ithnillah. :)
فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَن تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ
“In houses (mosques), which Allah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is glorified in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings.”
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ فِي قَلْبِي نُوراً، وَفِي لِسَانِي نُوراً، وَفِي سَمْعِي نُوراً، وَفِي بَصَرِي نُوراً، وَمِنْ تَحْتِِي نُوراً، وَعَنْ يَمِينِي نُوراً، وَعَنْ شِمَالِي نُوراً، وَمِن أَمَامِي نُوراً، وَمِنْ خَلْفِِي نُوراً، وَاجْعَلْ فِي نَفْسِي نُوراً، وَأَعْظِمْ لِي نُوراً، وَعَظِّمْ لِي نُوراً، وِاجْعَلْ لِي نُوراً، وَاجْعَلْنِي نُوراً، اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِنِي نُوراً، وَاجْعَلْ فِي عَصَبِي نُوراً، وَفِي لَحْمِي نُوراً، وَفِي دَمِي نُوراً، وَفِي شَعْرِي نُوراً، وَفِي بَشَرِي نُوراً،” [“اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ لِي نُوراً فِي قَبْرِي.. وَنُوراً فِي عِظَامِي”] [“وَزِدْنِي نُوراً، وَزِدْنِي نُوراً، وَزِدْنِي نُوراً”] [“وَهَبْ لِي نُوراً عَلَى نُورٍ”].
O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light and make me a light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light.