Sunnat-ul-Jamaat's Past, Present and Future
The Past:The President, Imam, distinguished speakers, invited guests, brothers and sisters, as-salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmatu Allah (I greet everyone with the universal greeting of peace!). My brief report this afternoon will put our masjid and organization into historical perspective, looking at its past, present, and future state of programs and activities. In the mid-70s, a small group of about 20 Trinidadian Muslims, males and females, used to meet at different homes in Brooklyn and Manhattan to conduct religious functions, including Eid celebrations and the Prophet’s birthday. In March 1976, they formed a corporation with its address at 1011 Barby Street, Brooklyn, NY 11207.
During the 80s, the core group continued to meet mainly in Brooklyn at a basement in the home of Brother Shamshuddin Mohammed, the then president. Later, the base of operations moved to Queens at the home of Kelly, the brother of the current president, where a new board was formed, serving for about 2 years and conducting various religious activities. In June 1998, the corporation filed for legal non-profit with the state under the original name Sunnat-ul-Jamaat of NY Inc. The previous executives were Satar Mohammed – Imam; Hajji Evans-Khan – President; and Esau T. Baksh – Treasurer.
In this period, a major fundraiser was organized at the former Sophie roti shop to raise funds to purchase a building to house a masjid for the Muslim group. Meanwhile, activities of the group continued at the home of Hydar, then Public Relations Officer (PRO), operating there for about 2 years. Another 2 years were spent at Carpet Bird premises. In November 1998, the group occupied the building at 112-03 101 Avenue, S Richmond Hill, Queens, which cost $150,000 USD. Subsequently, a board decision was made to upgrade and renovate the property.
The Present:Last December 2013, general elections were held and a new board was elected. Thirteen individuals were elected. The officers of the current board are the President – Nazir Rahaman; Imam – Ahamad Ali; Secretary – Wazir Mohammed; and Treasurer – Fazil Khan. We also have serving as our resident shaykh Dr. Fiazuddin Shuayb. Our masjid is now open to the public for 5-time daily Salaah, including Jum’ah services. Also held at the masjid are several Islamic education and Tarbiyyah programs for various cross-sections of the community, including separate Tajweed al-Qur’an classes for brothers and sisters; Ta’leem program for adults (brothers and sisters) in Islamic Studies; a monthly public lecture and dinner; and Sunday madrasah for children ages 5-15. These programs are well attended and supported with potential for growth and development. Recently, we formed a Sisters Committee, which is functioning. We continue to maintain the premises and upgrade it in order to make it compliant with the law and user friendly.
The Future:The new board envisages a bright and progressive future for Sunnat-ul-Jamaat of NY Inc. We would like to rebuild our Jamaa’ah and have our masjid realize its full potential in serving the wider Muslim community through providing an inclusive space for worship, Islamic education, da’wah (inviting others to Islam), inter-faith programs, humanitarian projects, and establishing more committees like a Youth, Building & Maintenance, Social & Welfare, and Economic & Finance.
In terms of immediate objectives, we wish to pay off the last remaining debts of the masjid, which is approximately $35,000, raise enough funds to cover the annual operating cost of about $22,000, and also provide for the services of a full-time muezzin to call the adhaan, open and close the masjid for Salaah timings, and clean the masjid. We want to complete the masjid project, acquiring all the necessary legal permits. We wish to achieve these objectives through fund raising ventures, including an upcoming brunch at the masjid, a family excursion at a point of interest in New York State, and a membership drive. We cannot do all of these things without the help and guidance of Allah and your generous participation, contributions, and donations. In conclusion, I direct your kind attention to the membership and pledge forms on your tables. Please fill them out and return them to us. I pray that Allah guide us and join our hearts in sincerity, love, and unity, enabling us to be better Muslims, ameen!