By Duston Barto
It was in April of 1989 that a group of Muslims got together to form a group, calling themselves The Charlotte Masjid of Al-Islam. After a few years of meeting in homes of the community leaders, they were able to acquire a facility on Tuckaseegee Rd. In 1993, the community renamed itself Masjid Ash-Shaheed (Mosque of the Witness) to honor the memory of one of the founders. Under the leadership of Imam Khalil Akbar and many other strong individuals, the new Mosque facility was constructed in 2006 at the current location at 400 West Sugar Creek Rd.
The years since 2006 have been prosperous in growth for Masjid Ash-Shaheed. Eight years have seen the community gain additional property for a total of 8 acres. In that same time the attendance on Jumuah has increased so much that brothers spill out into the hallway and classrooms. Interfaith meetings fill the masjid with Jews, Christians, Sikh and Hindu to join Muslims to build bridges within the community. Along with special events, the masjid encourages community members to bring non-Muslim friends and family to taleem services on the 4th Sunday of every month. Masjid Ash-Shaheed has also established the “Strong-End School” on Sundays and Camp Connections (summer camp) to build the youth; they have prepared a community garden and subsequent farmers market so Muslims and non-Muslims alike have affordable access to fresh produce.
Ever still, the community grows. Now it has outgrown the current facility and has consulted with contractors for expansion, discovering the need to build an entirely new facility on the land. The long-terms plans include an all-purpose facility with a much larger prayer area, offices, classrooms, and a gym. The existing facility will be converted into a full-time Islamic school.
During Ramadan this year Imam Khalil, in consultation with staff and Masjid Shura, set fundraising goals and have many other fundraising efforts planned in order to prepare the Masjid financially for the great expansion project. The fundraising weekend was a grand event as they invited Imam Qasim Ahmed, a student of Imam Warith Deen Mohamed and well known community builder across the nation, and Imam Siraj Wahhaj to do the actual drive on Sunday night. Imam Qasim delivered a powerful khutbah during Jumuah services, he then taught an in-depth Qur’anic studies class on Saturday and an illuminating Taleem on Sunday. Imam Siraj Wahhaj came on Sunday evening to talk to the community about the power of the ummah and the expansion of the global Muslim family. He then appealed to the crowd which filled the Masjid beyond capacity and by the grace of Allah (SWT) over $70,000 in direct donations and pledges were collected on that one night.
Masjid Ash-Shaheed still needs help to grow and expand. The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) has said “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah – though it is the size of the ground nest of a sand grouse – Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Sahih, al-Albani). We at Carolina Muslims encourage the growth and expansion of all communities and we ask on behalf of Masjid Ash-Shaheed that if you can, share from the wealth that Allah has entrusted you with in order to see this community grow for another 25 years and beyond, Insha’Allah.
Masjid Ash-Shaheed’s official website: http://www.ashshaheed.com
Ash-Shaheed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Masjid-Ash-Shaheed/80208206134