Calling the adhaan.

Calling the adhaan.

I’m afraid our plans for Madinah Mosque have stalled for the moment, mostly because I can’t seem to generate sufficient interest in the community. There’s one brother who’s very interested.

But we’d be renting a store front for this Masjid, so what we need to get started is about 70 people who are each willing to commit to paying $20 per month. With that we could rent a space and pay our utility bills.

Maybe I haven’t been pushing as hard as I should because I’ve been fairly active in the MyDeen center here in Fresno, and MyDeen is fulfilling some (not all) of my hopes for Madinah Mosque.

This project does need to get back on track. Once the school year begins I’ll have more time to work on it, Insha’Allah.

Muslim women pray at Toledo Masjid Al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio, USA.

Muslim women pray at Toledo Masjid Al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio, USA.

This was a hard-hitting piece by Jamerican Muslimah, bringing to light the unequal treatment that woman receive in Masjids and at Masjid-sponsored Islamic events.

Muslim Male Privilege Checklist

These are issues that we hope to address in opening Madinah Mosque, Insha’Allah.

Fresno City College library. The new Madinah Mosque will be located near City College, Insha'Allah.

Fresno City College library. The new Madinah Mosque will be located near City College, Insha'Allah.

Madinah Mosque of Fresno, California, is still in the planning stage. We are aiming for an opening date of July or August 2012, Insha’Allah. The Masjid will be located as near to Fresno City College as we can manage.

Madinah Mosque will be the fifth Masjid (mosque) in Fresno. That may seem like a lot of Masjids for an American city of half a million. We had three reasons for conceiving of this new Masjid:

1. There’s a large Muslim community in Fresno and the surrounding Valley towns.

2. The area around City College is under-served, since three out of the four Masjids in Fresno (and Valley Crescent school as well) are in North Fresno or Clovis.

3. There’s a need for a Masjid that would welcome and serve communities that are currently being neglected.

In early 2012, a small group of Muslim brothers and sisters, most of whom met at the MyDeen Center in Fresno and were part of the Reverts Support Committe there, began talking about what they would like to see in a Masjid. Out of this was born the idea for Madinah Mosque, a new Masjid whose priorities would include serving the needs of Muslim converts, Muslim women, and the youth. Madinah Mosque will also be based on principles of transparency in governance and finances, Insha’Allah.

Some Principles of Madinah Mosque

The Madinah Mosque constitution and non-profit status have not been finalized yet, and the Masjid leadership has not been selected. So all these points are only introductory proposals and not set in stone.

1. Madinah Mosque is here to serve the needs of all Muslims regardless of race or nationality, or whether they are “raised Muslims” or “converted Muslims”. Any form of intolerance or exclusion is not permitted.

2. The Friday khutbah will be in English. Quranic ayaat should be quoted in Arabic if possible and then translated. However, the main text of the khutbah should be in English.

3. Madinah Mosque is dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of Muslim men and women. Women make up half the community and must not be ignored. Men and women will pray together in the main prayer hall. Men will be in front and women behind, or right/left. If a partition is used, it will consist of a low curtain or screen (1 meter high) so that the women can see the Imam, and can participate in community meetings.

4. At least 2 seats on the Shura Council will be reserved for women. Another 2 will be reserved for youth under the age of 25, while another 2 will be reserved for seniors above the age of 60. We have found that these are demographic groups that tend not to be well represented in Masjid leaderships.

5. For now all positions will be volunteer only, unpaid. In the future a full-time salaried Imam may be chosen. The Shurah will conduct an annual performance review of the Imam, and will vote every 5 years on whether to continue him in the position. The Imam can be removed at any time by a 3/4 vote of the Shurah.

6. In the absence of a full-time Imam (for example due to lack of funds), there will be a volunteer President. The President is the leader of the mosque and heads the Shurah Council, but is not necessarily the Imam for prayers and religious functions (that position should fall to whoever is most knowledgeable in Quran and Islam). A new President will be selected every two years by popular nomination and vote. All community members (male and female) 18 years and older, whose membership is in current standing and dues are paid, may vote.

7. The Shurah Council positions will be unpaid, as will other positions such as Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Coordinator, Fundraising Coordinator, etc. All officers will be elected every two years by popular vote. The Imam may participate in Shurah meetings and will hold two votes.

8. Names of all officers, along with duties and telephone numbers of each, will be permanently posted on the wall of the Masjid. The date of the next election will also be permanently posted.

9. There will be no campaigning for positions. On election day, all members of the community will gather. Nominations will be asked for, and will be written on a board. No one may nominate himself. Once all nominations have been received, a vote will be held and results announced immediately.

10. Financial records of the Masjid (donations collected, bank account balances, salaries paid, expenses, etc) will be made available for viewing to any Masjid member upon request.

11. Islamic education for men and women will be a priority of the Masjid. That includes basic Islamic education for converts, as well as Quran classes, Seerah, Arabic, Fiqh, etc.

12. Da’wah will be a priority of the Masjid. That includes community outreach, interfaith programs, setting up da’wah booths at community events, welcoming converts and having programs in place for them, and welcoming non-Muslims to the masjid.

13. Education of the youth will be a priority of the Masjid. There will be Islamic education classes for youth, but there will also be entertainment for youth such as a playground, sports teams, and Islamic events hosted and run by them. Youth will be given responsibility in the Masjid, involved in Masjid decisions, and groomed for future leadership.

14. The Masjid will be open to all Muslims, no matter their madhab or sect. No one will be turned away. However it should be clear that the Masjid is founded upon the principles of the Quran and authentic Sunnah of Rasulullah (sws). Anyone found to be actively preaching or pushing an ideology contrary to this can be removed from the membership rolls by a 3/4 vote of the Shurah (an appeals process will be available).