I believe that a person in any capacity must continually challenge himself to do better, bring new ideas, and adapt to the times to be relative to his surroundings.

Many people might assume that the business of a masjid is just routine – the daily prayers, and appointments for services like marriage, divorce, or counseling. But we, at the Prayer Center of Orland Park, are dedicated to take our institution beyond the routine of general services. We strive to provide Masjid activities that truly represent the two main themes mentioned in the Holy Quran as the purpose behind our existence. We read the first theme in the verse where Allah (SW) said: {I have not created humans or Jinn but to worship Me.} and we read the second theme in the verse where Allah (SW) said: {He is the One who brought you up in this land and established you [in a status of stewardship] in it.}

These two themes are referred to in Arabic as I’badah and A’marah, and for that, the Prayer Center, with its dedicated team, is willing to take on all challenges to implement such concepts.

The idea of I’badah and A’marah is not invested in just walls or buildings, but in people. Our focus is to invest in our own community for a better future for all.

After a long back and forth between our site planners and the Village of Orland Park to reach compliance for our petitioned rezoning, we are happy to announce that we finally got the approval to move forward with the permit for our parking expansion, as it is a necessity to fit the growing number of our community members attending our programs. Alhamdulillah, we have seen increased numbers of children and youth attending our weekly programs, as more new families are moving to Orland Park and the surrounding area. Friday prayers are also close to maximum capacity, and many times during the year we must open the banquet at the Quran Academy to fit all the community members attending Salat, especially during local holidays when more people are off work or out of school. The new parking expansion will bring a much needed level of convenience for the community, not just in the extra parking but also in the two new exits to 167th St and to 104th Ave that will ease traffic flow and minimize wait times exiting the parking lot.

Our second main project for 2019 is the exciting news of establishing a higher educational institution that will provide degrees in Islamic Studies, Arabic, and Education majors. This will be a joint effort between the Prayer Center of Orland Park and Universal School in Bridgeview. The thirst in our community among our youth and adults to learn Islam, Arabic, and Sharia was the driving force in implementing such an endeavor. We believe that establishing an institution locally will enhance the educational status of our community members, put higher educational classes within reach of those who may not have otherwise been able to study away from home, and make it easier for those looking to make a career in an Islamic educational vocation.

For this project, the Prayer Center is excited to announce the hiring of Sh Haitham Alzamareeh who has a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in Islamic Sharia from the Islamic University in Medinah. He will serve as an Imam and an academic advisor to our staff, as well as preparing the curriculum and study plans for the Islamic Studies program.

Our third main project is that we are planning a full calendar year throughout 2019 of programs to rotate around the Seerah of Rasulullah Mohammad (SAAW). Events like the Hijrah, the prophet’s birth, Isra’ and Mi’raj pass every year without many knowing or learning about them. We want to make sure our kids grow in loving the prophet (SAAW), and it has to start by understanding his life.

We will put forth our best efforts for you, and we will ask Allah (SW) for guidance and Tawfeeq. We have been blessed with an active and supportive community. You have shown that you love this house of Allah through your du’aa, your volunteerism, and your financial support. You have once again filled DiNolfo’s Banquet to capacity to show your support for your masjid, the Prayer Center, at our annual dinner, We Are Family. Through your generosity you helped us reach our targeted goal to ensure that 2019 will build a better tomorrow for our families. May Allah reward you and increase your wealth and hasanat infinitely.

We are proud to serve you, our community, our family, and we need your continuous Du’aa and support, Jazakum Allah Khairan.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha