Spending my vacation in Lebanon for the past month and visiting with many of the prominent Imams and Sheikhs there made me appreciate one major difference between mosques in the United States compared to mosques overseas. That difference being the self-supporting financial ability to maintain professional services to our community.

If you exclude wealthy countries like the Gulf, most of the mosques in the Arab and Muslim world are in dire financial situations. There are no practical budgets to sustain mosques. Much of the financial resources come from other wealthy countries, though not on a regular or timely basis, and after distribution it is so little that many of the Imams are forced to seek other sources of income which thereby negatively affects their time and ability to perform services for their communities.

In general, most of the mosques in the USA are self-supported by the congregants who attend.  Our community is a shining example of generosity and support that has never failed to answer the call to sustain the Masjid and the Quran Academy services and programs.

I believe it is a two-way relationship. The mosque, with its dedicated team, provides much needed religious and educational services, and in return, the community who wants and needs these services will appreciate and donate in support. Since I joined OPPC I wanted to focus on this equation. Maintaining presence during Salat times, being available for religious services like marriage, divorce, and counseling, and providing educational programs to the community, particularly to the youth to help them during their vulnerable years to cultivate a positive Muslim identity, were all reasons for the community to respond generously in supporting the Masjid in its financial needs. The Quran Academy with its focus on the Quran was another reason for families to bring support by bringing their kids to learn Quran and Islamic Studies.

A Responsible Community

Such generosity testifies really on the sense of maturity and responsibility of our community. At a time when many communities around the world are waiting for support and grants from different venues, our community has demonstrated the true sense of faith in depending on ourselves to make our organizations, especially our Masjid, grow and succeed.

All tenets of Islam are based on the sense of responsibility, as Allah (SW) said: {Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant} 33:72. This is the trust of the Amanah that everything else falls under, from rituals to ethics to rulings, in Islam.

A Free Community

When people donate directly to the Masjid and its programs, it remains free from the strings of political and special interest groups who only want to use or dictate services for their own benefit. It will keep the Imam free to deliver the messages he feels are relevant to the community without any censorship that will affect the truth and the quality of the message.

How many times have we heard the verse in the Quran where Allah (SW) says: {And know that Mosques are for God so do not invoke with God anyone} 72:18, but we have all seen and witnessed governments and groups forcing and dictating topics to the Imams that will never contribute to the wellbeing of the Muslim Ummah at all.

A Blessed Community

From those who put the one dollar in the donation box after Friday Khutba, to those who make the pledges during Ramadan, or those who donate during our annual dinner, you all have earned the love of Allah (SW) and His prophet Mohammad (SAAW).

The Prophet (SAAW) reminded us that money donated for righteous causes shall never decrease. “Of three matters I make an oath that they are true: a donation will never decrease your wealth, God always honors one who forgives another, and God always raises one who demonstrates humbleness.”

Donations are one of the best ways to erase one’s sins and faults. The prophet (SAAW) said: “Fasting is a shield (from fire) and donations put out sins like water puts out fire.”

Money donated towards service, especially in building mosques or maintaining mosques, are rewards that last and follow you even after your death. The prophet (SAAW) said: “If one dies, his deeds shall cease (to bring rewards) except in three cases: an ongoing donation, teaching knowledge that brings benefit, or a blessed son making Dua.” And I can say that anyone who donates to the Masjid will get these three rewards together, insha Allah. The donations will keep the rewards coming, the knowledge is taught and our kids are benefitting, and they will hopefully continue to make dua for their parents.

Dear Respected Community Members,

On behalf of myself, the OPPC staff, board and volunteers, I would like to thank you for your continuing support of the Prayer Center, and I ask you to join us in our annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at the DiNolfo’s Banquet in Homer Glen.

We are putting together a great program for you, including our keynote speaker, Imam Mohammad AlMasmari from Michigan. We will have a lovely dinner, some inspiring information, and a full children’s program. Just as you, our beloved Community, always Inspires us to Aspire to greater heights in providing programs and services, please be generous to ensure our future generations will continue to be Inspired to Aspire to greatness through what they gain from the Prayer Center of Orland Park.

I look forward to see you there.

Sh. Kifah Mustapha