I do believe that every Ramadan is special, but for this year, it is not an ordinary one indeed.

After we missed the beauty of being together in the Masjed last year because of the pandemic lockdown, this Ramadan comes with much desperation to quinch our thirst for spiritual elevation and make up for what was missed last year. Ramadan has always been a faith station that people need to boost their faith in God through fasting and other forms of worship, especially the night prayers after Isha, Al-Taraweeh. No one would have ever thought that masajid would be closed for taraweeh! But as we all know, because of COVID restrictions in 2020, even Friday prayers were not allowed in person. We were all happy and grateful to Allah to finally be able to enjoy praying together once again, though still with some restrictions. The staff and volunteers at the Prayer Center are excited to serve our beloved community during this blessed month, insha Allah.

This Ramadan also comes with a great establishment that our community has been eagerly awaiting. After five years of your generous donations, and a lot of back and forth with Village permits and requirements, we can finally celebrate the opening of the parking lot expansion project, Al-Hamdulillah. More than 160 parking spots will be added with an extra exit on 167th street which will make the traffic flow easier for all. The main part of the project is complete, with the finishing touches of landscaping to be added later this spring.

This Ramadan, more family members will be able to visit each other and enjoy Iftar together because of the vaccinations now available. The Prayer Center was the first Mosque in the Chicago area to offer that service to more than 300 individuals from our community, Al-Hamdulillah. The providers of the vaccination drive from Osco Drug spoke about how professional we were in handling logistics for people coming to get vaccinated.  Matthew, the Osco Drug manager, said that the Prayer Center was the best facility out of twenty vaccination sites he participated in.

This Ramadan our hands will all be raised high making Du’a in Witr, asking Allah (SW) to heal the ill among us and to bestow His Mercy on those who have left us to return to Him. There are so many of us who look forward to the beautiful words of Du’a by our Imam Jafar Hawa as a beautiful ending to each night of prayer during this blessed month.

This Ramadan, people in less fortunate circumstances than ours will be making supplications for the ones who have opened their hearts and their wallets in generosity to help alleviate their suffering. Many of the humanitarian relief organizations that you know and trust will be with us during the nights of taraweeh to give you a chance to elevate your status by pleasing Allah and helping others, locally and around the world.

This Ramadan, lectures, and programs during the day for our youth and adults will be available again, insha Allah. I believe this helps in bringing tranquility and peace to our minds and hearts in such challenging times.

One last thing, this Ramadan we will share with you some exciting news during Lailatul Qadr, and we know you will be as happy and excited as we are, by the grace of Allah.

May all your days be of Eid and all your night be of Qadr.

Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem.

Sheikh Kifah Mustapha