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By Selma Cook

Masjid at-Taqwa has not actually been built it. However, it has been on the drawing board for 15 years! The people organizing the fundraising for this project see the importance of having a masjid that is not based on ethnicity and one that will cater to the growing needs of the youth in terms of spiritual development while providing a much-needed social and recreational outlet. In 15 years, Sheikh Musa has only managed to collect about one quarter of the funds needed to build this masjid, but in one night, they collected a huge amount. What did the speakers say to move the people’s hearts to give so generously? Read on and find out!

First on the stand was Abur Raheem Green who is a well-known and much-loved da`i for the Muslims, specifically the youth in London.

Given the growing number of reverts, especially among the youth, Green began by saying, “Don’t ask yourself why you became a Muslim, ask yourself why you stay a Muslim?” He said that Islam has bits and pieces of all religions but only Islam is the complete package.  He added that when people live Islam and taste how beautiful it is and how powerful it is they will know their purpose in life.

He went on to discuss the significance of death and how society makes us obsessed with enjoyment, so we avoid thinking about it. However, Green noted that on the Day of Judgment the reality will strike us and on this day everything will be taken into account.

Then Green began discussing how Muslims relate to the ‘other’ in the UK. He said that Muslims are living in isolation, but we have to know our neighbors, and should take time out to do that and think about them and about all those who do not know the beauty of Islam. He reminded the audience that the Quran tells us that Almighty Allah created man to worship Him and that every Muslim believes that we should only submit to Him and that we should believe in Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) seeking mercy, benefit and well-being for humanity. He noted that Islam is all about morals, manners and behavior.

He cited examples from the Prophet’s life (peace and blessings be upon him). He mentioned how the enemies of Islam at that time still left their valuables with him (peace and blessings be upon him) because he was trustworthy. He emphasized that there is no need to argue in a rude manner as this is a sign of a person who is ignorant and uncertain in his faith.

Then he moved on to talk about the Muslim’s responsibility to their community. He mentioned how the Muslim cannot satisfy his hunger while his neighbor is hungry because a believer cares about his neighbors whether they are Muslim or not. He also mentioned a hadith saying that a person is not a believer if his neighbor is not safe from him.

After this, Green moved on to some issues of great importance to Muslims living in the UK. He mentioned that Muslims must care for the orphans, the oppressed and the needy. He added that jihad means to struggle to make obedience to Allah the Highest in yourself, your family and your environment, so how can we kill and be violent? He noted that Muslims should struggle to relieve people and protect them from weakness and oppression.

He noted that if Muslims achieve concentration in their prayer their life will be transformed. He emphasized that our life in this world is preparing us for the life we will have in the next; our deeds will carry us safely or make us stumble and fall.

In this way, Green prepared the audience to have the spirit of giving. After all, the reason behind the gathering of more than 1500 people, was to raise money to build Masjid at-Taqwa. In concluding he noted that Muslims must get rid of everything in life except what will take us to Paradise. “Down size your life!” he said. “If Allah is your provider, your protector and so on, do you need anything else?”

After Green’s closing remarks, there were three loud takbirs, indicating the audience’s approval of what he said.

The next person to take the floor was Khalid Yaseen, an Amercian da`i from the US who was trained by Malcolm X. He was a very powerful speaker and succeeded in motivating the audience to give a lot of money to build the masjid.

He opened his remarks with a loud clear voice praising Allah and giving the usual introduction that all bid`ah is in Hell. He had the audience’s complete attention.

Then he said directly, “The idea and spirit of this event tonight is to develop Masjid at-Taqwa which has been around for 15 years. People are not giving. The character of Muslims is when people of integrity want to do something in the community, the Muslim follows and cooperates. We are talking about paying 2,500,000 British pounds to build a masjid.” Then he stopped and was silent for a few moments.

“In the last 20 years more than 73 Islamic organizations have secured buildings in London. 64 of them were for a specific ethnic group or ideological group. So the problem in raising money for such a building is no problem because it is for them! But Masjid at-Taqwa is not restricted to one certain group. This masjid is for grass roots inner city in London. There is a masjid in London that cost 3,000,000 to build but only 10 people on average a day turn up for Fajr Prayer! A masjid has to be built in the heart before we build the bricks!”  There were loud takbirs!

Then Yaseen noted that in 15 years only 250,000 British pounds has been collected for Masjid at-Taqwa. He said with great seriousness that this means Muslims are not making the right commitments. “There are no poor people here tonight! Some brothers are so overweight they look like they are pregnant! Everyone has phones and cars,” he said loudly.

Then Yaseen told a story of his recent trip to Guyana. He took a boat up the Amazon river and saw a masjid there in the middle of nowhere. There was a gathering and 1500 people attended. Then he said, “It takes 100 Guyana dollars to make one British pound! Their masjid cost eight million British pounds! They are poor people and some had no shoes. We eat too much and talk too much and we lack commitment.” The audience grew silent.

Then he told the audience that there were about 1500 people attending the event that night and if the people spend on the masjid like they spend on their own houses the money will be raised. Then he mentioned a hadith that if someone builds a masjid the size of a nest he will have a house in Paradise, noting that people who give to this project will share in the reward of all that happens in the masjid til the day of judgment. After that he said with great meaning, “Some people who are here today will be dead before next year and there is no tomorrow. There are people here who earn about two hundred thousand pounds a year – no one gets less that 15,000 a year! No one here is poor!”

“How many people are wiling to give and commit to this project?” The audience stirred.

“Who’ll give 10,000?” In less than a minute, one woman raised her hand.
“Who’ll give 5,000?” Eleven people, men and women, raised their hands.
“Who’ll give 3,000?” Seven people, men and women raised their hands.
“Who’ll give 2,000?” Nine people, men and women raised their hands.
“Who’ll give 1,000?” Twenty-six people, men and women raised their hands.

“We want to make 200,000 tonight!” There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air.

“Who’ll give 5,000?” One man shouted out ‘7,000’!
“Who’ll give 3,000? Three people raised their hands.
“Who’ll give 2,000?” Two people.
“Who’ll give 1,000?” One person.
“Who’ll give 500?” Thirteen people.
“Who’ll give 300?” Seven people.
“Who’ll give 100?” Thirty-six people.

And so it continued until 200,000 was raised. Volunteers went around the audience giving commitment papers to be filled out by those who pledged money. Women in niqab were also going around the audience selling t-shirts with the words ‘Bringing some Taqwa to town’ written on the front. There were Muslims from all walks of life and nationalities attending. With men sitting on one side and women sitting on the other, they all took part, pleased to be making a difference.

Muslims making
a Difference