Muslims gathered at the Islamic Center of Mastic-Shirley [ICMS] for the annual `Eid prayer, marking the end of Ramadan. The prayer offers time to reflect on a month of fasting as well as a chance for attendees to enjoy each other’s company.
The theme of the khutbah this year was seeking joy and growth. Imam Abdul-Lateef mentioned the types of joy Muslims have in connection with Ramadan and beyond.
Imam Abdul-Lateef first talked about the two joys that come from fasting.
“According to the hadith in Sahih Muslim, a person attains joy at iftar, when breaking their fast every day during Ramadan. There is more joy for the person at the time of meeting his Lord and getting the reward for fasting.”
This day of ‘`Eid is also a joy for us. We are celebrating with family and friends, some of whom we may not have seen for a long time. We enjoy their company and will be doing the same in Jennah.
When we enter the Jennah, we will be reunited with our family and friends we lived with here in the Dunya. So, joy for the believer comes in many forms and from multiple avenues as we worship Allah.”
The imam next mentioned the need to expand the center’s facility due to the growing community. For over seventeen years, the ICMS has serviced area Muslims, making regular prayer as well as children and adult classes. The mosque opened with enough capacity for only forty worshippers and has expanded to accommodate up to four hundred. “Alhamdulillah, our community continues to get bigger, and we have been able to expand the masjid to service our members, but the current building has reached its limit.”
This year, an opportunity to begin an expansion project of the small facility presented itself to community members. “After numerous failed searches for land to build a new masjid, a chance to buy multiple lots became available,” Imam Abdul-Lateef explained to About Islam that they began fundraising for the required $360k a week and a half after Ramadan began and raised approximately 30k that day. “People have been very generous, and we anticipate that they will continue to be until we have all of the funds needed.”
Imam Abdul-Lateef told AboutIslam that the size of the Mastic-Shirley Muslim community requires a specialized facility. “It is essential that we can build a larger facility from the ground up. Purchasing this property is the first step in accomplishing that goal.”
ICMS is one of many mosques across Long Island focused on growth to fulfill the needs of Muslims better. It serves as a place of worship and learning for Muslims from a breadth of backgrounds including, native-born American, South Asian, Caribbean, West African and Middle Eastern. The `Eid prayer’s diverse makeup demonstrates the center’s commitment to inclusion and burgeoning numbers.
“The community has grown in a couple of important ways,” explained Imam Abdul-Lateef. “Many people have migrated from the city and other parts of Long Island to Mastic-Shirley.”
“Several Americans have and continue to accept Islam in the area. We witness about ten to fifteen people entering the faith a year—this is not including many annual shahadah’s that I witness as the imam in the county’s jails.”
The center also hosts Muslims from across the country and globe. Felisha Ali from Tampa, Fl visiting her daughter attended the prayer and breakfast with her sister Aklima Ali-Ney [United Kingdom] and cousin Nazeema Rahman [Germany]. “This is a nice community,” Ali told About Islam.
“We have always been a diverse community,” said Imam Abdul-Lateef. “Our board members represent different backgrounds, and every Ramadan and `Eid, we see how rich we are in culture. It comes with its challenges, but we work through them and grow together.”