Mission Accomplished: Woman Builds Dream Mosque in Vegas

  • Haseebullah donated $3 million of her own to the project, becoming the first woman to fund a mosque in North America entirely by herself.
  • “This is my mission accomplished. Now I hope that Allah gives me a good death”

For Sharaf Haseebullah, a 74-year-old Pakistani immigrant, a mosque fully funded by her was a dream that came true after building Masjid Ibrahim in Vegas three years ago, Religion News reported.

She donated $3 million of her own to the project, becoming the first woman to fund a mosque in North America entirely by herself.

Opened in January of 2016, Masjid Ibrahim is one of a handful of mosques serving the city’s estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Muslims.

Over the past three years, the mosque has become “part and parcel” of the Vegas community, said Imam Shamsuddin Waheed.

“Masjid Ibrahim offers a refuge,” said Waheed, who was leading a congregation in Toledo, Ohio, before Haseebullah hired him about a year ago.

“Our modern life can be stressful and disheartening. This place, where people gather for no reason other than to worship God, can be nothing but a light in a world that’s increasingly difficult.”

Mission Accomplished: Woman Builds Dream Mosque in Vegas - About Islam
Sharaf Haseebullah, left, visits Fatima Motti at Masjid Ibrahim in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 20, 2019. RNS photo Aysha Khan

Finding Peace

Stuck with one broken leg in Vegas, Fatima Motti found peace and light in her life after entering Masjid Ibrahim for the first time.

“This place saved my life,” the recent convert said after Friday prayers earlier this fall. “I was being attacked by shaytan (Satan), and then it stopped. I came here and I knew had to accept Islam.”

Motti spent years crisscrossing the country searching for meaning in her life. She worked as a dancer, as a wrestler, as a Sun Dancer with the Lakota Nation.

She found what she was looking for inside the prayer hall at Masjid Ibrahim. Seeing it for the first time, Motti said she’d seen the mosque and the surrounding street in a dream.

“I come here every Friday,” she said, the rhinestones on her slip-on hijab glinting. “I come here because it’s the only place I find light.”

Vegas Muslims

Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to the Pew Research center.

The Los Angeles Times 2004 five-part series on Islam in Southern Nevada estimated a population of 10,000 Muslims in Las Vegas, and local Muslim community leaders raised that figure to 18,000 in 2007.

They are served by five mosques, which include a public information center frequented by the city’s Muslim visitors.