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Philadelphia Mosque Works for Community Prosperity

Opening doors two decades ago, a local mosque in Germantown, Philadelphia continues to intersect itself into the dynamics of the neighborhood, hosting conversations with the neighbors and helping those in need of all faiths, WHYY.org reported.

“We have one of the largest communities in Philadelphia as it relates to the mosque,” Hassan Abdi, the imam of Germantown Masjid, said.

The mosque was established more than 20 years ago. Today, it attracts Muslims from all over Philadelphia who come to the weekly Friday prayer service, reaching sometimes from 800 to 1200 people.

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The mosque also has a school and offers a place for daily prayers.

“We have been here for quite a while so we know the neighborhood,” said Isa Underdue, a contractor by trade and one of the leaders of the Muslim community.

The mosque regularly raises funds and runs food drives for their Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors.

“We believe in order for communities to prosper, it can’t always be government funded,” Abdi said.

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“When it’s community-based [organizing and charity,] and people have to sacrifice and donate, then it’s more sincere and effective because everybody is involved in the struggle,” he continued.

Germantown Masjid is not the only one serving those in need.

Last month, the Muslim community of Faizan‐e‐Madina Mosque in Peterborough raised thousands of pounds of food to help needy people all over the world

A Birmingham mosque opened its doors last February to help homeless and rough sleepers during freezing winter temperatures

A mosque in the Malaysian capital city, Kuala Lumpur, introduced last February a novel way to offer rice to the needy via a specially designed Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat or donating and charity is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It’s a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich, and is considered to be tax or obligatory alms.

Islamic Shari’ah also has another type of optional donation called Sadaqah. This term was used in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah for both zakat and charity.