Church May Become City’s First Mosque

“A Toronto church may become the city’s first mosque.

Reginald Assim, president of The Muslim Society of Toronto, said yesterday the group has looked at several churches among other buildings, with a view to conversion.

In two months the society has pledged $10,000 toward the $100,000 estimated necessary to provide a mosque for the city’s 400 Moslems.

If a former church is used, the complete interior will have to be ripped out, as a mosque has no altar, pictures or statues, and Moslems worship on mats on the Floor.

Yesterday’s announcement was made as 200 Moslems met in a Dundas St. W. dance hall to celebrated the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan Canadian style — with coffee and cakes, sandwiches and tea.

Moslems from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, United Arab Republic, Burma, Russia and Yugoslavia heard recitations from the Koran, watched a playlet performed by society members, and sang folk songs of 10 countries.

Only other concessions to Eastern tradition were a sprinkling of saris and two or three turbans.

Most of the men wore lounge suits and the women smart spring dresses.

Their numbers underlined the growth of the city’s Moslem community.

Before the war, estimated Albanian-born Mr. Assim, 72, a retired confectionery manufacturer who has lived here nearly 50 years, fewer than 40 Moslems lived in Toronto.

The society was formed mainly to foster the teaching of Islam among the community’s children.

Many members are political refugees.

The society helped 50 of them here by providing sponsorship, finding jobs and guaranteeing support.”

The Globe and Mail, April 4 1960

Toronto’s first mosque to open

By WILLIAM JOHNSON

“Toronto’s Moslems will open the city’s first mosque next week.

The beginning will be modest, in a former Presbyterian church being renovated as a house of Allah.

Wednesday evening, prayers will be said there for the first time, with the faithful facing southeast in the direction of Mecca.

A mosque, once established, must by Islamic law never be torn down or put to other use.

The new mosque is on Boustead Avenue in the Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street area.

It is the responsibility of the Muslim Society of Toronto Inc., whose president is Mirza Qadder Baig, a Pakistani.

He is professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto.

The society includes members from more than a dozen countries, including several Canadian converts.

Toronto’s Moslem population has always been small because Canada’s immigration laws, until recently, restricted the admission of non-Europeans.

Now, with the influx of immigrants from India, Pakistan, the West Indies and North Africa, the number is growing and might be close to 5,000.

Moslems, until recently, tended to keep themselves inconspicuous, sensing that Canadians knew litter about Islam and cared even less for it.

“Not one person in 10,000 knows anything about Islam,” says Rajab Assim, who migrated to Toronto from Albania in 1911.

He remembers the anti-Islam propaganda during the First World War when Turkey was fighting on the side of Germany.

Then Moslems were portrayed as “savages who would kill anybody,” he says.

The word Islam connotates vague images of harems, of eunuchs armed with scimitars and flying carpets.

In schools, histories presented the Crusades as holy wars to liverate the Holy Land from the “infidels.”

The first great Western epic, the Song of Raland, showed Charlemagne’s armies slaughtering Saracens by the thousands.

Yet Islam is one of the great world religions, with more than 479 million adherents, or more than twice the number of Protestants. Islam was the foundation of a cosmopolitan culture in North Africa and Spain a thousand years ago, at a time when Christendom was struggling through its Dark Ages.

In fact, it was Islamic scholarship that helped revive learning in the West.

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is monotheistic.

Moslems are permitted by Islamic law to marry outside their religion with Jews and Christians, both called the People of the Book.

Moslems accept the Torah and the Gospels as genuine revelations, and Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus as genuine prophets of Allah.

Mohammed, they believe, was the last prophet to speak to men, and the Koran the last prophetic book, the word of Allah brought by the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed.

It is the Islamic rituals of worship, probably, that strike the non-Moslem as most distinctive.

The Moslem is enjoined by the Koran to pray to Allah five times a day: before the sun rises, when the sun is at the meridian, in the afternoon, just after sunset, and when going to bed.

In Moslem countries,

the call to prayer is sounded at the appointed time by a muezzin (crier) from the height of the mosque’s minaret.

Then people flock to the mosque, removing their shoes before entering, or they unroll their prayer rug where they are and prostrate themselves on it to pray.

In Toronto,

as is the case everywhere else, the Moslem is bound by the same daily obligation to pray, but most try to find a private spot to carry out their obligation so as not to provoke the stares or the jibes of Canadians not used to the sight of a Moslem at prayer.

The removal of shoes when entering a mosque and the use of a prayer rug are rooted in a concept of reverence which demands that a person addressing Allah should be clean.

Before praying,

the Moslem washes his face, his hands and arms to the elbow, and his feet.

He must pray in a clean place,

and so the mosque is kept scrupulous one of the reasons for the removal of shoes.

The prayer rug is simply a clean piece of cloth which the Moslem can have with him so that he can pray anywhere.

On Fridays, the holy day of the week, the Moslem attends noon prayers in the mosque, but first he must take a bath and put on his best clothes and some scent “to make the atmosphere of the mosque more pleasant,” Prof. Baig explained.

The Moslem’s life is interwoven with his religion.

When a child is born, parents whisper in its ear the Arabic words “Allah-U Akbar” (God is great) so the first word heard by the child will be the name of Allah.

When the child is about three and has memorized the first chapter of the Koran, the parents throw a party with relatives and friends coming to the feast and bringing presents to the child.

Every year, during the month of Ramadan, the Moslem must abstain from food, drink or intercourse between sunrise and sundown each day. at the end of the year, he must give 2½ per cent of all his savings in charity to the poor.

At least once in a lifetime,

each Moslem physically and financially able to do so must make the Hajj—the pilgrimage to Mecca which expresses the spiritual unity of all Moslems throughout the world, regardless of race, language or nationality.

“It was a very moving experience,” Dr. Baig said of his pilgrimage to Mecca last year.

“You find yourself in a different world altogether. Thousands of people all reciting the Koran, day or night, and all looking happy. There was not a single miserable face.”

After death, Moslems bury the body as soon as possible, without embalming.

The Islamic Society of Toronto has purchased a 1,000 grave lot in a the Glendale Memorial Gardens as a Moslem cemetery.

One of the functions of the new mosque will be to provide a forum for classes on Islam so that Canadians might become familiar with the religion.”

The Globe and Mail, February 22 1969

During Ramadan 2016,

when I was doing 30 Masjids in 30 Days Canada, I wasn’t able to visit any of our three northern Territories.

Breaking a Ramadan Fast in Nunavut, The Yukon, and/or the Northwest Territories, then blogging about it, remains something outstanding in these 10 years of blogging Ramadan on 30Masjids.ca

InshAllah, I may yet do that.

On this Eid Al Fitr 2020,

Here are quotes and photos from others about Drive-Thru Eid Al Fitr Celebrations hosted by Islamic Centre of Yellowknife . . .

Boxes of chocolate and goodie bags for children were handed out to celebrate Eid in Yellowknife on Sunday. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

Boxes of chocolate and goodie bags for children were handed out to celebrate Eid in Yellowknife on Sunday. (Danielle d’Entremont/CBC)

Monzur Choudhury hands out goodie bags to a local family on Sunday. Within the first hour of the Eid event, over 40 cars had driven by to pass along holiday greetings and collect the treats. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

Monzur Choudhury hands out goodie bags to a local family on Sunday. Within the first hour of the Eid event, over 40 cars had driven by to pass along holiday greetings and collect the treats. (Danielle d’Entremont/CBC)

Zaka Ullah (right) says the drive-thru Eid celebrations allowed people to feel connected despite the territorial government's restrictions on gatherings. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

Zaka Ullah (right) says the drive-thru Eid celebrations allowed people to feel connected despite the territorial government’s restrictions on gatherings. (Danielle d’Entremont/CBC)

“People have morning prayers where they meet each other, greet each other … and after, people normally have parties.

But this year with COVID[-19] going on we thought this was a nice way to get them out and get them connected,”

said Zaka Ullah, as he handed out chocolates.

Within the first hour of the event about 40 different cars had driven by.

Some were decorated with balloons; many cars were filled with smiling faces as passengers called out to organizers with the holiday greeting,

“Eid Mubarak!”

Eid is a day of happiness so we wanted to celebrate, we wanted to meet with people, and we wanted people to get out of their homes.

Awan said although it is difficult not being able to get together,

Sunday’s celebrations allow for people to focus their energy on supporting one another, rather than on material things, such as gifts.

“Islam is a very simple religion,” he said.

“Fasting is not just keeping hungry, it is all about having a better character, how beneficial you are to other people in the community, how caring you are — for your family and your friends and humanity.”

“We were just hoping to create some Eid festivities,”

said Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife.

“We decided that we’ll offer something that at least people can feel it’s Eid.”

Awan said Eid celebrations are usually held at large public spaces involving a reception and meal.

There is usually a community barbecue and gift exchanges to follow.

Awan said it was disappointing for the community to be unable to gather, but he understood the situation and felt they made the best of it.

“We put some smiles on the children’s faces and family’s faces,” he said.

The event brought over 65 cars to the drive-thru, held off Franklin Ave, where the new mosque is being built;

although construction of the mosque has been delayed as a result of COVID-19, Awan said.”

“Mashallah!!

Our Islamic Centre of Yellowknife had a good showing for Eid day as well.

About 75 families came through.

They also held a special Dawah🙏program delivering Eid gifts 🎁🎁🎁to children of mixed religious upbringing who don’t normally come to the mosque.

Kudos to our Yellowknife team that is over 4,700 KM away from here !!”

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Aid mobarak said for all

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Sayeda Khadija Centre has been hosting Drive-Thru Iftars for the faithful.

We thrice drove-thru those Iftar Pickups on Day 3, Day 10, and Day 24.

Today we experience Sayeda Khadija Centre’s Eid ul Fitr Drive-Thru Sweet Pickup.

They had a scheduled pickup start time of  7.a.m. early this Eid Al Fitr morning.

We were here around

We reached here around 11:30 a.m.

The driving-thru was pretty quick. We received one sweet for each of the three of us in the car.

“Sayeda Khadija Centre. A place to Pray, Learn & Play!”

We exchange Eid Mubarak greetings plus hand waves, not handshakes, and we were done!

 

“Eid,

a holiday that marks the end of 30 days of fasting during Ramadan,

was marked with a drive-thru barbecue instead of a large gathering to pray, celebrate and share food.

“It’s really an opportunity for people to see each other, at least from a distance,”

said Esseghaier.

He estimates that the Muslim community on Prince Edward Island totals almost 1,000 people,

many living in the Charlottetown area.

He said during a time that’s usually focused on togetherness,

it’s not easy to be apart.

But the global health pandemic has also made this Ramadan special in terms of supporting more time to reflect and to connect with family.

“It could be seen as a humbling experience, and also a reminder that there are a lot of things that are more important than what our worldly life is all about,” said Esseghaier.

One example, he said, is the way declining pollution levels during the pandemic have made clear the way daily routines impact the environment.

“So there might be some lessons that could be also learned from a pandemic.

And I hope that we will heed those lessons as well.”

He said it’s also been an opportunity to witness the strength and resilience of individuals and communities.

“I’m always amazed at the type of solidarity that develops among people in difficult times,” said Esseghaier.

“And I think in Canada we have shown very clearly that when things get tough,

people come together and support and help each other,

which is which is another silver lining as well.”

“The Muslim Society of PEI was in the process of arranging Eid prayer venue and Charlottetown Police provided assistance in securing the venue,

but Eid prayer plans were called off at the last moment to provide more safety and compliance with public health guidance.

The President of the Muslim Society of the PEI presented a gift to Charlottetown Police in appreciation and gratitude for their efforts.”

Alhumdulillah,

That was quick and fun!

A very nice experience visiting Al Huda Institute on this Eid Al Fitr 2020.

I was previously here on Night 2 of Ramadan 2019 for Isha and Taraweeh.

The line up of cars was orderly and everybody advanced easily in only a few moments.

This was a nice touch!

Balloons along the fence must have brought some smiles to children today.

Volunteers offered to tattoo Eid Mubarak greetings onto cars with washable inks.

There, see, Eid Mubarak !

Everything moved very smoothly, and with so few volunteers.

Paper Bags and not plastic bags. This was appreciated.

And just like that, we were receiving our Eid Al Fitr Drive-Thru Sweets.

Thank you Al Huda Institute Canada & Eid Mubarak !

 

 

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⭐️UPDATE⭐️ Eid is Saturday, May 23! Our Eid Drive Thru will happen on Sunday, May 24! ⁣ Asalamu alaikum everyone! ⁣ ⁣ We pray everyone had a blessed Ramadan and may Allah (SWT) accept our efforts and ibadah. Ameen!⁣ ⁣ 💝We definitely missed seeing you all and having the Masjid full during Ramadan nights but we can’t imagine seeing an empty masjid on Eid morning! Sooo…. We want to invite everyone to our Eid Drive Thru! ⁣ ⁣ ⭐️Join Al Huda Institute on Eid Morning (10am-12pm) for an Eid Drive Thru! Get your Eid goody bags, let us tattoo your cars with Eid Mubarak messages (with washable markers of course)! Most importantly let us share Eid Morning Salams and smiles like always!⁣ ⁣ ***Date of Drive Thru will be determined after the moon sighting. 🌙👀⁣

A post shared by Al Huda Institute Canada (@alhudainstitute) on

“⭐️UPDATE⭐️

Eid is Saturday, May 23!

Our Eid Drive Thru will happen on Sunday, May 24! ⁣

Asalamu alaikum everyone! ⁣

We pray everyone had a blessed Ramadan and may Allah (SWT) accept our efforts and ibadah. Ameen!⁣

💝We definitely missed seeing you all and having the Masjid full during Ramadan nights but we can’t imagine seeing an empty masjid on Eid morning!

Sooo….

We want to invite everyone to our Eid Drive Thru! ⁣

⭐️Join Al Huda Institute on Eid Morning (10am-12pm) for an Eid Drive Thru!

Get your Eid goody bags,

let us tattoo your cars with Eid Mubarak messages (with washable markers of course)!

Most importantly let us share Eid Morning Salams and smiles like always!⁣

***Date of Drive Thru will be determined after the moon sighting. 🌙👀⁣”

 

Eid Celebration Live

Posted by ISNA Canada on Sunday, May 24, 2020

 

Posted by ISNA Canada on Sunday, May 24, 2020

 

Posted by ISNA Canada on Sunday, May 24, 2020

 

“Are you Eid ready?

This may be a socially distant Eid but there is still a ton we can do to get in the spirit,

starting with…

*decorating our cars for the Eid drive-thrus*!

Deck out your car with ALL things Eid and join us at our drive thru where you can get boxes of sweets and goody bags!

Also don’t forget to tune into our Eid Takbeerat and Eid Show virtually on social media!”

Ajyal Islamic Centre in Vancouver delayed their regular Fajr Prayer time,

shown in this first image,

until 4:45 a.m. on the morning of Eid Al Fitr 2020.

This was done to bring it closer to the time for Eid Al Fitr Prayer, which is in the next image . . .

Eid Al Fitr Prayer, that you see above, was performed shortly after 6:05 a.m.

Ajyal Islamic Centre had previously closed completely as of March 20 2020 :

“Under the guidance of the Office of the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia and City of Vancouver,

we have temporarily closed the center until further notice.

During this time:

  • There will be NO scheduled Daily Prayers
  • There will be NO Jummah Prayers
  • There will be no in-center educational or social programs
  • All Ramadan activities remain suspended
  • All educational programs have switched to Online format.”

 

During the complete closure, on March 30 2020 there was break-in.

“…Around 4:20 pm two individuals broke the backdoor lock (sister’s entrance) and robbed the Masjid.

They caused a fair amount of damage to the center and stole a number of items.

We are still trying to conduct an full inventory but rough estimates put the damages and loss at around $5000.

We have reported the break-in to the Police and handed all relevant video footage.

Please continue to remember the Center in your Dua.”

If you want to help,

You can donate to Ajyal on their Donate Now webpage.

 

On May 2 2020, Day 9 of Ramadan 1441,

Ajyal Islamic Centre announced Limited Opening – Fajr and Isha . . .

“…As we navigate our way through the Covid-19 pandemic,

the Board has decided to open the Masjid for two prayers.

Starting today,

we will start praying Fajr and Isha prayers in congregation.

The social distances rules will be enforced and everyone is asked to bring in their own praying mats.

Currently we can accommodate a maximum of 30 people for each of the prayers.

Timings:

Fajr and Isha iqama times will be 10+ after the Athan times published on the Ajyal Ramadan Timetable.

 

Ajyal Islamic Centre is my Home Masjid in Vancouver.

AIC has been tagged at least 32 times on this blog, so far.

If I was in the Lower Mainland today instead of being in Ontario,

I would have joined them for Fajr and Eid Al Fitr Prayers.

 

 

 

Eid Mubarak Vancouver !