30Mosques.com | Day 4 – Pennsylvania, Bawa’s Fellowship, A Photo Essay (Pt. 2)

By Bassam Tariq

We arrive in Coatesville, PA around 5:30 PM at the East Fallowfield farm. It is cold and cloudy. I get out of our Chevy Cobalt and walk towards something called the “Bawa Garden.” The stop here is supposed to be a short one. We are scheduled to be at United Muslim Mosque in Philadelphia for break fast. We are greeted by a man named Chuck who meets us with three hugs and a firm handshake. I look over at this beautiful white building and ask Chuck what is that building. “Oh, that’s the mazhar, the burial area of a saint.”

A Mazhar in Pennsylvania?

Chuck mentions it’s the first Mazhar in the Americas. It was built in 1986 to honor the Sufi Saint, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Aman and I get a small tour with Chuck around the Mazhar and the prayer area.

Thirty minutes pass and it’s time for us to hit the road towards Philadelphia. There is something special about this place and I feel it would be criminal to leave. I tell Aman to give my salams to the people in Philly and decide to stay back.

The following photos are taken at the East Fallowfield farm branch of the Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship.

The entrance to the Bawa Garden, a small farming grounds where the congregants were encouraged by Bawa to farm.

Noah places flowers near his grandfather’s grave at the burial site by the Mazhar. Noah is a third generation member of the fellowship.

The headstone of a fellowship member. Bawa bought the East Fallowfield farm land because the difficulties they faced in burying through the government. This land gave them the autonomy to bury the dead with the dignity they deserved, Muslim or non-Muslim.

A picture of Bawa Muhuaiyadeen inside the center. Pictures of Bawa can be found throughout the center. Except for the prayer areas of course.

A picture of Bawa Muhuaiyadeen from the photo book, “The Mirror.” Bawa’s short time in Pennsylvania was well documented and photographed by the fellowship members.

Khalida supplicates at the tomb of Bawa. People from all over the world come to visit Bawa’s Mazhar.

Chuck, our guide at the East Fallowfield farm, takes a minute to meditate at the Mazhar. Unlike most Mazhars in South Asia, Bawa’s is a quiet and tranquil place. No singing, music or speaking is allowed.

Tayba, left, and her sister, Khalida, cook vegetarian dishes for iftaar. Both sisters are from Peshawar, Pakistan and have been a part of the fellowship for more than ten years.

A Pakistani family traveled two hours from Virginia to pay their respects to Bawa and break their fast with the congregation.

The women of the fellowship line up for the maghrib prayer.

A small group supplication takes place after the prayer in the outdoor mosque.

Mohammad Abdullah, the caretaker of the mazar, leads the congregation in supplication.

Nina and Sohaiba, two veteran members of the fellowship, clean up after the break fast dinner.

Two congregants embrace each other after the Ramadan night prayer in Philadelphia. The masjid behind the congregants was the first masjid to be built in Pennsylvania that resembled a mosque. Bawa designed the complex.

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