North Miami Islamic Center/As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah (formerly Masjid Shamsuddin)

This profile was last updated in 2004

History

At the end of 2000, some Muslims who lived in different areas of Miami but worked in North Miami gathered and thought of establishing a mosque. They needed an Islamic center or mosque in order to fulfill their prayer obligations. In December 2000, they rented a room in a business area at 365 NE 167 St, North Miami, and used it as a mosque. The room is still rented today. It is the Mosque Shamsuddin. This mosque is one of the newest in the area. Demographics Basically, this mosque does not organize any kind of membership. Any Muslim, regardless his/her ethnic, national, and cultural background, can come to the mosque at any time and with any religious purpose: to perform prayers, read Islamic books, ask about Islam, and so forth, and be considered a member. Therefore, Muslims who are involved in the mosque come from many backgrounds, such as Middle Easterners, Africans, Africa-Americans, Latin-Americans, Indonesians, Native Americans and so forth. No one ethnicity dominates the others. Muslims who attend Friday prayer usually number 150-250 people, whereas Muslims who join daily prayer number only 10-20 people. Description of the Mosque The mosque is about 2,000 feet square. Its floor is covered by carpet and its walls are beautified by Arabic calligraphy of certain verses of the Holy Qur’an. The places for women and men are divided by bookshelves which are used to hold Islamic books, part of the mosque library. There are two entry doors, one for men and one for women. The mosque was originally led by an Imam who had been informally inducted, not formally elected, by the members of the mosque. The current Imam, Br. Fuad Farabi, was recommended by the previous Imam, who himself had graduated from Al-Azhar University and later left his home country, Egypt. The previous Imam and the current Imam were studying the Holy Qur’an together. Therefore, the previous Imam already knew the current Imam’s capability to be an Imam. In addition to the Imam, the mosque also has a Syura board. According to an attender, an Imam has to be knowledgeable in Islamic Studies, which encompasses the study of aqidah (Islamic theology), syariah (Islamic law), and muamalah (Islamic teaching on daily life). In addition, their Imam must also be able to speak and understand both Arabic and English fluently. Religious services, mainly the five daily prayers, are conducted in Arabic, whereas sermons, educations, and social activities are in English. There are also lots of materials such as books, bulletins, brochures, newspapers, magazines, and announcements provided and they are in English. However, the translation of the Holy Qur’an is provided not only in English versions but also in Spanish, German, and French. Programs/Activities The mosque, under the management of an Imam and the Syura board, provides religious, educational, and social activities, such as:1. The Five Daily prayers.2. The Friday Prayer.3. Ramadan Programs (ifthar –breaking the Ramadhan fasting every day during the month, shalat taraveeh –the night prayers, and Qur’anic studies both tafseer [Qur’anic exegesis] and tajweed [how to recite the Holy Qur’an correctly]).4. Managing and organizing zakat (almsgiving), infaq and sadaqah (charity): accommodating and distributing.5. Islamic Festivals: Eid al-Fithr & Eid al-Adha.6. Classes for children (every evening from Monday to Thursday/between ashar and maghrib).7. Classes for women (sisters): twice a month (participants: 10-20 people).8. Serving aqiqah, marriage, and Islamic funeral. 9. Library: providing and distributing free Islamic books and the Holy Qur’an for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Affiliation When asked the mosque’s affiliation with a school of Islamic thought, the community said that they follow the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah (Sunni) school, which recognizes four legal Islamic schools (fiqh): Hanafi, Maliki, Syafi’i, and Hambali. In terms of other non-profit Muslim organizations, the mosque links to the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA). Interreligious Dialogue and the Impact of 9/11 As an organization, this mosque has never been involved in any inter-religious activity. It does not have any program relating to non-Islamic activities. According to a community member, the community focuses on activities relating to Muslims’ interests, as indicated in the programs above. This is because this community is still relatively new. However, as individuals, some members are involved in interreligious dialogue activities. The Imam himself frequently took part in interfaith activities, especially when he was attending Barry University in Miami. In addition, the Mosque Shamsudin welcomes every one, including non-Muslims, and is open to interreligious dialogue. The member said that the community does not have any trouble with that activity, and recognizes its importance in American social life. This society is inevitably plural; therefore, everyone has to appreciate the others. This point is part of muamalah (the Islamic teaching about daily life, which is contextually adjustable). though it has nothing to do with aqidah (Islamic belief/theology) and ibadah (prayers). This means that interreligious dialogue in the sense of human to human relationship to obtain better lives and mutual understanding is encouraged by Islam. However, the dialogue should not involve shared prayer or result in syncretism. In responding to the 9/11 attack, the Imam acknowledged that it created a certain stereotype or stigmatization toward Muslims as terrorists. Although Muslims in the community were never physically harassed, they felt psychologically bothered by the negative images. However, the Mosque Shamsudin did not change any of their programs because of the 9/11 tragedy, continued all of them. The informant stressed that people who construct such stereotypes and stigmatize Muslims do not understand Islam very well.