An image of Masjid Muhammad after the renovations is shown here. (Courtesy of Masjid Muhammad)

An image of Masjid Muhammad after the renovations is shown here. (Courtesy of Masjid Muhammad)

Masjid Muhammad has launched a fundraising campaign for repairs to improve and expand their building.

The mosque was built over 50 years ago and needs to make the renovations to meet the demands to increase their services and outreach efforts, said Imam Tablib Shareef.

“The maintenance of a building that old hasn’t had a lot of upgrades over time and things are starting to fall,” said Shareef, citing the leaky plumbing system as an example.

Shareef said the renovations are necessary right now to meet the needs of their visitors and young people. Though membership has decreased due to people moving out of the District, the diversity has increased with members from over 40 countries.

Masjid Muhammad, known as the “Nation’s Mosque,” is the oldest Muslim community in D.C. It dates back to the mid-1930s and was established by the descendants of enslaved Africans, who met at numerous locations to practice their faith, including a funeral parlor until 1960 when the mosque was built. It is located on the 1500 block of 4th Street NW, designated as “Islamic Way.”

Shareef said the total cost for the renovations is $4.5 million, $1.5 million of which has been raised thus far. If Masjid Muhammad receives the full amount to make the upgrades, it can be completed within 12-15 months.

The responses they received were positive during an ANC meeting with Bradley Thomas and the D.C. Council.

“Now it’s going through the permit phase,” Shareef said.

A few people who are new to the community that had some concerns about the process to make the upgrades, he said.

“It was small stuff, so we responded to it,” Shareef said. “After the hearings, everything worked out. The biggest challenge right now is getting the money.”

Masjid Muhammad has a development team lined up and expect to have the permit approved by February 2020. If it is approved, the renovations will start early spring.

Shareef mentioned how everyone at Masjid Muhammad is thrilled about making the renovations.

“Everybody is excited,” he said. “About 15 percent of those who built the current building are still around and it was always the hope to build up a bigger expression. They didn’t have a lot of resources back then. They did what they could. They sacrificed and that’s what we need to do today.”

Masjid Muhammad is using numerous online platforms for the public to make donations towards the upgrades. They have a LaunchGood page set up to collect donations and using social media to get the word out about the renovations. Recently, they launched an ad on Facebook as part of their fundraising campaign and a building expansion video on YouTube.

Shareef said if people cannot make financial contributions to their fundraising campaign to pray for them doing their transition.

The renovations will also provide the youth with their own space and have more programming at the mosque. They have a parking lot at the property and Shareef wants to invite people to come there to have their meetings.

“Everything we do we want to invite the community,” he said.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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