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THE ROLES OF THE OLD KENT ROAD MOSQUE AND ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTRE

Alhaji Yusuff Oluwa 24 May 2016

The present defined roles of M.A.N are not different from the roles established by the founding fathers some forty years ago but they cover a wider scope of Islamic issues as dictated by new developments in the community.

It was gathered that despite enormous input of efforts in the 60s by the founding fathers, the

Association was not able to fulfil some of its aims simply because of inadequacy of facilities and resources. Coupled with this was fact that some of them went back to Nigeria after their sojourn in UK. This explained why the trend of co-ordination and significant achievement were lost between late sixties and late eighties.

The courage and banner were then picked up by the new generation of relentless and bold Muslim brothers and sisters. They built staunchly on the idea of acquiring an Islamic Cultural Centre where most of the problems confronting the Association would be addressed.

In 1987 and 1989, fundraising activities were launched in London and in Lagos respectively and by 1991, Allah {SWT) provided a centre with the proceeds from the fundraising activities and other conditions.

Alhamdulillah, the arrival of Professor Dawud Noibi, (an outstanding eloquent Muslim scholar) occurred not too long before the purchase of M.A.N. building. The combination of the two situations provided the Association with a strong platform for carrying out its roles in the community.Since then there has been enormous influx of nominal Muslims coming to redefine their place in Islam and there were also the new converts. This has precipitated a wider scope of activities and at the same time, the Association did not cease playing a central role in the spiritual, moral and social well-being of the Muslim community.

Out of many roles being played by this Association today are:

  • Providing tuition to Arabic and Islamic studies for children and adults
  • This Centre has at present about 350 students on its attendance register, attending classes at different times of the week. The Centre has turned out more than 60 graduates since its inception amongst whom are Professor Moroof Adelekan, a psychiatrist who came to London for 18 months on a research work and was able to read and write in Arabic within the period of his sojourn in UK. Some of the old students are back in the centre Assisting with teaching. The success of this project could be substantiated from the fact that parents of the students have seen changes in the lives of their children and information has reached many local Nigeria Muslims. The Association is now making a contingency plan to cope with the increasing interest in its Madrassah services.
  • Advice and counselling sessions are being held on the Association's premises.Advice and counselling are given free of charge on legal matters affecting individual Muslims. Also spiritual counselling and supplications for people faced with social problems of various kinds. Many problems have been solved in the recent times by the Association's learned scholars.
  • The Association also provides welfare projects for the benefits of the Elders Group, children's pre-school playgroups and supplementary education classes. Social outings are arranged on certain months of the year for elders to chosen areas of their choice.
  • Supplementary coaching classes are arranged for students taking GCSE every year and also Youth camping at a chosen area. The Education Secretary of the Association is organising the first sports event of the association in July this year.
  • Alhamdulillah, our mosque has now been approved as a Registry for marriages. The mosque performs religious services such as aqiqah (birth), nikkah (wedding) and or janazah for its members. 
  • Eminent Islamic scholars have been invited on many occasions to give lectures on Islamic matters. Lectures are delivered every fortnight in the mosque by Professor D.O.S. Noibi.

The Association has affiliation with other Islamic organisations nationally and internationally through dialogues, conferences, seminars and symposia. The CNMO was facilitated by the Association and is headed by Professor D.O.S. Noibi. All Nigerian Muslim organisations members of this body; this has made it possible for all these organisations to hold Lailatul Quadri and other Islamic Celebrations together.

The Centre provides a mosque where five daily prayers are observed. Also a prayer of larger congregation comes up once a week (Friday). The Eid congregational prayers are observed in four shifts in order to accommodate the large numbers of Muslims who turn up from near and far. The congregation is now made up of Muslims all over the world including Turkish, Pakistanis, Moroccans, Algerians, indigenous British (whites) and, of course , Nigerians. The lectures for both Friday and Eid congregational prayers are delivered in English. The Centre in addition to providing a lively environment during the month of Ramadan through Taraweeh prayers and Quranic study also provides food and drinks for the breaking of the fast.

One could now verify that the roles played by this Association in creating Islamic awareness in London especially for Nigerian Muslim community is unquestionable. The fact is that the Centre is not big enough now to hold the Friday (Jumat) and Eid prayers. A huge impact from the roles played by this Association could also be evidenced by the huge difference in the number of students attending the centre now as compared to the number which attended 8 years ago compared to present.

May Allah (SW) bless the founding fathers and all those who involved in the success of these Islamic pursuits.

THE FUTURE ASPIRATIONS

The goal of the Association that forms its future aspirations can be summarised as follows:

A. A continuously sustained Dawah programme through the accomplishment of

1. ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRE FOR ARABIC AND ISLAMIC STUDIES.

The Islamic School is to serve as an extension of the existing Madrassah Classes. It is aimed at providing study facilities for further Islamic knowledge and exposure for those students who have completed the reading of the Holy Quran and basic knowledge of Islamic teachings. The goal is to help the students develop a committed Islamic personality through a greater understanding and application of the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). The Centre intends to use the latest computer and video technology to enliven the learning process. It is the hope and aspiration of the Centre to become a full-time school with the best library facilities, such that it would be able to offer GCSE examinations in Arabic and Islamic Studies.

The Centre commenced operation from September 1999 IN SHA ALLAH!

2. ACQUISITION, DEVELOPMENT AND SET.UP OF A NEW BUILDING

It is the plan of the Association to acquire, develop and set-up a new building such that would have ample space that are needed to ensure the smooth operation of such activities as the above Islamic Centre and its supplementary education school. This has become necessary as a result of the limited space that is available within the 'OLD KENT ROAD MOSQUE' that we are opening officially today. It has also become non-economical to undertake further adaptation of the current building for any other use other than as a Mosque and Islamic Centre.

3. ENGAGING QUALIFIED AND COMMTTTED ISLAMIC SCHOLARS AND TEACHERS

It is the aspiration of the Association to ensure that the teachers that teaches at the Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies are highly motivated, including the administrative support staffs. This it is hoped would ensure that the students of the centre are given a balanced, comprehensive and interesting but challenging education. The Centre is currently being served by teachers that are capable and committed to the goal of the Centre, and the Association would ensure that they are happy with their working terms and working environment.

4. MOBILISATION OF YOUTHS

It is our intention to ensure that our children are provided with all necessary support to become an adult that is confident in dealing with the challenges of life in manner that makes them happy within their hearts and satisfy with ALLAH. The Association shall accomplished this through projects and activities that encourages:

  • Physical sports;
  • Leadership skills development;
  • Trips facilitating interaction with wider Muslim Youths and those of other faiths; and
  • Mentoring that inspires and encourages development of skills and talents.

B. Improvements on Community Projects

5. ELDERS ACTIVITY PROGRAMMES:

Since inauguration of the project in June 1995, it has continued to be of an encouraging success in terms of the number of elders participating in its activities. It is the Association aspiration to broaden the activities of the elders to include such as:

  • Luncheon Club;
  • Organised hospital and home visits for the sick and the disabled;
  • Organising seminars on health and food nutrition and on other useful matters affecting the elderly;
  • Teaching of social skills including arts and crafts; and
  • The provision of advice on such matters as welfare rights, safety at home, heating and keeping warm in winter, overseas trips and all other matters.

6. PLAYGROUP SCHEME

The operating principles and objectives are aimed at helping our children:

  • feel secured and loved;
  • enjoy the learning experience;
  • develop the skills that would be needed in the years ahead.

The expected benefits of the Playgroup Scheme include:

  • promotion of learning across the curriculum that the children will encounter on transition to elementary school;
  • provide an avenue for our children to become conscious of their Islamic identity, their cultural values and inculcate in them the spirit of sharing and caring; support the right of parents to participate in and, in part, to determine the course of their children's education;
  • provision of a subsidised pre-school affordable by single and low income families.

A considerable effort is being made to set this project up and running.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

COORDINATING COMMITTEE

OF

NIGERIA MUSLIM ORGANISATIONS 

IN THE UK AND IRELAND (CCNMO)

We are writing on behalf of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Nigerian Muslim Organisations in the United Kingdom (CCNMO) to congratulate one of its member organisations, the Muslim Association of Nigeria (UK & Ireland) on the occasion of the opening of the Old Kent Road Mosque on Saturday 25 Rabi'al-Awwal t420/10thof July 1999.

The CCNMo is pleased to acknowledge the role of MAN and this Masjid & Islamic Centre in facilitating the formation of the Committee and in furthering its cause.

The first consultation meetings leading to the formation of the CCNMO were facilitated by the leadership of MAN and held in the MAN Masjid and Centre. All subsequent meetings have so far been held at the same blessed venue.

Furthermore, CCNMO notes with a great deal- of satisfaction that the Masjid/Centre has been instrumental in no small way to the furtherance of Islamic learning among both the young and old.

The weekend Arabic and Islamic studies classes for the young Muslims are among the many regular activities taking place at the Masjid/Centre which CCNMO likes to commend and encourage. So are the Sunday lectures from which adults derive tremendous benefits. CCNMO notes with a sense of satisfaction and gratitude to Al-.]-ah that many a Muslim adult has found Islam afresh and has rededicated himself to it as a result of contact with the l{AN Masjid and Centre.

The mission statement of CCNMO reproduced below reveals the reasons why the Committee is specially pleased that its oldest member organisation is officially opening the first Masjid & Islamic centre of its kind.

CCNMO MISSION STATEMENTS

As its name indicates, CCNMO is a body that coordinate the activities of the Nigerian Muslim Organisations and seeks to foster unity and cooperation among the organisations, and through them, the entire Nigerian Muslim community in the UK  and Ireland.

All the organisations are represented on the Committee.

Negotiations towards the establishment of the Committee took almost 4 years; it was formally inaugurated on 26 October 1996.

The Committee acts as:

  1. One voice and speaks for the Nigerian Muslim Organisations (NMO) on matters concerning Nigerian Muslims be it inNigeria or abroad.
  2. Centre for general charitable donations and contributions of NMO to the deserving projects.
  3. Centre for general charitable services on behalf of NMO to deserving persons in matters such as immigration, homelessness, prison, detention etc.
  4. Coordinating body for NMO activities results in order to achieve maximum results

”And hold fast' All together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and 

be not divided among yourselves.....” (Q3:103)

While taking this chance to commend all the other nine Nigerian Muslims Organisations in the CCNMO for the praiseworthy works they are doing in the field of education and da'wah, we wish to assure MAN that the other sister organisations in the CCNMO give you their full support and send their well wishes on this memorable occasion.