On the Ground: News from RFPUSA Religious Communities
What follows is a brief program description from The Mosque Cares, one of RFPUSA’s religious communities. The program is designed to instill a sense of community identity while ministering to its neighborhood. This is the first in a series portraying activities of religious communities that are members of RFPUSA.
* * *
The teachings of Imam W. Deen Mohammad are best demonstrated through The Mosque Cares’s (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed) Ramadan Sessions. A time of education and coming together as a community, the lessons and Qur’an tafsir of Imam W. Deen Mohammad serve as the core of the Ramadan Sessions. Falling in the last ten days of Ramadan and lasting for three days (this year August 2-4 at The Mosque Cares facility, 929 W. 171st Street, East Hazel Crest, IL 60429), the Ramadan Sessions are a time for both education and community. For religious communities who are members of Religions for Peace USA, events like this reflect the core of what it means to be a religious community working in the United States for peace and justice.
For The Mosque Cares, the Ramadan Sessions provide those sorts of rare moments, events, rituals, and practices that help to define our member religious communities. These moments help establish a collective sense of who we are in the world, what our faith calls us to do and be as people of faith, and how these events position us in regard to other religious communities.
The Ramadan Sessions are a chance for The Mosque Cares to continue the legacy of Imam W. Deen Mohammad. At their inception the Ramadan Sessions were a time of religious education for community leaders of The Mosque Cares. Imam W. Deen Mohammad, the founder of The Mosque Cares, would select a number of serious minded community leaders and teach them on religion, religious science, and faith.
During Imam W. Deen Mohammad’s life, however, the Ramadan Sessions slowly became a time to demonstrate the bright light of his reflections on the power of Islam for the sake of all of the community, not simply those individuals who came to the Sessions with interest in Qur’an tafsir. In the eyes of the indigenous community of Muslims who came to follow his ministry, like the moon in the night sky, Imam W. Deen Mohammad’s teachings stand out as excellent. The other religious leaders came into their own as many of the other stars in the night sky. Taken collectively, a beautiful landscape emerges of The Mosque Cares religious and community life.
Yet this is also the largest challenge for The Mosque Cares: raising up religious community leaders involves time and care, direction and patience, and a willingness of the student and teacher to devote themselves to working collectively to sustain The Mosque Cares's ministry and message.
The Ramadan Sessions, in short, are less about high academic theological thinking than about getting to the heart of religious teachings and what it means to be members of a religious tradition, practically and purposefully applying our faith to everyday realities.
You can contact The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed) at its ministry, at 708-679-1587, or by writing The Mosque Cares, P.O. Box 1061, Calumet City, IL 60409.