Published in “The Muslim Journal” 2007
On Friday June 29, 2007, Masjid Mu’min of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma held a Pioneer Banquet in order to honor the work, efforts, and dedication of some of their most excellent members. For several months prior to the banquet a committee of members of Masjid Mu’min met every Thursday to plan a Pioneer Banquet that would be a special night for all who attended to remember. The committees’ most difficult decision was to set the criteria to be used to determine who was eligible for recognition as a Pioneer. The committee decided that in order to receive honor at this banquet recipients had to have: made the transition from The Nation of Islam to Al-Islam, be currently active in the community of Masjid Mu’min today (unless ill), live in Oklahoma, and had done a significant amount of work in the community that had an impact on the ability for Masjid Mu’min to be in existence today.
The day of the Pioneer Banquet was exciting for all who attended. After Jummah, the members of Masjid Mu’min worked together as a team to decorate the Warr Acres Community Center. The room was beautifully decorated with dazzling candles, sweet scents, gold, and purple colors. Each table was finished with Muslim Journals for guest to enjoy at their leisure.
As guest arrived each person was entered into a drawing for door prizes which included: one kitchen television, three gift bags, several gift certificates to a local Muslim business , and 10 subscriptions for the Muslim Journal which were all donated by the committee members and Masjid Mu’min members.
The guest speaker, Imam Faruqe Bilal Rasheed of the Islamic Dawah Center of Lawton, Oklahoma shared his memories of a few Pioneers who were honored at the Pioneer Banquet; Sister Lafeyah Ahmad, Sister Medinah Abdul Reheemad and Brother Jonas. Imam Rasheed remarked that it was the efforts of the Pioneers that paved the way for the future of not only Masjid Mu’min but the greater Oklahoma Islamic community. Imam Rasheed also remembered a deceased Pioneer, Brother Maurice Mu’min. The Imam shared that it was an honor that our Masjid was named after Brother Mu’min due to Brother Mu’min and his wife’s countless sacrifices, and years of hard work in the Oklahoma community.
After Imam Rasheed’s beautiful words, our elder Pioneers received a wooden plaque engraved with words of deep appreciation from the heart of the Masjid Mu’min community. Certificates of appreciation for service to Masjid Mu’min were given to other deserving members of the Masjid Mu’min Mosque.
When asked if she enjoyed herself Sister Rasheedah Mahmood, of Masjid Mu’min expressed, “everything went real well, the decorations were really nice, everything was just right, I really enjoyed myself.” Sister Rasheedah Mahmood has been a member of Masjid Mu’min since the late 70’s, and was a recipient of recognition at the Pioneers Banquet.
The night was filled with great food, entertainment, and Salah. The food was catered by Goporum, which is a local Halal Indian food restaurant, as well as a local African American Seafood business and the desserts were prepared and donated by the committee members.
Teenage youth performed a modern dance routine in honor of the Pioneers, which was a special treat for all. Lastly husband and wife team Brother Ali and Sister Tauheedah Muhammad topped off the night with a special duet written and produced by them titled “Salute to the Pioneer.”
A very special moment of the night was when all Pioneers, and guest paused for Maghrib. This was normal for some, but powerful for others, as to pause our event to remember Allah symbolized our understanding and belief that, although we were there to honor our Pioneers, Allah is most deserving of praise and worship, and it is due to the continued support and mercy of Allah that our Pioneers Banquet, the work of our Pioneers, and all things are made possible.
Finally, in total alignment with The Pioneer Banquet’s theme, “Bridging the Past, Present, and Future” a presentation with pictures, plans and projections was made to the community detailing Masjid Mu’min’s plans to purchase approximately 3 blocks of land, adjacent to Masjid Mu’min’s current location. The community was reminded that Masjid Mu’min was the first Masjid in Oklahoma, and had the first Islamic school. Brother Mike Gipson, chairperson of Masjid Mu’min’s Advisory Board informed the community that Masjid Mu’min intends to be just as much a part of the future as it has been of the past. Included in the plans are to build a new exceptional Masjid, which will include commercial space for Islamic businesses, a possible day care, parking and more. Representatives from Masjid Mu’min have presented the plans to Oklahoma State Representatives in order to seek support with purchasing land from Oklahoma City. Now that Masjid Mu’min has the support of its State Representatives they will move forth with their intentions to purchase the land, and begin fundraising in order to make these plans a reality.
“Bridging the Past, Present and Future,” was easily accomplished at the Pioneers Banquet. Pioneers came out to share their time and experiences with newer and younger members of Masjid Mu’min and the greater Islamic community of Oklahoma. The dedication, efforts and commitment of The Pioneers was an inspiration to all to continue to work in the present, in order to spread and ensure the continuation of Al-Islam for future generations. InShallah. Ameen.