North Wellington (NoW) Masjid Development Project
Allah (SWT) says in Surah At-Tawbah, Verse 18 (The meaning of) “The mosques of Allah shall only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the rightly guided.”
Since the time of Rasulullah and the noble companions (may Allah be pleased with all of them), the Masjid was not only a place of worship, but it was also a place where they learned, recited the Quran, made dhikr (remembrance) and dua (supplication), met with each other, socialized, received the delegations, prepared the expeditions and raised funds for various good causes.
As the primary religious institution, the Masjid has the greatest role in community building, and its success in performing this role is essential for the wellbeing of the community, particularly where Muslims live as minorities, such as in New Zealand. For this very reason Al-Ameen Islamic Development New Zealand was established.
Operating as a not-for-profit charitable trust Al-Ameen is a New Zealand registered charity (Registration No. CC53337) with eligible tax credit status (More details available on the Charities website - charities.govt.nz). Al-Ameen Trust consists of a group of working professionals, community leaders and individuals coming together to volunteer and serve the community by helping to promote and increase the love of Islam and the beauty and peaceful message it brings.
The principles foundation of Al-Ameen is to:
Pursue the individual and collective needs and aspiration of the Wellington community through spiritual, educational and counselling services.
Develop unity, harmony and cooperation within the Muslim ummah and the wider community.
Provide relief and support to the underprivileged and vulnerable members of the community by providing food, clothing, and spiritual care needs.
We offer a wide range of educational services and programs. Many of the educational services and programs are designed to address the modern issues faced by younger generation of Muslims living in Greater Wellington and New Zealand.
Some of the services and programmes include:
Sunday school (madrasah) for children
Evening Quran classes for adults and children
Educational seminars and lectures
Youth and adult education classes
Refugee and migrant assistance programmes
For a period of time, Al-Ameen was running all of these services and programs using council facilities found at the nearby Newlands Community Centre. However, since the facilities were hourly-rented and public shared with other community groups (for example Christian church and choir groups), the lack of private space, limited timeslot available and the inconvenience of having events and programme alongside other activities made it difficult to manage.
There have been numerous instances when the facilities were not available causing major disruptions to the children learning, staff and teachers managing the event and program.
For this reason it became urgent and important for Al-Ameen Trust to find alternative arrangements to run these services and programs without having those issues.
Al-Ameen's Masjid Establishment
Alhamdulillah with the grace of Allah (SWT), in May of 2016, with the support of the community and the children Al-Ameen Trust leased a commercial property at 64 Kenmore Street, Newlands, and has since established a council-approved Masjid on this leased property. The property was renovated with the assistance of the community and since operational Al-Ameen Trust has been able to consistently deliver these services and programs with ease. In addition, the Masjid is now able to offer the following services to the community:
Five Daily Congregational Prayers (Salah)
Friday Congregational Prayers (Jumuah)
Ramadan Congregational Prayers (Taraweeh)
Eid Congregational Prayers (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha)
The Masjid is currently operating from a leased commercial property with two units rented for Al-Ameen. Both units can accommodate up to 80 men and 50 women.
With the Masjid having 24 hours access the number of people coming regularly is rapidly increasing to a point where we have now faced with not being able to accommodate everyone, especially when having those major services such as the Ramadan congregational prayers.
The Masjid is located along major transport routes and is only 15 minutes away from Wellington City. Being very close to the CBD makes Al-Ameen easy to get to for the working professionals as well as those from the northern suburb area.
The northern suburb area is regarded as an attractive and active place with many diverse communities. Based on the official data collected by Statistics NZ the northern suburb area is steadily growing and with New Zealand being one of the countries that openly welcome refugees from countries such as Syria, the majority is now settled in the northern suburbs.
In recent years property prices in the northern suburb have steadily increasing and with our next generation becoming more professional it is clear that there will be more and more Muslims either living, working or studying in the Wellington region.
The northern suburb is also a permanent home for many high commissions and embassies with increasing number of staff and families frequently use the Masjid since they are also living in the surrounding suburbs.
Challenges faced today
Al-Ameen has been running successful services and programs for the last two years by leasing out properties. We’ve grown from being a centre used under 50 people to one that is being used by more than 500 people per week.
Many of our programs and events organized at Al-Ameen Masjid are very well received and attended. The weekly Friday prayers are normally attended by more than 80 men, teenagers and children. In addition, the Sunday school (madrasah) has an enrolment of over 117 boys and girls, aged from 5 to 16 years old.
On special occasions, such as during Ramadan Iftar and regular religious lectures, it is encouraging to see constantly large crowds from the community attending. However on numerous occasions, the Masjid was barely able to accommodate everyone.
It is clear that the current Masjid has limited capacity to adequately cater the increasing needs of the growing community. With the anticipated growth of the Muslim community in the northern Wellington suburbs, it has become a necessity for Al-Ameen Trust to now plan ahead for this growth.
New Masjid Development
With the grace of Allah (SWT), the trustees of Al-Ameen with the backing of the community is today launching a year long fundraising effort to fund the North Wellington Masjid Development - Hence what we're calling the NOW Project, to accommodate for the increasing needs of our growing community and future generations.
Based on the current property prices and the timing of land available for sale there are two options that are viable.
Option 1 - To purchase and redevelop the current rented property.
Al-Ameen Trust has been offerred to purchase the current leased building which has potential for further development to better meet the growing needs of the community. Under the current Council zoning rules the property has the potential to be constructed up to 8 metres vertically for a second level.
Option 2 - To purchase land in the northern suburb area to permanently build a new home for Al-Ameen.
Currently Al-Ameen is actively looking at the option of purchasing vacant land parcels in close proximity to Newlands and Johnsonville. The suitability of this land for any future purpose and development of the Masjid can be created to meet the growing needs of the community.
To build a permanent, modern and environmentally sustainable Masjid in the northern suburbs of Wellington New Zealand to meet the growing Muslims population; increased demand for expanded Islamic services and teachings; and mounting needs for more consistent support and relief to the underprivileged and vulnerable members of the community.
Al-Ameen Trust has over $100k of funding available dedicated to the development of the mosque. Ongoing fundraising and seeking local and international donors will be a focus for the next 18-36 months to have the opportunity to undertake the proposed options.
Al-Ameen Trust is ramping up the effort over the next 12 months to seek support to establish a permanent home for Al-Ameen, in the northern suburb, to continue to increase the value we add to the Muslims who are living, working, studying or simply visiting the Wellington region.
Estimated Project Costs
Option 1 - The purchasing and redevelopment of the current rented property is estimated to cost $1.5m (excluding any upgrading or renovation costs).
Option 2 - The purchasing of land and build a new mosque is also estimated to cost around $1.5m (excluding any Council approval, engineering reports and building design costs).