Dear Brothers and Sisters, عليكم السالم ,
As you reach this message, some of you will be preparing for Eid, while some of you will be at Hajj. I wanted to wish you all an early Eid Mubarak, and we hope you will enjoy Eid with the MCC. As of printing, depending on the date, we will have Eid outside once again. If Eid is on Sunday, it will again be at Niles West. If Eid is on Monday, it will be at the Forest Preserve in Morton Grove, as last year. For those that are going to Hajj, we pray that you have a safe and successful journey and come back with a new sense of purpose.
This month, we also have our Annual Food Fest at the MEC grounds. We encourage all your family and friends to come and enjoy the day with games and food with your kids. It is always a wonderful time.
Lastly, we expect to see you all at the MCC Annual Dinner on September21st. It is a unique event because it is our 50th year and we ask that everyone who can attend to please be with us on this special evening.
Any questions or comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Announce among people about (the obligation of) Hajj, so that they should come to you on foot, and on every camel turned lean, traveling through every distant hilly pathway, so that they witness benefits for them and recite Allah’s name in specified days.
Living in the West and being Muslim can, at times, be conflicting especially in a time of extreme confusion and materialism. Differentiating between culture and religion can even be a challenge for some. It is common to misinterpret Islam as a cultural package whilst overlooking the universality of its existence.
My first Hajj was in 2015, and I will never forget the moment I arrived in Arafat. Before then, my mind could never truly comprehend what over a million people looked like. Banners scattered across the forest of tents, gathering people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Though the sun’s heat burned down that September day, people were ecstatic on that momentous occasion.
I will never forget people shoving food packages in my arms and spraying water on each other. I won’t ever forget walking towards Mount Mercy (Jabal Al Rahma) umbrella in hand, chanting the Talbiya with (quite literally) the rest of the world.
Despite our differences in background, the drive to attaining Allah’s mercy and forgiveness pushed everyone forward. When the sun began to set the entire place was drowned in Dua and Talbiya.
My night in Muzdalifa consisted of a long and aching march from Arafat. It ended with sleeping under the stars and knowing I was safe; protected by my Creator and surrounded by my family in faith.
The next day we marched toward Mina, almost losing ourselves in the maze of tents and crowds. Stones in hand, we were able to finally complete the ritual of Jamarat and praise Allah for doing so. Before leaving back to my tent, I remember looking from an overpass and seeing millions of people chanting happily: Allahu Akbar. What a sight! People from all corners of this world, removed from their adornments and riches, praising Allah in unison and peace.
I never truly appreciated what Islam means until then. Islam, or submission, is personified in this powerful and humbling gathering. People, far and wide, of all walks of life, gathered in a tight space, bonded through hardship and pain, only to glorify Allah and attain His mer-cy; this is the essence of Hajj. A remov-al of pride and arrogance substituted with humility, longing, and purpose to what truly matters. May Allah accept from all our Hujjaj, and allow us the opportunity to be guests in His most sacred house continuously.
The Love and Sisterhood Picnic Halaqa with Umm Esa and The Modern Skeptics was successful with 40+ attendants from across Chicagoland.
Chill with the Imam was successful with nearly forty 5th-8th grade girls and boys in attendance enjoying Ice cream and fun games with the Imam and his wife.
Ongoing weekly MCC Youth meetings are occurring every Sunday morning at the MEC youth room from 10:30am 12:00 pm.
MCC Youth hosted the Hands of Peace Summer program that brings the youth of different religious and ethnic back-grounds together to learn from each other. MCC youth representatives had a conversation with the Hands of Peace youth about the history of Islam in America, the fundamental beliefs of Islam, and their experience as American Muslim Youth.
More exciting events and activities in the works including a math and reading tutoring program, service projects, safety training, a youth book club and much more – please follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @mccchicagoyouth for regular updates.
MEC Women’s Committee’s Mommy and Me program arranged a fun event for its community members at Altitude. The event was open to all ages. Kids, as well as their mothers, enjoyed jumping together.
MEC Women’s Committee also would like to request the community members’ help in collecting school sup-plies which include: backpacks, folders, notebooks, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, sharpen-ers, erasers, and rulers. All donation will go to Islamic Oasis refugee families. School supplies can be dropped off at MEC lobby on August 3rd from 12 pm to 4 pm. Please refer to the flyer below.
Nomination of Candidates for 2019 MCC Elections
The deadline for submitting Nomination forms for this year’s elections is:
2 PM on Sunday, August 11th.
The relevant forms and additional information have already been mailed to MCC members, and can also be obtained from MCC’s offices as well as down-loaded from MCC’s website.
MCC Election Day:
December 8, 2019 from
10 am – 3 pm at MCC & MEC.
November 10th & 17th (Location TBD) 10 am – Noon.
Deadline to renew your membership to vote.
MCC Election Committee Chair
Richard McKinney served in the United States Marine Corps for over twenty years. He fought in Desert Shield, Somalia, Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world. After being injured in his last deployment to Iraq, he was forced to retire.
“What I felt cheated from by getting out of the military was the fact that I wanted to die. I wanted to die a soldier’s death,” said McKinney. He believed soldiers who came home in a coffin had their sins forgiven and were remembered as heroes. By this time, McKinney had built a tremendous hatred for Islam and Muslims believing they were “the enemy.”
“I was filled with hatred and rage,” McKinney said. “I hated anything and everything about Islam and anyone who even looked Islamic. I felt Islam was a cancer in this world and the hatred I had was like another organ inside my body.”
It got to the point of where he devised a plan to detonate an improvised explosive device at the local masjid in his town.
When his daughter mentioned a Muslim friend at school, McKinney exploded with anger. His daughter’s reaction, the disappointment in her eyes, gave him pause, so much so that he decided to go to the masjid to see for himself.
Once there he was approached by friendly members and given the Qu’ran. He found the passages had nothing to do with what the terrorists were doing. He returned to the masjid to ask further questions. “I knew that I had found answers to things that I was question-ing in my own life for so long,” he said. Eight weeks later, he took his shahadah. Since then, McKinney has grown as a Muslim, been president of the masjid, and shared his story with the world.
The Message is a monthly publication of the Muslim Community Center that informs members of administration, organization and committee activities of MCC/MEC. Submit your questions and comments firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in The Message do not necessarily represent those of the Publication Com-mittee. The editor reserves the right to edit all material.