Allah Subhanu Wa Talla brought great blessings to the Muslim community of Manitoba this Ramadan. On the first day of the fasting month, the masjid for Thompson arrived from Winnipeg, establishing Manitoba’s only third constructed masjid and one of Canada’s most northern. It is also probably the fastest house of Worship to ever come up in North America.
The idea of a masjid in Thompson has been floated for years now, however, the project did not get underway till Dr. Hussain Guisti, his wife Dr. Susan Ghazali, who is a general surgeon working in Thompson and Dr. Hisham Tassi, an internist in Thompson decided to form a new Muslim Charity called the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation. They are the 3 executive committee members of the new Muslim charity. Dr. Guisti and his wife were both active members of M.I.A for years in Winnipeg before Moving to Thompson in 2006.
Work on the masjid actually began before the process for the foundation was even started. The members of the foundation purchased the land from the city in January of this year for nearly $26,000 and completed the Development agreement with the city with all the drawings in February. To save time and money they decided to build the masjid simultaneously in 2 stages. The foundation was built in Thompson while, at the same time, the building itself was being built in Winnipeg as a ready to move home. Construction and exacavation started in April and was completed in August. However, it wasn’t till September that Manitoba Hydro had enough crew in all their stations to raise the lines along the highways, as the masjid is 21 feet in height. The masjid left Winnipeg on September 11 at 5 am and arrived in Thompson on Thursday September 13 at 6:30 pm, the first day of Ramadan. As the ground was muddy and needed extra gravel it wasnt till Saturday morning September 15 that the masjid was finally put on the foundation.
There are currently about 35 Muslim families in Thompson. The majority are professionals who work as doctors, pharmacists, dentists and engineers. Percentage wise the community are the most professional in Thompson. The whole Muslim community of Thompson, including all members of the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, are all members of M.I.A. through the M.I.A. Thompson Chapter (MIA-TC). Till the masjid was established the community members only prayed together Juma’a in the basement of the Mennonite Church.
The total cost of the Masjid is around $300,000 without paving the parking lot. The community decided for a ‘masjid’ rather than incorporate a community center so all the funds came from donations from the members of the Foundation, some members of the community in Thompson and the Muslims in Winnipeg. They did not receive or ask for any grants whatsoever.
Dr. Joundi and brother Naeem Akhtar of the M.I.A executive committee “were some of the biggest supporters of the masjid and did everything in their power to make it a reality from day one. Their support was unparalleled. They not only held and participated in fundraising drives but introduced the idea to Muslim philanthropists to donate and offered expertise and advice on the site and floor plan on a very regular basis.”
The masjid is 1564 square feet and as Thompson is growing by the day, was built with the future in mind. It can accomodate 110 worshippers (90 men and 20 woman). It also has a full finished 10 foot basement that can accomodate another 200 people in the future, if need be. The basement will now be used as a rec-room for the brothers to congregate and socialize on a daily basis. It also has a ready kitchen and 2 rooms, one for a library and one will serve as a bedroom for a future imam, jama tableegh or any Muslim who wants to sleep overnite. A shower was also installed in the men’s bathroom.
In the past tens and tens of Muslim families have refused to take up job positions and move to Thompson because there was no Masjid. However, that will soon change and the Muslim community will Inshallah see a large growth in its population in the near future.
This Masjid is a great blessing from Allah and shows just how much Islam is growing and propogating the world over. May Allah bless the new Masjid and increase his religion the world over