Canyon Country’s Al Umma Center for Muslim Worshipers

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SHAFAQNA- When you pass Al-Umma Center on Sierra Highway, less than a mile north of Soledad Canyon Road, you may not know that it is a place of worship if you aren’t acquainted with Islam. The Muslim mosque was established in 2013 and occupies the property that used to be a tile and granite store. It was originally the area’s first feed store, said Majub El Arabi, a founding member of Al-Umma Center, who said they chose the name for the mosque to give it a connotation of a community center.

“From time to time we have family nights, where we invite the community and bring food and have a movie for the kids. And we have a youth group with a lot of activities,” El Arabi said. “We saw Canyon Country as a developing area. What better way to serve the community than to establish a center in the eastern part of the valley.”

There are hundreds of mosques in Southern California, three in Santa Clarita. Al-Umma Center was opened to serve the eastern side of the valley, which enables Muslim worshipers to find one conveniently close to their homes and workplaces. It is an added convenience during their five prayer periods per day, called “Salat.” The floor at Al-Umma Center has markers , which guide the body placement of worshipers so they face Mecca.

The local congregation gathers together on Fridays for prayers and reading verses from their holy book, the Quran, which is written and recited in Arabic. They hear sermons from fellow members, which are delivered in English, Santa Clarita Free reported.

 

 

The mosque sees its biggest numbers during fasting months, called Ramadan. Based on a lunar calendar, the last Ramadan was in June-July of 2018.

During Ramadan, the congregation comes together to break the fast, after sundown. Members take turns hosting the nightly meal in the outdoor area at Al-Umma Center. There are sometimes 200-250 people who attend those events.

“We hosted an interfaith event one night and we had 25-30 guests who were non-Muslims. People were very amazed at how lively the place is,” El Arabi said.

The Muslim congregation sometimes gets letters of approval from individuals in town, saying they are happy to have the Center here. “By and large, we’ve been good neighbors to them and they’ve been good to us,” El Arabi said.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

UK mosques rally against hate: hold open day for non-Muslims

UK mosques opened their doors to the public

London Mosque Becomes the UK’s First to Accept Cryptocurrency

 

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