By Maham Haq –
A small but dedicated group of individuals from the Muslim Student Association of Arizona State University (ASU) gathered June 11 at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe (ICC Tempe) for the annual Pre-Ramadan Masjid Clean-up.
Located just on the north side of ASU, the largest public university by enrollment in the United States, ICC Tempe has become the most prominent place of worship for Muslims in the Tempe area. Built in 1984, the mosque has since provided services to the Muslim and non-Muslim community at large including youth programs, a library, funeral services, educational tours and interfaith events. Thousands of people utilize the mosque year-round and the number generally increases dramatically during the month of Ramadan.
For some, who have grown up in the area, the mosque has become like a second home. Anisa Abdul-Qadir of ASU’s MSA said, in reference to being a part of the mosque, “I love this mosque. It’s my fifteenth year here.”
Every year, youth from the community gather to clean the mosque around the time of Ramadan, when it will be used extensively. “I have been coming to the masjid every year since high school. I just feel it’s so important to come together to clean the masjid and this is something that should honestly be done throughout the year. It brings us all together for such a great cause and the reward is so great,” said Abdul-Qadir.
Ahmad Ewais, ICC’s property manager, noted that the mosque belongs to the community. Ewais believes that coming together to take on the responsibility of cleaning ICC Tempe helps the youth feel connected to each other and their faith.
“No one can do the job better than those who do it with their heart. If we hire someone to clean, they’re not going to care that this place is home to so much of the community or that this a place of worship. The youth and community are the ones who can care for this mosque the best,” said Ewais.
Starting at 10 a.m., the group spent around six hours deep cleaning the mosque. They wiped the windows, dusted the chandeliers and shoe shelves, cleaned the walls, removed stains from the heavily used doors and even cleaned the bathrooms. The outside perimeter of the mosque was also washed.
Some of the youth who participated in the clean-up expressed the need for efforts such as these to be consistent throughout the year.
“Cleaning the masjid creates a sense of unity in the community. So often, we get distracted in our lives and don’t feel as connected to the masjid. Coming together to clean this holy place really reminds us of how important the masjid is to us,” said Wasiba Rahman of Tempe.