Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) entered into Virginia in the late 70s through Brothers Riazuddin Ahmad, Akhtar Khan, Dr. Khurshid Asghar and Mohammad Akhtar. We started Quranic study circles in the houses of our friends with our families and creating a sort of Islamic environment on a weekly basis.
When our numbers grew, we rented a house with members’ contributions and opened a prayer area with a small library of Islamic books and established Jumu’ah prayer plus the five daily prayers. Our goal was always eventually to establish a full fledged mosque. At that time in Alexandria, there was not a single place for Muslims to worship.
We put our muscles together in the name Allah and moved to Richmond Hwy (Route 1) organizing Jumu’ah prayer, Taraweeh and Eid prayers in different places like Arlington Community Center, Knights of Columbus, churches and some other facilities in early 90s. Our dear brother Abdurrahman Saaleh was instrumental in this move.
Our goal being a full fledged mosque, we collected penny by penny and in the next 10 years we had a sum total of $25,000 dollars.
It was the year of 2000 that we started looking for a place to hold Taraweeh prayers when one of our sisters, who use to join us for Taraweeh on regular basis, offered her backyard for the purpose. We went to see her house. During the conversation she informed us that her neighbor wants to sell his house. In fact, Allah was drawing us towards 2913 Woodlawn Trail. We negotiated with the seller for over a year to make him agree to sell the house At long last he agreed to sell us the house for $245,000.
With $25,000 in hand, we ran from pillar to post to make that amount available. The date for closing the deal was getting closer and we were still short of more than $100,000 dollars. At this time ICNA HQ in New York came to our rescue and they sent a man with the needed money, thus, we were able to purchase the property.
ICNA policy all over the country and from the very beginning has been to go along taking the community together. ICNA general membership is free. We invite people to come and participate in our da’wah activities, open house programs, ICNA Relief work, Helping Hand activities, handling Eid prayers, Friday prayers, Zakat committee, etc. For every program, we hold meetings to make a joint decision. All meetings are open.
We have a special member category known as MGA members. This is also open to every Muslim provided he commits to abide by the obligatory commands and refrain from major sins. He has to take an oath to abide by the by-laws of the association. Every organization has its rules and regulations for the members to follow. In this respect, we are more open than any other organization.