Monday, August 13, 2012

Ramadan day 23 - Colleyville Masjid


Title - Ramadan day 23 - Colleyville Masjid
Date - Saturday, August 11, 2012 | Ramadan 23, 1433
Iftaar Time: 8:16 PM CST
Place - Colleyville Masjid  (817)788-8820
Imam - Yahya J. Aekoma
Address - 500 Cheek-Sparger Rd, Colleyville, Tx 76034
Today’s Pictures:   
Experience different traditions daily at:

Click on picture to enlarge - 20 other pictures are in the link

It is one of the most beautiful Mosques in Dallas area; it’s architecturally pleasing, symmetrical and well placed. It offers great street scape and has a pleasant courtyard. Landscaping can be improved with a few bougainvillea and crepe myrtles.  The only comparison is at the Ismaili Jamat Khana in Plano that incorporates similar elements.

I urge the management of this mosque to invite the Chamber of Commerce and the City (Planning) officials, and ask them to consider placing this mosque as one of the landmarks of the city. Which means this Mosque will be on the list of places to see for a visitor to Colleyville.  A good spot to take some extraordinary pictures would be of sunset around 8:16 PM from the intersection of Brown Trail and Cheek-Sparger, camera pointing North-west. With additional landscaping this mosque needs to be showcased.

As a home builder, I appreciate the thoughtfulness in building this mosque. Personally I don’t like to see shoes and sandals when I walk into a mosque or a home, and I sure don’t like to walk through the smell either. In the homes we built, we created a large built in shoe cabinet in the niche with doors to keep the footwear out of sight.  Two Mosques have paid attention to this; the Colleyville Mosque and the Fort Worth Mosque on Diaz Avenue.   

The Masjid space shaped in a “T”, with the sanctuary at the top of the T and a flex hall on the vertical; on either side of the T are the class rooms. A great traditional lay out that keeps everything in sight, and offers safety for women and children being in sight. 

When I left the office for Iftaar, there was an unusual hesitancy in me, never felt that before, and I did not like the feeling either.  I did not know anyone at this Mosque. My inner voice cajoled me, “Your personal commitment to develop the mechanism for intra-faith is a good reason to go, and for God’s sake it is Allah’s house, just go.” So, I did, and thank God for the Hidayat, it was a good experience.

Thanks to Dr. Ateeq Ahmed, Mo Peracha and a few others whom I knew, I felt home instantly.  Three others (apologize for not remembering the names) mentioned reading the Ramadan daily and one gentleman was amused with the Bohra Masjid story from yesterday and another one was connected from my Cricket days.

One of the conversations was a piggy back on what a friend of mine had mentioned; if we can see learn to see how little it takes to live, and then contentment develops.  The man on my left had quite a few things to add, everyone around mentioned not losing a pound, indeed, I did not lose a pound either.

I was struck with the thought of freedom Ramadan offers; the whole day, almost sixteen hours of abstainament from the desire to have a cup of coffee, the desire to have food or water, and be on a constant vigil to be righteous is incredible. Can’t have ill-thoughts about others, cant’ even allow hate to take root, consciously holding on to temptations and anger, avoiding tattle tailing ... Indeed, we can live with very little with much freedom. The word “Mukti” is very descriptive of this state of mind; a genuine freedom from slavery to desire!   

The Khajoors (dates) were neatly placed on a napkins along with a cup of Rooh Afza (refreshing drink) at the entrance table. That was a very efficient way to distribute the Iftaar material.

At the call of Adhan (prayer call), normally every one breaks the fast with a bite of a date, but here today, there were some who waited for the call to finish!  Each Masjid has a different practice; of leading to the moment on his or her own or follow the tradition, as is done at Madinah Masjid in Carrollton, every second of the last few minutes are guided by the Imam there with supplications.

The sanctuary has clean white walls and I liked that. It is a place of worship and let it remain clean. By the way, one of the cleanest Mosques and its courtyard is the Masjid-Al-Aqsa. It was incredibly clean.

We may consider the long term relations with the communities we mosque in, we may consider to place our Masajid’s on weekly tours for the citizens in an open house, so people can come and see the sanctuary. It is about God and nothing but God; nothing is hidden, no secret deity or no nothing. It is simply a place of worship with an intention to pray, and there is nothing but you and God, the abstract God who is formless.  "He is the One God, God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.”
Good simple food! Salad, Lentil (Daal), Palau (rice with fragrance) and Chicken Curry (Not sure what it was, there was sign which said Halim, but that was not Halim).

Mr. Peracha introduced me to the young Imam Yahya J. Aekoma, his Qir’at (style of recitation) reminded me of the ones I used to hear early in the mornings in Saudi Arabia. It was good to meet with him; he is apparently trained from the Bayyanah institute of Islamic learning with Ustad Nouman, a good speaker with a vision to improve the learning systems. I hope to connect with him one of these days.

There was a small commotion after the prayer; apparently those who came late to the prayers started their own Jamaat (group prayer led by an individual) instead of joining the current prayer in the middle and completing it out after the group finished its prayers. A gentleman was unhappy about the group by telling them so… that was discourteous to others who were observing the Sunna prayers. He was technically right, but certainly not polite about it. He could have waited after the prayers and explained his point of view. I am sure he feels regretful, and I am glad Mr. Peracha and others did not say a word that was the right thing to do to let the conflict die down on its own. 

Although it is disappearing now, the women in their thirties can recall belligerent men, yelling at them to cover the head, and or pull the scarf over the hair. One should mind his own manners and not resort to telling others how to pray or behave on the spot, if we do; we need to do it quietly and politely. Thank God the kids tell me when I meet them about what they feel good about being in a Mosque. 

This evening I overheard a teen justifying the behavior -“if they come to the prayers on time, this would not have happened.” Wow! That decisive kid will yell at others when he grows up.  We all need to be trained with the “adaabs” of the mosque. May be our Imams can add a simple item or two in every Friday Sermon.

It was just beautiful outside the Mosque, everyone was hanging out in the front courtyard, there were a few benches and the mercury flood light was adding pleasantness. It was time to have a cup of tea or carry a conversation.  No one was in a hurry to go!

In the beginning of Ramadan, I wrote and wished that we incorporate in our spaces, a mechanism to promote fellowship - meaning people hanging out and getting to know each other, instead of dashing home. That is what builds a sense of community.

The three friends sitting on the bench in one of pictures were from Jordan, Pakistan and Somalia - our conversation started on Sura Hujurat 49:13 and they said they were just talking about it. It was good to see this kind of fellow ship.

I hope we can consider designing our facilities to encourage fellowship and making this place to be a community place, as the prophet intended with Masjid-e-Nabawi.

Apparently a new Mosque is being considered in South Lake, and I beg Muslims to consider following the first two models of the prophet before building a Mosque; that of Amin and a conflict mitigater. I was in the middle of the controversy with Ground Zero Mosque. I stood my ground with Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel, David Horowitz and Frank Gaffney in the span of a week. I felt like I was fighting it alone with hawks all around me.

Here is one with Brigitte Gabriel and Sean Hannity on Fox News

I believe Imam Feisal Rauf made the mistake by avoiding TV interviews, had he done that at the beginning, much of the controversy would have been averted, I was called in after the controversy began, and it was too late to extinguish the flames.

click to enlarge picture- 20 other pictures in the flickr link above
We have to build relationships, we live in the community and we need to be friends, it is the right thing to do. In a time when Churches are being closed down for lack of funds, a Mosque going up creates resentment. We can win the wars legally, but we lose in the long haul - living in apprehension and constant concerns is not a healthy way of living.

We have to be the contributors towards creating peaceful cohesive societies. It is our responsibility.  A genuine friendship is essential, without the mal-intention of converting the other when you befriend them, but a genuine interest in the wellbeing of people brings lasting relationships to live in peace with others.  Go back to the example of how Prophet treated that old lady who was unkind to him, when he walked by her house.  We need to prioritize our Sunna - to create goodness or run with a hidden agenda of conversion. Islam is about openness and truthfulness and that is the kind of Sunnah we need to pursue. 

We have to hire a community relations manager before we buy the land. That is my advice observing the mistakes we have made in Murfreesboro, Houston, California and other places. Take a look at this blog to understand the difficulties.

By the way, Rabbi Charlie Citreon- Walker who was in Colleyville Masjid yesterday is being recognized by the Foundation for pluralism and America Together foundation on the Unity Day USA for his interfaith relations work.   Details are on the

Three of the pastors who were recipients of this annual award, had stood up with Muslims for the Ground Zero Mosque and wrote in Dallas Morning news about it during the controversy. One of them is Bob Roberts of the Baptist Church in your neighborhood.  We need to stand up for others and we must encourage those who stand up for others including us.  People like Rabbi Walker and others awardees will be standing up for each other. 

We really need your presence. Please confirm at the email at the website. That is another Sunnah we Muslims need to follow, to learn to rsvp.  

Here is your invitation
We are pleased to invite you to the 8th Annual Unity Day USA.
on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:30 am
at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230

Each mosque and each tradition is uniquely different.  Insha Allah, I will do my best to keep that uniqueness intact, however, it is not easy to write different things each day for the whole month, and we have just about 5 or 6 days left!  I hope this has been a meaningful journey for you. I urge you to jump in and experience it yourselves.
Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America with participation from every community. Please 

Please mark your calendar for the Unity Day USA, onTuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:30 am at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230. It is a positive event that brings Americans Together to rededicate our pledge for a peaceful, prosperous and secure America. We are a part of America and we need to feel and live it.  Please visit

Please visit  for a record since 2010.

MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.comis updated daily. 

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.