Remembering Masjid Al-Asr in the early 1980s

The Masjid that used to be on East North Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.

Jamaa’aatul Asr’s first iteration began in the early 1980s, perhaps in 1983, at the house of Umm Taliba, a good sister seen by the community as its Umm/Mother. The community was called Al-Asr back then. Many sisters joined in those times and became the pillars of support, and there were also good brothers.

To preserve the names of those early members from the 1980s, we mention as many as we can below, some of whom were around for a good length of its early history, while others were briefly involved. We hope to one day publish a complete history of this early period. If you do not know that Jamaa’aatul Asr has restarted in Arcadia, Florida, or if you are a descendant of one of the original members, we invite you to join once more. There is still work that must be done.

Early Members:

  • Umm Talibah, the mother of the community, and her daughter, Sakinah.
  • Brother Abdullah, who was the husband of Sakinah, daughter of Umm Talibah.
  • Sister Shukryah/Shugryah.
  • Alibaba Lumumba, his ex-wife Khadijah, and his daughter Sharifah.
  • Brother Rasool/Rasul, who was the husband of Sharifah.
  • Ishmael, who had been an Imam at a different Masjid that had shut down, and his wife Sa’eedah.
  • Brother Amin Muhammad and brother Mumin, both of whom used to sell incense and other products half a block from the Masjid on E North Avenue and Greenmount Ave.
  • Brother Idris, a man with a beautiful voice, who used to call the Adhan, and he used to be married to sister Shukryah/Shugryah.
  • Brother Hasan Ali.
  • Imam Isa Abdul Kareem, from New York: Jamaa’aatul Asr along with two other groups in the 1980s who were under Imam Isa and pledged to Imam Jamil Al-Amin.
  • Shayah: he was one of three people Imam Isa sent from New York and was appointed first Imam of Al-Asr.
  • A brother, one of the three New York brothers sent by Imam Isa. This brother went by many aliases. He was best known by his nickname Mufid/Mufeed, but was also known as Muhammad, Yakoob Muhammad, and Muhammad El Muhammad.
  • Brother Askia
  • Fawaaz Muhammad

Early History:

Shayah, who was one of the three people Imam Isa sent from New York, married Umm Talibah, and was appointed as first Imam of Al-Asr. However, due to certain circumstances, Shayah had to depart Baltimore.

After Shayah’s departure, Alibaba Lumumba was appointed as Imam. Another brother, one of the three sent by Imam Isa from New York, was appointed as Na’ibul Imam. The Na’ib had gone by multiple aliases. He was known as Muhammad, Yakoob Muhammad, Muhammad El Muhammad, but he was best known as Mufid/Mufeed. The Na’ib had his Arabic down, so he was assigned as the teacher at the Madrasah.

It was decided that Jumu’ah will no longer be held at Umm Talibah’s apartment, so it was Alibaba’s mission to hunt for a place. A group that had split off from the main Warith Deen Group on Wilson Street to do their own thing had set up shop in East Baltimore on North Avenue [East North Ave. and Greenmount ave]. However, the Imam and the Na’ib of the new establishment kept bumping heads and the new little group started to deteriorate. Alibaba had been present one Jumu’ah and it had been announced that they would shut down, so Alibaba spoke to them after the Jumu’ah prayer. The Na’ib took a group from there and they worked to open somewhere in Northwest Baltimore. And with the split, it made it impossible to hold the building on North Avenue, so Alibaba got the information, paid the rent, and Jamaa’aatul Asr established Jumu’ah prayer there, thus moving services out of Umm Talibah’s apartment.

Around 1984, Imam Alibaba was involved in an auto accident and was hospitalised for a few months. After his release, there were desires in the community to buy a building, however, much fitnah had been erupting in Imam Alibaba’s time away. Fitnah was being incited amongst the sisters and the Madrasah was let go.

A building in West Baltimore was rented and Jamaa’aatul Asr split. Imam Alibaba was in charge of the original building in East Baltimore, while Mufid was assigned as the Amir of the building in West Baltimore. The group in the West further split, and Imam Alibaba revoked the name of Jamaa’aatul Asr from the West Baltimore building, which was then renamed to something approximate to “The Islamic Seminary”. The West Baltimore building was finally lost during the fallout of a situation.

By approximately 1985, Jamaa’aatul Asr in East Baltimore could not handle the expenses due to low membership, and it had to eventually disband.
An attempt during a meeting of about 5 brothers at Alibaba Lumumba’s house, around 1987, to revive Jamaa’aatul Asr in Baltimore had been attempted, however, it was not meant to be at that time.

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