Mosque central to community life
When I think of my place; my beloved place... I think of my youth. I sought out this Mosque way back when I was choosing between life or death. It was at the turning point of my age to decide if I should follow my peers and do all the "bad" things most teenagers can do or follow a spirit of righteousness. I found out about the "Temple" from one of my peers who visited the very same place as a source of amusement and curiosity. I was invited to come along with them and have some laughs. The building itself was across the street from a church. I had to walk up some very steep stairs. For me, it felt like an ascension. Inside, I looked around and noticed the designs in the moldings of the ceiling and the way the tiles on the floors seemed so perfect and deliberately placed one by one. For me, it was as if the building was expressing itself for the purpose for which it was being used. Sometimes, you have no where to workshop and a storefront or someones home would be acceptable. After all, we all know it is not the building that holds the spirit, it is the person. However, this place has great spirit. I have my own experience with being inside and realizing the importance of community life. As Muslims, we all worked together and put out pennies, nickels and dimes in a bucket. We pooled our resources! We purchased the Sonia Ballroom! We owned the entire building! The strong smell of King Pine disinfectant used to mop up before our Sunday Meetings was replaced by the sweet smell of burnt incense.
The physical details of this place represent the growth and changes, and the needs of the community up to the modern time. When I first attended Temple, it was small and it was kept clean. The building was respected by all the neighborhood. There was NO graffiti writing on the building, nor litter, nor dog or human filth. The surrounding area was kept secure and safe. There was NO threat of harm or violence. Masjid Abdul-Muhsi Khalifah houses Sister Clara Muhammad Enlightenment Center, Akbar Hall (formerly Sonia Ballroom) and a Community Service Center. Every inch of Masjid Khalifah is incorporated into positive community life. If any features of Masjid Khalifah were to change it would for the betterment of the Masjid and the souls that enter. The building itself stands as a testament for civilized living.
The Mosque has been jeopardized by threat of sale. (February 2012)