The East London Mosque hosted a special inaugural Ramadan Launch and Appreciation Event on Wednesday, bringing together various stakeholders. Attendees, including trustees, staff members and volunteers, all came together with a shared purpose – to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan and make preparations for it. It was also an opportunity to express appreciation for the fantastic work of our staff, volunteers and everyone connected to the mosque.

Hosting the event, the CEO of East London Mosque, Junaid Ahmed, noted in his opening remarks the importance of holding such a collective gathering. Beyond fostering a stronger bond, the event had two overarching goals. "Firstly, this event allows us to express gratitude towards one another and to Allah for the opportunity to contribute to the mosque's operation”, said Junaid, emphasising that showing appreciation for people is intrinsically tied to showing appreciation to Allah.

Secondly, the event served as a chance to outline plans and logistics for Ramadan. The plans were outlined in detail by Ahmed and three other ELM staff. Senior Fundraising Officer, Tozommul Ali, gave details of the various fundraising initiatives. Head of Assets and Operations, Asad Jaman, provided an update on the phase three extension of the mosque and renovation of the dome. Head of Programmes and Maryam Centre, Sufia Alom, outlined specific plans to prepare the ladies' area for the upcoming holy month. 

The evening culminated in an exclusive tour of the new extension of the mosque prior to its public opening for the month of Ramadan. This sneak peek offered attendees a first chance to pray in and experience the space during its final stages.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of ELM, Dr Abdul-Hayee Murshad, emphasised the significance of the event bringing together trustees, staff, and volunteers. "We all serve this mosque purely for the sake of Allah” said Murshad. “While individuals like me may strive to fulfil our duties, collectively, we can elevate each other further through support, cooperation and taking pride in one another's achievements over our own.”

Picture: Chairman and CEO at the launch event.

Key Announcements

Leading Taraweeh Prayers

The East London Mosque has arranged for four Imams to lead Taraweeh prayers this Ramadan. Along with ELM's regular Imam Sayyid Anis Haqq and Imam Abdul Rahman, two popular international Imams are returning - Sheikh Mu'tassim Al-Ghanem and Sheikh Hazim Saif. The international Imams will arrive next week. An introductory event will be held on March 6th for the community to meet and hear recitations from the Imams ahead of Ramadan. 

Ramadan Timetable 

Printed and downloadable Ramadan timetables detailing prayer times and programming will be made available for distribution online and in the mosque. In the lead up to Ramadan, talks will take place on March 2nd, 3rd and 4th catering to Bangla, English and Somali speakers respectively. An additional session is also scheduled to prepare new Muslims and reverts to make the most of the month.

Serving Iftar 

The mosque's daily iftar meal capacity has increased to serve 1000 people this year. After more than a decade, the regular head chef has retired. The ELM has appointed a new chef who received positive feedback for his cooking during a food taster last month. Keeping in line with the ELM’s eco-friendly goals and commitment to sustainability, metal cutlery will replace plastics.

Facilitating Access

The ELM will implement solutions to the long-running traffic problem during busy periods. Following extensive coordination with the council, measures will be introduced to improve traffic flow. The changes introduced will take effect in early March. It will direct vehicles away from the mosque and convert certain streets to one-way traffic. Additional officers will regulate parking violations and ensure the safety of pedestrians. 

Mosque Deep Cleaning

In preparation for the large numbers visiting the mosque during Ramadan, the ELM has scheduled a major deep cleaning event on March 2nd from 10:30AM to 12:30PM. While professional contractors will undertake intensive sanitisation procedures like carpet washing, the mosque is inviting members of the public to participate. Volunteers will assist by rolling up their sleeves alongside staff for cleaning, painting, and other beautification efforts to welcome the sacred month. 

Itikaf and Tahajjud Arrangements

The mosque will facilitate Itikaf for 60 worshippers in the basement prayer. The application deadline is set for March 12th. Because of the extremely high demand for Itikaf spaces, a draw will be conducted to select the winners. By contrast, no changes are slated for the traditional Tahajjud prayers in the last ten days of the holy month and will be held as usual. 

Engaging the Community

An exclusive evening is arranged on March 6th for the community to meet the Imams and hear them recite. The ELM also plans to spotlight online peer-to-peer fundraising by having each volunteer create a personalised donation page and aim to raise £1000 individually. 

Eid Prayer Arrangements

The East London Mosque has scheduled four Eid prayers this year to accommodate many attendees. The first prayer will be held at 7 AM, followed by congregations at 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, and a final prayer at 10:30 AM. The last prayer will include British Sign Language interpretation, ensuring accessibility for the deaf community.

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