While The Gracious Center for Learning and Enrichment Activities (GCLEA) is equipped with prayer spaces, it functions as much more than a mosque. It is a center which provides many beneficial resources to the Muslim American community of Southern New Jersey. Among the services the GCLEA offers are spiritual counseling, Arabic courses, matrimonial counseling, women's and men's study circles, and various social services. The GCLEA is a registered non-profit organization and just one example of how mosques serve as community centers and assist in providing helpful services to empower the Muslim American community. The center also holds community service opportunities such as winter coat drives, health bazaars, and monthly sandwich making. (GCLEA)
While The Gracious Center for Learning and Enrichment Activities (GCLEA) is equipped with prayer spaces, it functions as much more than a mosque. It is a center which provides many beneficial resources to the Muslim American community of Southern New Jersey. Among the services the GCLEA offers are spiritual counseling, Arabic courses, matrimonial counseling, women’s and men’s study circles, and various social services. The GCLEA is a registered non-profit organization and just one example of how mosques serve as community centers and assist in providing helpful services to empower the Muslim American community. The center also holds community service opportunities such as winter coat drives, health bazaars, and monthly sandwich making. (GCLEA)

 

Islam highly values the role of mothers - so much so, that Prophet Muhammad stated, "Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother" (Ahmad). Meaning, through serving one's mother and treating her with utmost respect and gracious kindness, a Muslim can attain entrance into Paradise. It is important to note that being dutiful to both mothers and fathers is commanded by God and honoring one's parents is considered a part of faith; as is evident in the following verse from the Quran: "We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth" (46:15). (GCLEA)
Islam highly values the role of mothers – so much so, that Prophet Muhammad stated, “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” (Ahmad). Meaning, through serving one’s mother and treating her with utmost respect and gracious kindness, a Muslim can attain entrance into Paradise. It is important to note that being dutiful to both mothers and fathers is commanded by God and honoring one’s parents is considered a part of faith; as is evident in the following verse from the Quran: “We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth” (46:15). (GCLEA)

 

Did someone say "FREE"? The GCLEA Marketplace is a great initiative for  community members to advertise the professional and volunteer services they offer. A Muslim version of "Angie's List", if you will. In addition to helping budding entrepreneurs and creative artisits, it also helps community members who may be looking for services such as babysitting for children and afterschool-care services. Efforts such as these help link community members together which helps everyone! (GCLEA)
Did someone say “FREE”? The GCLEA Marketplace is a great initiative for community members to advertise the professional and volunteer services they offer. A Muslim version of “Angie’s List”, if you will. In addition to helping budding entrepreneurs and creative artisits, it also helps community members who may be looking for services such as babysitting for children and afterschool-care services. Efforts such as these help link community members together which helps everyone! (GCLEA)

 

Intense sessions of "girl talk" taking place at the mosque. Catching up with girlfriends, sharing stories, and scheduling the next play date are all ways that young girls can interact at the mosque in a positive and fun way. The Gracious Center of Learning and Enrichment Activities (GCLEA) center provides avenues for kids to foster their social and spiritual growth through programs such as the afterschool enrichment program. (GCLEA)
Intense sessions of “girl talk” taking place at the mosque. Catching up with girlfriends, sharing stories, and scheduling the next play date are all ways that young girls can interact at the mosque in a positive and fun way. The Gracious Center of Learning and Enrichment Activities (GCLEA) center provides avenues for kids to foster their social and spiritual growth through programs such as the afterschool enrichment program. (GCLEA)

 

One of the fundamental teachings of Islam is that no amount of good goes unnoticed. Certainly, the creation can prove disappointing in terms of recognizing our personal efforts to bring about good - but then again, created beings are imperfect in essence. However, one of God's attributes is "All-Knowing" and the "All-Seeing", so if you have done a good deed, then be certain it will be rewarded and has been seen. This picture represents that concept because although it may seem that four rows are currently empty, there is one full row of food donations. This is due to the effort put forth by community members to ensure something is being done to fight hunger, and that is deserving of appreciation. (GCLEA)
One of the fundamental teachings of Islam is that no amount of good goes unnoticed. Certainly, the creation can prove disappointing in terms of recognizing our personal efforts to bring about good – but then again, created beings are imperfect in essence. However, one of God’s attributes is “All-Knowing” and the “All-Seeing”, so if you have done a good deed, then be certain it will be rewarded and has been seen. This picture represents that concept because although it may seem that four rows are currently empty, there is one full row of food donations. This is due to the effort put forth by community members to ensure something is being done to fight hunger, and that is deserving of appreciation. (GCLEA)

 

I once saw a painting which appeared as a blank canvas with sporadic, faint hints of color. Wondering if it was unfinshed, I looked at the title and saw, "Mother's Day Without a Mother" which made it all the more striking. One of the most lovely things about Islam which most people are unaware of is the heavy emphasis on love - in all forms, for all people. Especially with regards to one's familial ties, which may not always be easily maintained. Knowing that, God offers a reward for maintaining good relations with one's family. This is seen in the following statement of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him: “Do not break off ties with one another, do not turn away from one another, do not hate one another, and do not envy one another. Be O slaves of Allah brothers.” [Al-Bukhaari
I once saw a painting which appeared as a blank canvas with sporadic, faint hints of color. Wondering if it was unfinshed, I looked at the title and saw, “Mother’s Day Without a Mother” which made it all the more striking. One of the most lovely things about Islam which most people are unaware of is the heavy emphasis on love – in all forms, for all people. Especially with regards to one’s familial ties, which may not always be easily maintained. Knowing that, God offers a reward for maintaining good relations with one’s family. This is seen in the following statement of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him: “Do not break off ties with one another, do not turn away from one another, do not hate one another, and do not envy one another. Be O slaves of Allah brothers.” [Al-Bukhaari] (GCLEA)
Can you say "Girl Power"?!This bulletin board provides information about valuable programming for Muslim women. It's geared towards enriching the Muslim female's experiences and empowering women through various activities. Some of the items listed were a "Sisters Brunch" and "Sisters Summer Ball". Because the holy month of Ramadan is coming up, there is also a sheet for sisters to volunteer their time and resources to help the GCLEA community. (GCLEA)
Can you say “Girl Power”?!This bulletin board provides information about valuable programming for Muslim women. It’s geared towards enriching the Muslim female’s experiences and empowering women through various activities. Some of the items listed were a “Sisters Brunch” and “Sisters Summer Ball”. Because the holy month of Ramadan is coming up, there is also a sheet for sisters to volunteer their time and resources to help the GCLEA community. (GCLEA)

 

"This is my first time attending a mosque. I'm a Christian but I've always been curious about Islam. It's not as it's portrayed, so I came here with one of my friends who is Muslim. She was helping me put the scarf on in the car because I didn't want to offend anyone. I'm happy I came." This visitor (not pictured) was kind enough to share her experience and thoughts about visiting the mosque and her general curiosity about Islam. If you also have questions or are curious about Islam, it is a sincere hope that you will visit your local mosque with a friend or even make a new Muslim friend. Just like our bodies, our minds and hearts need exercise too - in learning new experiences and trying new activities. (GCLEA)
“This is my first time attending a mosque. I’m a Christian but I’ve always been curious about Islam. It’s not as it’s portrayed, so I came here with one of my friends who is Muslim. She was helping me put the scarf on in the car because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I’m happy I came.” This visitor (not pictured) was kind enough to share her experience and thoughts about visiting the mosque and her general curiosity about Islam. If you also have questions or are curious about Islam, it is a sincere hope that you will visit your local mosque with a friend or even make a new Muslim friend. Just like our bodies, our minds and hearts need exercise too – in learning new experiences and trying new activities. (GCLEA)

 

There is no place for violence against women in Islam. In fact, a portion of the final sermon of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, specifically mentions the kind treatment of women in which he stated "Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers." Mosques should be safe spaces for women and men. One way to ensure that the needs of all are met is to provide access to resources that someone may need. This form is posted in the Women section and lists the Domestic Violence Hotline as well as a link to Manavi, a South Asian organization dedicated to assisting battered women of South Asian descent. (GCLEA)
There is no place for violence against women in Islam. In fact, a portion of the final sermon of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, specifically mentions the kind treatment of women in which he stated “Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.” Mosques should be safe spaces for women and men. One way to ensure that the needs of all are met is to provide access to resources that someone may need. This form is posted in the Women section and lists the Domestic Violence Hotline as well as a link to Manavi, a South Asian organization dedicated to assisting battered women of South Asian descent. (GCLEA)

 

Muslims offer obligatory prayers five times throughout the day at specified times (the exact timings of prayers are pictured here). These prayers are built into our day so that we are constantly returning to God and remembering all the mercy upon us and the needs we have. Islam teaches that the present life we live is temporary, and the afterlife is everlasting - moreover the five daily prayers serve as a reminder of our connection with God. These are the dawn prayer (Fajr), the early afternoon prayer (Zuhr), the late afternoon prayer (Asr), the evening prayer (Maghrib), and the night prayer (Isha).
Muslims offer obligatory prayers five times throughout the day at specified times (the exact timings of prayers are pictured here). These prayers are built into our day so that we are constantly returning to God and remembering all the mercy upon us and the needs we have. Islam teaches that the present life we live is temporary, and the afterlife is everlasting – moreover the five daily prayers serve as a reminder of our connection with God. These are the dawn prayer (Fajr), the early afternoon prayer (Zuhr), the late afternoon prayer (Asr), the evening prayer (Maghrib), and the night prayer (Isha). (GCLEA)

 

New friendships are made at the mosque! It is said that our friends are the family which we choose for ourselves. Indeed the benefit of friendship is a universal privilege that each of us have felt, regardless of the language we speak or the color of our skin. With regards to the role of friendship in Islam, Muslims are constantly reminded of the significance of good companionship through the way in which teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him are conveyed. Many of the teachings preserved by and relayed to Muslims since his passing were directly from his closest companions and friends. When Muslims mention the name of Prophet Muhammad's dear friends, we are encouraged to accompany their names with the phrase, "may God be pleased with them" just as we follow the Prophet's name with the phrase "peace be upon him". Imagine having a friend that wished sincere benefit for you each time he/she uttered your name. That is true Islam. (GCLEA)
New friendships are made at the mosque! It is said that our friends are the family which we choose for ourselves. Indeed the benefit of friendship is a universal privilege that each of us have felt, regardless of the language we speak or the color of our skin. With regards to the role of friendship in Islam, Muslims are constantly reminded of the significance of good companionship through the way in which teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him are conveyed. Many of the teachings preserved by and relayed to Muslims since his passing were directly from his closest companions and friends. When Muslims mention the name of Prophet Muhammad’s dear friends, we are encouraged to accompany their names with the phrase, “may God be pleased with them” just as we follow the Prophet’s name with the phrase “peace be upon him”. Imagine having a friend that wished sincere benefit for you each time he/she uttered your name. That is true Islam. (GCLEA)

 

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