The Sarajia Islamic Studies centre was established in 1994 by the Muslim community of West Lothian. Originally, the need was discussed in meeting held at Jaan Muhammad's house in Deans, Livingston. Members of the community would gather at his house along with the lecturer Muhammad Saleem. They discussed the urgent need for an Islamic centre for the community.
Originally, the prayers were started at Jaan's house along with Jumma prayers. After searching for a short while a suitable location was found on Whitburn road in Bathgate. This centre was in the heart of Bathgate, which housed around three families in those days. However, this location was suitable because it was central and easily accessible for most of the surrounding villages and towns. As things were in progress, some of the brothers were visiting Madina in Saudi Arabia. They were sitting in the prophet's Masjid in the company of some of our great scholars and this topic came up in the conversations.
One of the Scholars was Harzat Molana Khan Muhammad who is the Principle of Khanka Sarjia in Pakistan. He is the also the head of the Khatmi Nabuwat movement in Pakistan. He listened to the proposal for the centre and the needs of the community. He suggested that the centre should be called Sarajia Islamic Studies. It was decided to take the opinion of this respected scholar and it was named Sarajia Islamic Studies.
Sarajia is taken from the word Shiraj which means the lighthouse. Metaphorically, the light of Islam through this new centre in Bathgate illuminated West Lothian!
The community purchased the premised for thirty thousand pounds, funds provided purely from donations and collections by the local Muslims. There was a further twenty-five thousand collected to renovate the premises and make it suitable to meet the religious requirements of the Muslims.
The centre was opened by our respected Scholar Zia ur rahman Farooquie. The local council and also the Muslims of West Lothian attended the ceremony. There was also a number of Muslims from other areas of Scotland and other Mosques.
The Muslim community was originally catered for by local Muslim volunteers before an Imam was employed to look after the spiritual needs of the Muslim community. Classes have been running for ten years (2004) during which period a number of students have moved on to national Islamic institutes for further Islamic education and instruction. There are seven Alims and Alima in the West Lothian community who originally started their education in the Sarajia Islamic Institute's Madrassa.
The centre still has these classes running and is in the process of overhauling the whole educational system to meet the growing demands as the community changes and grows. Even to this day, the Masjid can be quite tight for space, especially in the blessed month of Ramadan.
The centre provides a host of services along with the regular prayers and education. The Centre also helps the community by providing tours and information on the centre. It provides a number of external services like school, prison and hospital visits. There is a registered Urdu Library in the centre that is stocked and supported by the Library service.
The centre has had many meetings in the past to see how best they can meet the needs of the community. There has been numerous meetings wit the local council as well as with the Local Muslim community. The centre has always strived to promote the teachings of Islam and adhere to its spiritual obligations to the community.