Stirling Islamic centre: The Central Scotland Islamic Centre(CSIC) has been the focal point for the Muslims of Central Scotland for more than twenty years. There was a small but vibrant community of Muslims who established a small masjid on Bannockburn Road, St Ninians. This original mosque was called the Stirling Islamic Centre.
This was the first and only Masjid in Stirling, even though there has been a prayer room in the Stirling University for a number of years.
Layout of centre: The centre comprised of a large prayer room, a small study area which also formed the reception area. The wudhu area was small and had to pass through the kitchen to get to it. The kitchen was small having a small cooker, sink, microwave and fridge. The building was a large flat roofed building with two smaller buildings joined onto it. Due to its shape and size, it was affectingly known as the portabin.
Community Growth: This original Masjid catered for the spiritual needs of the Muslims for over ten years. It became the focal point for many different groups of people. It also served the role of a community centre, where people met regularly, and also an Islamic school for children and adults alike. As the community grew, the centre became too small and a newer, bigger building was sought.
Need for new centre: At this point, there was a large number of Muslims attending the mosque. There was no separate wudhu area for ladies and no play/recreation facilities for children. There was no fascilies for the Imam - eg private quarters where he could study or rest. There was no separate area for visitors such as the Jamaat brothers. There was only one study area which catered for only a limited amount of children and only one class at a time. On Eid prayers, the Masjid was full and the cark park outside was utilized for prayers.
New Building: A new building was purchased on Burghmuir Road, by the local Muslims of Stirling, with donations from Muslims throughout the UK. The vast bulk of the donations were from the local Muslims. Alhamdulillah, no loan was taken from the bank and no interest was paid.
After the CSIC was purchased, the old building was sold to help pay for the new building. There was some internal alterations in the community hall where a new girder was placed so that some offices in the back of the hall could be combined into the main hall (see guided tour for reference).
Fire damage: The CSIC was fire bombed shortly after its procurement. Someone smashed the window at the back of the main prayer hall and set the centre alight. The carper caught fire and spread throughout the hall. There was also substantial smoke damage. The fire brigade put out the fire and kept it restricted to the main prayer hall. The centre was then refurbished with new carpets and all necessary repair work was carried out.
Falkirk Islamic Centre: At the same time as the CSIC was purchased, a second centre was purchased in Falkirk where a large community already existed. This new centre meant that the burdensome traveling to Stirling was reduced for the Muslims of Falkirk. (see History of Falkirk Islamic Centre).
Classes and education: The CSIC ran smoothly for a number of years with no major changes to the running of the centre nor to the teaching of the children. There were other classes in English which ran for a number of years -eg Young Muslims who had their own classes and activities (see photos) these classes appealed to the youngsters and provided a lasting bond between the then youths. There was also the Quranic circles which started in 1992 which promoted the reading and study of the Quran. These continued until 2003 with slight modification throughout the years. The last Amir was Dr Ismael and the teacher was the well respected Molana Ibrahim Mehtar.
Young Muslims: A special mention should be made to the Young Muslims which evolved to the Muslim Youth Development Program (IMYDP) under the thrust of Professor Zafar who later moved back to Pakistan after the completion of his studies. The classes were popular and were improved as the experience and expertise of the teachers grew. Later they became known as the Islamic classes and continued until may 2002.
A second mention should be made to the efforts of Molana Ibrahim Mehtar who arrived in the Muslim community in March 2000. He was the first Alim to live within the Stirling community and proved to be a magnet and a breath of fresh air. He not only taught the Sunday Islamic classes but also taught the elders on Fridays - Quranic Circles. He participated in a number of other activities. Because he was the first Alim it helped us to develop spiritually and to achieve a better understanding of our deen. He participated in Tarawih salah by completing the Quran with Abid Rasul during Ramadan.
Youth Conferences: Conferences were introduced in 1999 when guest speakers were invited, from throughout the UK, to the CSIC. They talked on a range of topics with the view of revitalising the zeal for Islamic knowledge and practice within the community.This has been continued until today with conferences once or twice a year. Guest speakers have included Molana Abdur Raheem, Molana Bilal Sahib, Molana Ahmed Ali, Molana Abdul Gafoor and a host of others. Talks in the future will be downloadable from this site (Inshallah).
Management Changes: The CSIC passed through a number of phases including elections in 1999 which saw the introduction of a new management committee, the first change after the CSIC was purchased 8 years earlier. The original committee had been running since the days of the Stirling Islamic centre and had overseen the purchase of the Central Scotland Islamic Centre. They had also paid back all loans that the centre had taken from individuals to purchase the building.
Education: The Imam who is affectionately know as Qari Sahib (Hafiz Jamil) has been teaching for the last 17 years. He was the first permanent teacher who taught in the original centre on Bannockburn Road and still teaching now. There was a temporary period of a few months when he was not teaching as his teaching methods and approach was being reviewed. Molana Yusuf Raja was appointed during this period and was finally succeeded by Molana Arif, the present (vice) Imam.
Under Molana Arif a number of changes have taken place in the teaching of the classes which have had a positive impact on the whole community - the youth and elders alike.
Present day: The Management Committee of the CSIC is in the progress of purchasing a new house for Molana Arif in Cowie after which the Molana's family can come and settle down within our community. HIs family is expected soon and he will resume his duties in the centre.
This concludes the history of our centre as seen through my eyes (Zahid) as I have had the pleasure of being a part of this community and of the Ummah of our beloved Rasullullah - upon whom be peace. If I have missed anything then please drop me an email.