Our Association was formed in 1986, to serve the Muslim community in and around Royal Holloway University of London. Many of our active members live further afield, in the surrounding Home Counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
The Islamic Welfare Association seeks to promote the educational and spiritual well-being of Muslims in the area. It also strives to foster good relations with our neighbours in the wider community by raising positive Islam-awareness. This is done formally through lectures, exhibitions, guided tours to mosques and by engaging with other charities, voluntary groups and local government bodies. Most importantly, we try to promote a positive image of Islam by our personal living example, in day-to-day contact with our colleagues at work and with our neighbours and friends everywhere.
Most of our activities are centred around the Royal Holloway University of London campus on the A30 London Road in Egham. Occasionally we have functions at the nearby Jurgens Centre in Englefield Green or the Egham Youth Centre. We are working hard to find a suitable property to make our home.
Since 1986 Jum’ah prayers have been held on campus every Friday at lunchtime. In those early days, we catered for about 15 to 20 people. Later, as attendance grew, we moved to ever larger premises. Nowadays we regularly have over 200 attending Friday prayers. All our khutbahs [sermons] are published on www.khutbahbank.org.uk and can also be found on www.khutbahbank.com
During Ramadan our members’ families prepare and serve hot meals for students to break their fast. We also provide an Imam to lead taraweeh prayers. We host family iftars at weekends, and sponsor the Eid prayers and Eid dinners every year. Senior members of the university staff and the Chaplaincy usually attend our Eid dinners.
The Islamic Welfare Association of West Surrey also works closely with the Islamic Society (ISOC) at Royal Holloway University.
The Al Bayan Weekend School is run by two of our long-standing members Sami and Nadia El Taji (it is their personal effort, not an official project of our Association). The School teaches a variety of Islamic topics and is held every Saturday morning during normal term time, from 9am till 1pm, at Stroud College’s campus in Egham.
Some of our members conduct regular tours for adults and children, of the Stoke Poges Lane mosque in Slough. Visitors are given an overview of the teachings of Islam, the diversity of Muslim cultures, and the role of the mosque in the community. Questions are invited (over tea and biscuits) and there is an open discussion about the challenges facing Muslims in Britain. The tours are popular with a wide range of people, from school and college groups to business leaders, police trainers, priests, politicians and local government officials.
This project covers Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It is being extended to include visitors from the West Surrey area.
From time to time, we invite members of the public to an informal ‘MYMN Event’ in a large hall in a town centre. Here we offer hot and cold drinks, food, posters and audiovisual displays, usually on a theme based on Islam and Muslim civilisation. Guests are encouraged to ask questions, offer comments, and generally to interact with their Muslim neighbours in a convivial atmosphere. These events provide a window into the world of Islam for our neighbours, and also an opportunity for us to train young people in event planning, da’wah work, interviewing, media skills, catering and personal development. Click here for a short report and pictures of the event.
Plans are now in progress to acquire a property of our own. The ideal premises should be a multi-purpose facility for congregational prayers, weekend Islamic school, library, exhibition area with audio-visual resources as well as a recreational area for young people and the elderly.
We plan to provide the following services:
We have to improve our own knowledge of Islam, and we have to improve our neighbours’ perceptions of Islam and the Muslim world. We want to make our Association a dynamic instrument for good, not only for local Muslims but also for our many friends and neighbours around us. Your skills and your commitment can make a big difference. Please come forward to help us in this noble and ultimately rewarding endeavour.
[General Secretary] email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sister Nilofar Bhurawala