New iconic Birmingham masjid hoping to build a prophetic community

A masjid plays a central role in building a traditional Muslim community and so it’s no wonder Muslims are always eager to create places of worship and Islamic centres.

It’s why the construction of a new masjid and community centre in Birmingham is generating such excitement as it’s expected to become a new iconic landmark in the city.

The Islamic Centre of Britain will be a six storey masjid offering a range of services to the community. Attached to the self-sustaining masjid, will be an Islamic School, a community centre open to all and a commercial centre.

The development will look to revive the “forgotten traditions and functionality of masjids as an institution for gathering to gain knowledge, share wisdom, contemplate, challenge thinking, interact with spirituality and celebrate as a community.”

“This is for the community,” says Mohammad Ramzan Dabbagh, Project Director of the Islamic Centre of Britain.  

“And in the main it is for the pleasure of Allah (SWT). And pleasure of Allah (SWT) lies in what? It lies in the following in the footsteps of the greatest man to set foot, not only on the earth, but on the universe — our Great Prophet Muhammad (SAW).”

Mohammad emphasises the significance that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) placed on building mosques, such as the Quba Mosque, which was the first mosque he constructed during his emigration to Medina. He also quickly established the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina after his arrival in the city.

“Those were the very first thing the Prophet (SAW) created, so masjids are really the identity of the Muslim,” he says.

“The stronger the identity we have, the stronger we – the Muslim people, our deen Islam, and our ways given to us by God Almighty – become,” he added.

Years in the making

The group behind the project has been working on it for the past 12 years, acquiring the land and going through the tough process of getting full planning permission: “[It’s been] one step forward, two back but with the blessing of Allah (SWT), full planning permission has now been acquired,” says Mohammad.

And they are happy to have secured “prime land” in the heart of city. “Birmingham, as you know, is the central point in the UK. And it’s in the heart of the Muslim community,” he adds.  

As well as the masjid, school and community centre, the complex will include a commercial centre and apartments.

“The shops and apartments ultimately are being built so we can generate some income,” says Mohammad.

“So, when insha’Allah this project Islamic Centre of Britain is completed, then there is some self generation of income in order to pay some of the running costs.”

The educational centre will offer full-time primary and secondary education, as well as an evening madrassah. The community centre will provide a range of social, educational, and recreational activities for people of all ages, including an open kitchen and a day centre.

In terms of eco projects, the development will have three dedicated green spaces; a roof garden next to the masjid, a courtyard garden and — what the website calls the ‘crown jewel in the Islamic Centre of Britain’s green project’ — the Contemplation Garden.

Getting involved

Building works have already started on the ambitious project and now the organisers want the wider Muslim community to know more about it, get involved and help build something iconic.  

“Now is your grand opportunity to get involved with this project for the pleasure of Allah (SWT),” says Mohammad, adding that people should contribute however they can; whether that’s with money or by making dua to Allah to make the project a success.

“Prophet (SAW) said lay one single brick in building a masjid, Allah (SWT) will build a house for you in Jannah, in heaven,” he says.  

Even if it’s a pound, that could “insha’Allah be sufficient for your salvation in pleasing Allah (SWT).”

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