0.6 miles from their high school, hidden behind a new gas station is the field of dreams. Three boys who laughed, played, worshipped and dreamed of such a place, suddenly died together.
Born in three different parts of the world, neither they nor their parents knew that their fate was intertwined together like a braid.
Each boy different from the other, individual in their strengths unique in their nature but tied tightly together by their friendship.
Slowly in their youthful years together a dream evolved. Tired of playing on a lopsided non regulation basketball court at the mosque, waiting for days for a place to practice soccer and always being invited to play at the fine courts of the churches and synagogue, but never being able to repay the hospitality. This would have made some young people frustrated but these very challenges made them dream.
They would sit together and dream of an Islamic Center where the courts were regulation size, where the soccer field was always available for a pickup game, where the basketball bounced on an even floor and most of all where they could invite the youth of other faiths to play with them, and be the host for a change.
They would dream of a mosque where the bathrooms were not flooded and where the roof did not leak, the sound system actually worked and where the carpet was not so threadbare that one tripped on the worn down strands.
Most of all they dreamed of a mosque where they could bring their friends from other faiths and not be ashamed of the “ghetto” condition of their mosque.
They scrubbed and cleaned their “ghetto” mosque as they called it affectionately, and tried their best to optimize what was there, but the mosque building built with the structural elements of a private residence rather than a public place was beyond their ability to improve.
Unlike other young people who came and went from the mosque shrugging their shoulders at the shabby condition, tolerating it till they moved elsewhere, these boys, talked and planned and most of all dreamed………….
They dreamed of an Islamic Center that had real bathrooms, where the building was actually built with material that withstood the test of time and was meant for a public place.
They recognized the limitations in the vision of their elders who were mostly immigrants and had learned to cut corners when resources were limited. They fully understood that cutting corners had resulted in some major dinosaurian outcomes…a dropped leaf roof that leaked for as long as they could remember (fifteen years) an inadequate pipe system that could not handle the load of the people who used it especially during Ramadan, and flooded the halls every now and then.
They would discuss it amongst themselves, think of ways to improve it and would bring suggestions to the elders.
When all discussions with the elders who had never bounced a basketball themselves would come to a standstill, they would dream of a growing up and developing an Islamic Center that which could hold all their dreams.
Such a place, which can hold all their dreams, now exists 0.6 miles from their High school. Hidden in the trees is a soccer field waiting to be made, a basketball court in situ to evolve and a Musallah where inshallah the roof will not leak.
They are buried twenty miles away, but they have left their dream behind in the hearts and minds of some if not all the community.
Perhaps from the intensity of their dreams and duas has emerged a possibility of an Islamic Complex that will house a Musallah (Masjid) a soccer field, a basketball court, a media room and maybe even an Internet café for students who want to spend a “clean” afternoon studying and playing.
As I stand at the edge of the clearing, the sun is going down. I can see in my minds eye a group of young men, like them, playing on the soccer field, and the adhan being called. At the edge of the field there is a sign on the court that denotes Qibla.
They stop their game and right there on Gods earth, they go into Ruku and Sujood in Jamaat. Putting their foreheads as close to the ground as they can and gaining the proximity of Allah………..fulfilling the requirements of those who in the Quran have been promised the love of Allah and the Gardens of Jannah.
A dream waiting to be fulfilled by the Grace of Allah through and for those who have been left behind.