After visiting the Niagara Falls in Canada, we decided to cross the border into the US seen as the border sharing the two countries was not so far away.
The famous Rainbow Bridge which allows visitors to either drive through or walk through to the USA. There are several borders around the country that connect these two mighty countries and Niagara Falls happens to be the centre point for one of them. As we had a car, we drove through another bridge called Peace Bridge and visited the city of Buffalo, which is located in the New York State.
We drove immediately to an area near Emerson to visit an area with a large Muslim population. It was around 5.30PM when we arrived which is why we saw children dressed in Jubbas crossing the streets on their way to Maktab. We also saw women wearing the Niqab driving and walking around the streets of Buffalo. Clearly this area was home to a large Muslim population.
It was definitely different here in comparison to the streets of Toronto. The place seemed a lot more populated and busier. After dinner in Appletree Halal Restarant, we made our way to a Masjid for Isha. We were fortunate enough to visit Masjid Zakariya. A former church, this beautiful building retains much of its architecture but has been blended with Islamic designs internally giving it a divine ambiance. After Salah, I approached the Imam to meet him before we returned to Canada that night.
Shaykh Asim Ahmad*, a graduate of Dhabel Darul Uloom, greeted me with a smile. I introduced myself and he immediately told me that whilst he was a student at Darul Uloom Bury, Mufti Saiful Islam (Bradford, UK), who was also my teacher, was his teacher and mentor. He requested me to stay the night to which I had to decline as I had to return a car rental the next day.
We walked out the Masjid and made our way towards his house. Inside, I met his two sons and cute cat. After offering me a copy of his Magazine and some Californian Medjoul Dates, we spoke about current affairs and shared some stories and details. One thing he told me stood out from the rest; it was about Maulana Yusuf Mutala.
Referring to the large population of Muslims in the area along with the many Islamic seminaries and Masjids, Shaykh Asim made a powerful point. Of course, I paraphrase what he mentioned; ‘Everything you see in this area from the women in Burqa, the Madaris, Masajid, the men wearing Jubbas practicing their faith, the children attending Maktab, all this is due to one man; a man who not once gave a public speech in his life (alluding to his choice of remaining low profile). All this was because of a clean heart’. Of course, I knew who he was referring to. It was Mawlana Yusuf Mutala who came to Buffalo and established Masjid Zakariyya in 1992.
*Shaykh Asim Ahmad is the Imam of Masjid Zakariyya in Buffalo, New York State, USA. He is also the Executive Editor of Al-Madinah, an official magazine/publication of Darul Uloom Al-Madania of Buffalo.