Mosque is the centre of the religious and social activities of Muslims of Dunedin. Establishing this mosque, with a majority of student population, was quite a challenge for the OMA. It took 51/2 long years from when we first started collecting donations to the eventual purchase of an existing building situated at 21 Clyde St, in the heart of the university area. Alhamdulillah Al-Huda Mosque now serves not only the Muslims of Dunedin, but also the other small towns around Dunedin.
The purchase price of the mosque was NZ$372,000 (US$220,000). In order to purchase the mosque we took an interest free loan (qard hassan) of NZ$122,500 (US$72,500) and with the help of ALLAH (swt), and the good Muslims, we have recently managed to pay back the final outstanding amount in full, Al-Humdulillah.
However, as we finished paying back earlier loan another we are now facing an even bigger challenge. With the increase in number of overseas students, the space in the existing building is getting smaller, so much so that we are now using the sports hall of the mosque to pray Jum’uah, and due to predominantly cold weather of Dunedin is quite chilly due to lack of proper insulation and heating. Even the sports hall will not have enough space in another few years as it is almost full to the capacity during Jum’uah.
The OMA and MUSA are now working on a plan to address the mosque’s lack of space and other structural concerns with the existing mosque building. This, as one can imagine, is an expensive exercise especially for a community which is overwhelmingly comprised of students.
Below are some of the plans for mosque’s future:
1. Major redevelopment of the mosque:
Adding second level:
To address the space issue we are planning on adding a second level over almost half of the existing building. This second level would provide a separate prayer hall for the sisters (sisters currently pray in the same mussallah as brothers, behind a curtain), thus freeing up enough space in the mussallah for brothers. Other rooms added to the building will provide a bigger library and space urgently needed for the school.
Refurbishing the sports hall:
Improvements are required to make this hall more suitable and comfortable for Jum’uah prayer. As mentioned earlier this large hall lacks any insulation and is quite difficult to heat making the Jum’ah prayer very uncomfortable, particularly in the winter months (the mean annual temperature in Dunedin is approximately 10 deg celcius). Also, the ceiling of the hall needs to be replaced, as some of the panels are falling off.
Upgrading the ablution (wudu) area:
There is currently a shortage of ablution facilities and the mosque does not have any facility of showers. A major upgrade of the ablution, bathroom and shower facilities is thus required.
Changes to the entry and foyer area:
There is currently one entry to the mosque which is used by both the brothers and sisters. The redevelopment plan includes remodelling of main entry, foyer, existing kitchen facilities, and a complete facelift of the exterior of the building, so that it may look like a mosque.
The existing plans and some proposed designs for the mosque can be found in here
The expected cost for the complete redevelopment would be approximately NZ$800,000 (which would be close to US$460,000 but may change depending on the exchange rate).
2. Alternative refurbishing of the mosque:
If the OMA does not succeed in securing enough funds to conduct the major redevelopment, the alternative would be to at least carry out the following immediate refurbishments:
Refurbishing the large hall (as per the major redevelopment above)
Fixing the roof of the mosque:
The mosque structure covers a big area of about 700 square metres, and has two major areas. A big part of the roof over the large hall (sports hall) was replaced shortly after the mosque building was acquired. The roof of the small hall, which is being used as Mussallah for five daily prayers, has been in need of repair for quite some time. The roof leaks during heavy rains and there is a concern that the leakage is weakening the roof structure. If we cannot build the second level as mentioned above then we will need to replace the roof of the small hall.
Upgrading the ablution (wudu) area (as per the major redevelopment above)
Separate entry for sisters and new rooms for Islamic school for kids
The expected cost for this immediate refurbishment would be approximately NZ$200,000 (which would be close to US$115,000).
Finally, the long term plans for the OMA is to be self sufficient as it has become increasingly difficult to raise funds locally and internationally in the current global circumstances.