Dar-us-Salaam is committed to sharing the message of Islam through sincere action, by developing a model Islamic community based upon and adhering to the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Such a living, dynamic and vibrant Islamic community can invite people to Islam by example and not merely through word alone, with the help and permission of Allah.
The name of our community comes from Allah directly in the Qur’an where He calls Jannah “Dar-us-Salaam”, meaning the Abode of Peace.
Dar-us-Salaam was founded in the spirit of this revealed verse. Dar-us-Salaam aims to be a place to which we can invite Muslims and non-Muslims alike to the peace and calm of knowing Allah, and a community guided by the light emanating from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the last Messenger Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him).
Our community is a purpose-built community, and the projects and institutions exist to bring believers together in an environment where Allah is remembered. In such an environment, revelation is the basis for decision making, and actions are taken in light of how pleasing they are to Allah. But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. We hope the actions you’ll read about here find a place in your heart.
We invite you to Dar-us-Salaam, welcome!
Projects of Dar-us-Salaam
- A Guided Education System
- Sharing The Message: Media Projects
- Cultivating the Love of Al-Quran
A Guided Education System
In His first words to Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and to the Muslim community, Allah commanded us to learn and understand. His mention of the pen in this first revelation forever placed learning and teaching in a position of honor and importance for the community of believers; a system of life-long education is the foundation upon which Dar-us-Salaam is built.
Al-Huda Daycare and Pre-Kindergarten
Education at Al-Huda School starts well before Kindergarten. At the Daycare and Pre-School, our youngest community members start learning Arabic sounds and letters soon after they take their first steps. Using a complete curriculum designed by our native Arabic speaking Pre-School staff, children who attend the Pre-School are well positioned to start their Arabic instruction once in Al-Huda School. A significant percentage of Al-Huda Daycare and Pre-School children enroll in Al-Huda School.
Dar-us-Salaam laid its foundation with the founding of Al-Huda School in 1995.
Despite concerns that putting children in a full-time Islamic school would lead to them being isolated, and fears that an Islamic school would not be academically competitive, Al-Huda School started with 27 children in grades Kindergarten through Second. Over 15 years later, Al-Huda School’s student body of close to 600 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade are not only performing at or above national averages on standardized tests, but also they are youth leaders in the community and on college campuses around the region.
With the grace of Allah, Al-Huda School is recognized both nationally and internationally as being one of the top Islamic schools in the nation. In 2006, Al-Huda School’s Elementary and Middle schools were accredited by the Middle States Association for Colleges, the same body that accredits top private schools and universities like the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. In 2011, just weeks before its first ever graduating class was to receive their diplomas, the same organization accredited Al-Huda High School.
Students at Al-Huda School study a curriculum which combines both traditional academic subjects and Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic Studies. Each year, students take several standardized tests to assess their subject knowledge and thinking skills relative to students across Maryland and the across the nation.
Al-Huda High School students are required to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in addition to completing an internship at an office or business. Students completed internships in areas like health care, journalism, and marine biology among other industries.
Al-Huda School has won first place at the regional Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST) since it started competing in 2005. In 2008 Al-Huda School won the national tournament. MIST brings together Muslims students from public and private high schools to compete in a wide range of academic and creative areas including science, math, Qur’anic recitation, Islamic knowledge, film making and poetry.
Ongoing Community Education
Throughout the year, Dar-us-Salaam offers halaqas, workshops, and seminars on Islamic topics pertaining to not only belief and rituals, but also on topics like raising children and time management. Often these presentations and lectures are made available on the Internet and other media. Yearly fullday workshops include Janaza and Burial, Salah, Zakat, and Hajj. Weekly halaqas focus on tafseer, seerah, and tazkiyatun-nafs (purification of the soul). Educational seminars for the community are offered free of charge and aim to empower the community with knowledge based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Intensive courses in Arabic language, tajweed, and other topics are offered during summer.
“The strong believer is better than the weak believer, but there is good in both” —Authentic Hadith
Started in 1999 by community member Muhib Rahman – a third degree black belt and master instructor, the program moved to a level of professionalism unknown to masjid-based marital arts programs. Aqabah students –males and females of all ages– train in a state of the art, dedicated facility at Dar-us-Salaam. Female instructors teach the women’s classes.
In 2009 Aqabah Karate began competing in local, regional, and national tournaments such as the US Capital Classics, Battle of Baltimore, and US Goodwill Tang Soo Do Nationals. Aqabah students impressed judges and competitors alike, bringing home dozens of medals while putting their Islamic mannerisms and decorum on display for all.
Sharing The Message: Media Projects
At the core of Dar-us-Salaam’s mission is to invite people –Muslims and non-Muslims– to the way of Allah and to the peace and justice of Islam. While all of Dar-us-Salaam’s projects represent Islam implemented at a practical level, we also understand the need to share the message directly, in words and speech; Dar-us-Salaam’s media projects give us the capacity to do that.
The Muslim Link
A community without its own media doesn’t have a voice. Especially in today’s environment, Muslims must speak for themselves and tell their own story.
In 1998 Imam Safi Khan asked the upper grade girls class of Al-Huda School to start a newspaper project. A journalist in the community mentored them, and they launched their first issue in November 1998 with a cover story titled “Calling for the Unity of the Community”.
The small black and white paper was named The Muslim Link, and its motto was “linking the believers together”.
Today the Muslim Link is the largest and most recognized Muslim newspaper in the greater Washington DC region. Focusing on local news by and about the region’s approximately 250,000 Muslims, about 6,000 copies of the Muslim Link are freely distributed throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC every other Friday. The newspaper is also available online. The Muslim Link fosters cooperation and coordination among the region’s 50-plus masajid. Several elected officials read the Muslim Link to keep abreast of issues important to their constituents, while some governmental agencies partner with the Muslim Link to ensure their public announcements and services reach all segments of society.
Year-round internship programs in journalism and graphic design help encourage Muslim youth to choose a career in media, an industry the Muslim community can no longer afford to ignore. In 2009 and 2010, the Muslim Link won several regional and national awards for its reporting from the New America Media foundation.
Islamic Information Center
Dar-us-Salaam’s direct outreach efforts are handled by the Islamic Information Center. With a dedicated office housing literature and books on Islam in several languages, the Islamic Information Center mails information on Islam to those who request it, and arranges for speakers to visit local schools and church groups who want to learn about Islam and Muslims.
A core group of volunteers responds to the daily flow of inmate requests for material on Islam. For new Muslims, the Islamic Information Center works to educate them through
special workshops and helps them transition into the Muslim community through counseling and other assistance.
Foundation for Islamic Texts and Heritage
Books and electronic media are published by the Foundation for Islamic Texts and Heritage, or FAITH. With scores of print and digital titles published since its establishment in 1998, FAITH Publications is now tasked with spreading the positive, motivating message of Islam throughout the English-speaking Muslim world via the Internet.
Khutbas and lectures delivered at Dar-us-Salaam are recorded and uploaded to YouTube and other sites for free listening.
Our religion is one of selfless service – we serve Allah and serve His creation. Dar-us-Salaam understands that most people value what others do –not what they say– insofar as how those actions affect them personally. A helping hand offered when someone is struggling all alone, experience and knowledge offered to someone searching for answers, or giving someone time simply to talk often have deep and lasting positive impacts on people’s hearts.
Serving the Muslim community is one way Dar-us-Salaam strives to bring people’s hearts closer to its mission, and closer to Allah.
Through the office of Imam Safi Khan, Dar-us-Salaam offers family counseling, personal counseling, and dispute resolution. Whether the challenges are related to marriages, parent-child relations, addictions or arbitration, Dar-us-Salaam gives the community an invaluable avenue to help them look at their challenges in light of the infinite wisdom offered by the Book of Allah and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him). Counseling is kept strictly private and offered free of charge to the entire community. People often travel from out-of-state to receive the counseling offered at Dar-us-Salaam.
Helping people experiencing financial difficulty with funds or supplies is a responsibility Dar-us-Salaam understands and takes seriously. The Zakat Foundation, founded in 1998, undertakes this responsibility professionally and ethically, protecting the honor and dignity of aid recipients while at the same time protecting the resources entrusted to Dar-us-Salaam. We orient staff at the Zakat Foundation so they know how to keep the entire process confidential and respectful, from the initial call, application, verification, and through the disbursement. Our secure database and verification system helps prevent abuse of zakat funds.
In Ramadan, the Zakat Foundation collects anonymous tips about local families in need of food supplies, and then delivers zakat al-fitr in the form of foodstuffs to their homes. To protect the honor and privacy of these needy families, the Zakat Foundation only selects Muslims who do not know the recipient families as delivery volunteers.
Formerly called the Dar-us-Salaam Social Services Department, Ansaarul-Birr –or “The Helpers to Righteousness” are called into action whenever someone needs assistance of any form– moving help, a ride to Friday prayers, or visitors to their hospital bedside.
Working closely with the Zakat Foundation, Ansaarul-Birr is the outstretched hand of Dar-us-Salaam. Maintaining a list of ready volunteers to answer calls for assistance on the spot is among the top priorities of Ansaarul-Birr.
Cultivating the Love of Al-Qur’an
Dar-us-Salaam’s mission is rooted in the Qur’an. As the final guidance for humanity, the living miracle which proves the truth of Islam, and the source of healing and spiritual sustenance for the believers, the Qur’an must hold the most precious place in the lives of the Muslims. The Qur’an must be on the tongues, in the minds, and especially in the hearts of the community.
Recognizing the need to create a community culture where the Qur’an is close to the hearts and minds of the believer, Dar-us-Salaam opened its full-time hifz school in 1999. Directed by Hafiz Haroon Baqai who holds an ijaaza in recitation according to Hafs ‘An-’Aasim, students spend their full school day memorizing the Qur’an in small classes led by qualified teachers while continuing their other academic studies at home during the evenings and weekends. Most students complete the memorization of the Qur’an within 3 years. As of May 2011, 20 boys and 15 girls have memorized the Qur’an.
Largely due to our hifzh school, the community can almost always find young men who have memorized the Qur’an at the daily salah, leading the prayer, and standing in the ranks. This is a true blessing from Allah for not only Dar-us-Salaam, but for the entire region. Dozens of our hifzh school graduates lead taraweeh prayer and teach at Qur’an programs and Masajid across the region, taking their place in the fulfillment of Allah’s promise to safeguard and protect this living miracle.
For those unable to devote full-time effort to memorizing the Qur’an, Dar-us-Salaam has evening and weekend classes where students memorize and learn how to recite the Qur’an according to the rules of tajweed. Students of all ages attend these classes which are often taught by graduates from our full-time Hifz School.
Dar-us-Salaam’s desire to spread the love of reading and memorizing the Qur’an, coupled with a scarcity of stable, well-managed Qur’an literacy programs in the region prompted Dar-us-Salaam to open branches of the Qur’an Institue in some nearby communities. Currently Dar-us-Salaam runs a branch of the Qur’an Institute in Rockville, Maryland and another branch in McLean, Virginia.
Moving Forward To Allah
Despite our rapid growth and the successes Allah granted us, Dar-us-Salaam’s vision is still in its early stages.
On the education front, Al-Huda School must continue to expand and improve, producing graduates who are not only balanced –taking the best from the world yet working towards the next life– but also instilling in its graduates the urgency of working to establish a strong, exemplary Muslim community.
Branches of Al-Huda School need to be established in other regions and states, as Dar-us-Salaam received over 40 requests from outlying communities as of 2011.
On the social service front, institutions like orphanages, homeless shelters, job training centers, senior homes, and hospice care centers that operate based on Islamic principles are desperately needed, along with the professionals to run those institution.
Establishing a community that will be a beacon of light for society –a community characterized by love and compassion, justice and sensitivity, and respect for human dignity– is a protracted, collective struggle measured in decades, not years.
Dar-us-Salaam invites you to join its caravan on the path towards Allah. Welcome!