Sunday, August 7, 2011

Over 20 families gather for AMFA's first ever Ramadan Iftar!

On the first Saturday of Ramadan over 20 families from across the northwest suburbs of Chicago gathered for Iftar in South Barrington, Illinois.  Including children (ranging from babies to teenagers), there were over 100 people at the event.

The Iftar was an American Muslim Family Association event and was graciously hosted and sponsored by Drs. Mohammed & Shazia Khan of South Barrington, Illinois.  The dinner was catered by Faizan Grill in Hanover Park, Illinois.

Guests started arriving at 7pm.  With arrangements made inside and in the backyard the Khan residence was quickly filled up.  At 7:45pm Dr. Fiaz Ahmed gave a presentation on Ramadan and fasting and shortly thereafter the adhan for Maghrib prayer was called and everyone broke the day's fast with dates and juice.

The Maghrib prayer was held in the backyard.  After the prayer everyone returned inside for dinner.  In addition to the Faizan Grill catered meal, there was also pizza for the children and an assortment of cakes and other treats brought by several guests.

During the Iftar party several announcements were made about social service project opportunities during the month of Ramadan.  One of the AMFA organizers announced the 8/12 Intra-Community Iftar sponsored by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and hosted by the Light of Islam Masjid in Harvey, Illinois.  AMFA members were encouraged to come out to this potluck Iftar that brings together the diverse American Muslim community from the Chicagoland area.

Additional volunteer opportunity announcements included Iftar sponsorships for the Innercity Muslim Action Network and a refugee assistance project at UMMA Center.  For more information about these opportunities please contact AMFA organizer Junaid Afeef via email (junaid.afeef[at]

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Vacation Kick-Off Picnic at Barrington Pond Shelter a Success!

We held a picnic on Saturday, June 11, 2011 to help set the right tone for summer vacation 2011.  We had about 15 families turn out for a full day of sports and food!  There was soccer and volleyball for the kids and the grown-ups and pinatas full of candy.

It was a classical March weekend in June with temperatures under 65 degrees and cloudy.  A warm, sunny day was not in the cards, but everyone made the best of what we had.  The cool, cloudy day meant 2 bags of ice went totally unused, and we had more than the usual number of volunteers around the grill (which doubled as a warming station).

On the menu were hot dogs, hamburgers and spicy chicken tenders from the grill and chips, soda, cookies and bottled water.  It was classic picnic fare served up at the local forest preserve.

Some kids brought their bikes and some parents brought smaller paddle and ball games for the smaller kids.  In addition to the picnic benches under the shelter, families brought lawn chairs to set up all around the picnic site as well.

In keeping with our values, we made it a point to pray the afternoon prayer in congregation after lunch.  We also tried to reduce our carbon footprint at the picnic by sorting out the recyclable materials and disposed of them in the recycling containers onsite provided by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

The volleyball game that capped off the picnic was a co-ed, inter-generational competition.  There were toddlers and elementary school aged kids interspersed with grown ups on each team.  The quality of play was ugly but the scene set by grown ups and kids playing together was awesome!

Here is a recap of our Summer Vacation Kick-Off Picnic in the form of short movie.  Thank you to everyone who came.  To those who missed out: we hope to see you at future activities!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

AMFA Family Day at Brookfield Zoo

AMFA Family Day at Brookfield Zoo

Date:     Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time:    All Day (AMFA members & families will meet up at 10:30 am  at the North Gate ticketing area to kick off the day)

Lunch:  We'll meet at 1pm near BZ Red Hots! (Bring your own picnic lunch & buy lunch at the Zoo)

Daily Prayers:  Any prayer times that occur will be the responsibility of the families.  We'll try to pray together if space permits!

All tickets, meals and transportation are to be arranged by individually (for tickets, zoo information & directions please visit the Brookfield Zoo website).  This is a nice opportunity to get out to the Zoo in mid-Spring before it gets too hot and too busy with other American Muslim families!

If you are planning to attend please send an email to americanmuslimfamilies[at] with your full name and your cell phone number!  We'll keep you informed of all coordinating updates for the event via email and or text messages.

We hope you'll join us for a fun day at the Brookfield Zoo!

April Dinner focuses on the kids: Story Time!

On April 9, 2011 American Muslim Family Association held another event, and this time the focus was on the kids!  Salina Naser, a teacher, mother and founding member of AMFA, played storyteller.  She read two stories, one a published work called "The Green One" and also an original children's story written by Salina.

Here's a great slideshow of photos from the evening:

The dinner was hosted by Junaid Afeef and Nazneen Ahmed.  This time dinner was Papa John's pizza, pop, salad, cookies and tea.  It was a great evening for everyone!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A great dinner & discussion with author Hesham Hassaballa

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa, author of "Noble Brother" and the well-known blog "God, Faith and a Pen", joined American Muslim Family Association at a community dinner on Saturday, February 26, 2011 to discuss "Noble Brother" and his other writing.  A full house (literally) was on hand for the gathering.

Isha prayers... after the Fard rakahs in congregation

The evening kicked off with a social hour and was followed by Isha prayers in congregation.  After prayers a delicious South Asian dinner was served.

During dinner Dr. Hassaballa spoke.  He spoke about how he came to become a writer and how that journey led him to writing "Noble Brother".  Dr. Hassaballa is a medical doctor and only took up writing in 2001 after the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11.  That tragic event, according to Dr. Hassaballa, was personally transformative.  He remarked that it made him explore his faith more deeply.

What he found was God's Love.  Or, to be more precise, the infrequent reference to it.  He noted that this aspect of faith - God's Love - was never a focus during his upbringing.  In fact, some people even tried to dismiss it as a "Christian" concept, but as he delved deeper on his personal quest he found that God's Love for His Creation was at the foundation of Islam.  And that laid the groundwork for "God, Faith and a Pen", an award winning blog that explores current events, art, and personal experiences from the eyes of a faithful Muslim who seeks to see these things in the context of God's Love.

Dr. Hassaballa discussing "Noble Brother"

"Noble Brother" is Dr. Hassaballa's most recent book.  It is a history of Prophet Muhammad (saw).  What makes "Noble Brother" unique among a field of excellent histories by writers such as Armstrong, Haykal and Lings is that "Noble Brother" is a book of original poetry.

Written over the course of about one year, in between being a full-time physician, father and husband, "Noble Brother" is a soulful reflection of events in and around the life and times of Prophet Muhammad (saw) as learned from scholars who wrote detailed histories and from the ahadeeth (the sayings of the Prophet).

AMFA members quickly picked up the handful of copies of "Noble Brother" that were available for purchase.  Dr. Hassaballa answered questions and also shared his experiences in getting "Noble Brother" published.

After Dr. Hassaballa's talk AMFA members enjoyed dessert, tea and conversation while the children played.  It was a very well attended community event that fulfilled the objectives of AMFA by bring American Muslims together socially with a a balance of faith and learning delicately interwoven into the gathering.

AMFA families thank our fellow members Drs. Khalid Husain and Yasmeen Beg for hosting the February 26th dinner at their home!