It was a treat to come back to Jami Mosque for #Jami50 on December 28th, 2019. I knew it was happening that day and I thought I had put it into my calendar, but when I checked on the day of, nothing was there!
I was scrolling through facebook and I noticed someone posted some pictures from the event. And I was like, oh my God! It’s today! The event was till 5 PM and when it was all set and done, and after caring for some sick people (serious flu going around), it was 4:40 PM. But I had to go. I made it there under 30 minutes and to my surprise, the festivities were winding down, but still happening!
Jami Mosque was my childhood mosque. My mom used to take the family there all the time. There are many memories over the years, and distinct memories at different time periods. In the early, early 80’s, I remember going to Jami mosque when I was in SK or grade 1. I remember studying in the basement, there were lots of kids, and there was a convert, Brother David who was so nice. I distinctly remember we were about to leave our apartment one time and “Brother David” called to say salam and chat. I mean who calls a little kid up like that? That was amazing and I felt so warm about it. But my mother was at the door and she kept telling me to get off, so I had to hang up 🙁
Then I remember going to Jami when I was in grade 6 and 7 for Dr. Mehdi’s Saturday morning classes. This is when we lived in Toronto. I think I went beforehand as well but I don’t remember so well. I know it was grade 6 and 7 because some kids from my class would also attend.
Later when we moved out of Toronto, we still went in grade 8 some times. Us kids used to call it “the jamster.” We’d be like: you going to the jamster this weekend? to each other.
Yet another memory pops up in my head as I write this. Back when I was in high school, Edwin jeans was in. I still remember going for Juma and sitting next to this really cool guy, who had Edwin on. I looked over and on his change pocket by his front pocket, was that little label: “Edwin.” I was like, OK, this guy is cool. Well he looked cool too, he was well groomed. I had actually come out to meet my best friend and another older guy we knew to play tennis at High Park, close to Jami.
There were many good times at Jami but some bad times. I still remember being at the town hall meeting for Imam Abudullah Hakim Quick. Something happened and the management wanted him out. So there was a day, think it was on the weekend, and everyone was invited to learn more about what was going on. I remember being in the prayer hall and Imam Hakim on the pulpit, and he was explaining the situation. And then, all of a sudden, he asked all of us: “If you don’t want me to leave, put your hand up.” And everybody put their hand up. There was this sea of hands. No one wanted him to go. I still remember that vividly. Eventually though, he was made to leave, which I remember was very uncool. He was well respected.
There was another tragic time I remember a guy just a year older I think than us lost his mother in a car accident. It was terrible. Somebody hit her head on or T-boned her. I remember all us guys rushing to Jami and even Uncle Nawaz (my favourite uncle) was there the same day it happened, just a couple of hours after. Uncle Nawaz and some other Uncles were consoling the poor fellow.
There’s a lot of prayers and dua’s that were made at the old Jamster over the years and even now. I hope Allah SWT answers every single one of them. Ameen.
Jami mosque is the oldest running mosque in Toronto. The mother mosque. It was pivotal for the community. I’m glad I was a part of it.