About Masjid Nu'man
Masjid Nu'man is an Islamic center as well as community staple located on the heart of Buffalo's East Side. We offer religious services, daily prayers, Jumaah service, Sunday school, and many other activities.
We also offer many community outreach programs throughout the year, including the annual Putting The Neighbor Back In The Hood Weekend, which celebrated its 20th year in 2016.
A History of Al-Islam in Buffalo
In 1954, the first meeting incorporating the teachings of Master W. D. Fard by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad took place in Lackawanna, N.Y. at the McQuiller Family House, located at 98 B Albright Court. Minister Malcolm X visited and encouraged the move to Buffalo from Lackawanna. He suggested the ministry move to 78 Brunswick Boulevard. Lieutenant Alvin (the brother of Louis Farrakhan) was sent to Buffalo to help organize a Temple.
In 1955, the initial establishment was relocated to The Hawkins’ Family House (Sister Catherine’s residence at 44 Butler Street). Minister Thomas JX and Minister Robert JX from Temple # 7 in New York City were sent to Buffalo to start a Temple. By 1957, the first large public meeting was held at Calvary Baptist Church and Minister Wallace D. Muhammad was sent to Buffalo. He officially named the site Buffalo Temple # 23.
In 1960, Minister Robert JX, first official Minister in Buffalo, and then the youngest Minister in the Nation of Islam, moved Temple # 23 to the storefront location of Woodlawn and Jefferson Avenue. It was at this location that Minister Malcolm frequently revisited Buffalo to lecture and debate the city’s politicians and community leaders. The Temple moved again to Glenwood Hall located between Jefferson and Northampton. From 1961-65, Captain John B. Strickland ministered Temple #23.
In 1962, the temple moved to 192 Broadway between Michigan and Pine Avenue. On February 21, 1965, Minister Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) was assassinated. In 1967, the Temple moved to 512 Broadway, formerly the Basil Theater. Minister John B. Strickland was its new minister and he stayed in Buffalo for 10 years. Also in 1967, Muhammad Ali visited Temple #23. In 1969, Sister Clara Muhammad visited Buffalo. She was brought by the Muslim Girl Training (M.G.T.).
In1970, the Fish Squad was formed in Buffalo. It was a major success introducing both Muslims and non-Muslims to the nutritional value of including fish in their daily diet. Brother Quadir Habeeb was the first Buffalo Muslim to sell 1,000 pounds of fish in one week. Also in 1970, the first Muslim business was established by brother Stanley. Called “Your Restaurant and Clothing Store”, the business served as a viable resource for the area’s Muslim and African American residents. In 1971, brother Jabril Shareef established the first Muslim business--Brothers Boutique--in Niagara Falls. Two years later, he established “Brothers II Boutique” in Buffalo.
In 1974, Captain Jerome X becomes Minister at Temple #23. He was the last to preside. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad passes away and his son, Wallace Muhammad becomes Supreme Minister of the Nation of Islam. Temple #23 moves to Town Garden Plaza at 421 William Street and Minister Jerome resigns. He is replaced by Minister Howard, who changed his name to Wahiduddin Shah.
The first Sister Clara Muhammad School is established. Brother Maurice 2X Carter is its first principal. Minister Wallace D. Muhammad disbands the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.) and the Muslim Girls Training (M.G.T.). The chairs were removed and the Town Gardens location becomes first location of formal congregation for performing salat. Before the year ended, Minister Wahiduddin Shah resigned as the Temple’s Minister, and former Captain Jerome (Saleem Omar) became the Temple’s new Minister. At the Chicago headquarters, the Nation’s new leader, W. D. Muhammad, renames the Nation of Islam to the World Community of Islam in the West (W.C.I.W.). W. D. Muhammad’s goal is to move the members of the Nation one step closer toward Al-Islam practiced by millions of Muslims throughout the world.
In 1976, Minister Farrakhan visits Buffalo. He speaks at the University at Buffalo and in his talk expresses support for Minister Wallace D. Muhammad. In addition to Farrakhan’s visit, Saleem Omar resigns as Imam. A. Aleem Hassan becomes the Masjid’s new Imam.
In 1977, the masjid relocated to 615 Michigan Avenue. The residence was formerly the Blue Point Supper Club. In 1979, our masjid was renamed and incorporated as Masjid Muhammad Buffalo. In 1980, A. Aleem Hassan becomes the first Muslim Chaplin in Western New York in the state’s prison system. Brother Jabril Shareef becomes the regional minister. Accordingly, Abdul J. Nurridin becomes the Masjid’s new Imam. In that same year, the property at 615 Michigan Avenue was purchased from the City of Buffalo for $1.00 through the assistance of Ellicott Councilman James Pitts.
In 1981, the World Community of Islam in the West (W.C.I.W.) is renamed the American Muslim Association (A.M.A.). Moreover, Imam Wallace D. Muhammad emphasizes America as our country and adds the American flag to the organization’s newspaper. In 1984, following the advice of Imam Wallace D. Muhammad to eliminate the Masjid’s debt, the community moved out of “white elephant’s” property, selling the property on 615 Michigan. We moved to 785 Fillmore Avenue. In 1985, Masjid Muhammad was officially re-named Masjid Nu’ Man (Blessed Mosque) in honor of Pioneer Brother Roger Nu’ Man who had recently passed away. Also in 1985, a 10 year anniversary convention was held in Chicago.
By 1986, the Masjid had initiated a number of community programs including a Breakfast Program at the Masjid, Fajr Salaat and Arabic and Islamic classes. In 1987, the masjid hosted a Unity Day Carnival in an effort to develop closer relationships between the masjid and the outer community. The following year, Imam Abdul J. Nurridin, for personal reasons, resigns. Imam A. Aleem Hassan reassumes the position of Imam at Masjid Muhammad Buffalo.
Masjid Nu’ Man relocated once again in 1990 after purchasing property at 1373 Fillmore Avenue. The building previously housed the Family Gathering Center. One year later, Imam A. Aleem Hassan resigns as resident Imam of the Masjid and Fajri Ansari becomes the new Imam. In 1992, Imam W. D. Mohammed gives a lecture at Buffalo State College. It was his first visit since the 1950’s. In 1993, Captain Abdul Rasheed Muhammad of Buffalo becomes the first Muslim Chaplain in the United States Military.
In 1995, Imam W. Deen Mohammed revisits Buffalo. He speaks at Temple Beth Zion Synagogue and gives a public address at the University at Buffalo. In 1996, Imam Fajri Ansari becomes the first Muslim to offer the Invocation for the General Session of the Buffalo Common Council Meeting in City Hall. In that same year, Captain Abdul Rasheed Muhammad was invited to Washington D.C. He presents the Qu’ran to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House during the first historic commemoration of Eid-ul-Fitr (celebrating the end of the fasting of Ramadan).
In1997, a delegation of Masjid Nu’ Man members went to Malaysia and Indonesia for two weeks. In addition, the Masjid founded its annual “Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood” Community Walk. In 1998, Masjid Nu’Man made its final mortgage payment. In 1999, Imam Fajri Ansari became the Western New York State Representative of the American Muslim Society. Also, the Masjid founded its first annual “Interfaith Boat Ride”.
Masjid Nu’ Man has opened the millennium with tremendous momentum. Brother Zaid Robinson is the first Muslim in the city to be endorsed as a political candidate. In May, 2001 Sheik Rajah visited Masjid Nu’ Man and gave a talk about the humanity of Islam and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessing Be Upon Him).
In September 2001, Imam Fajri Ansari offered prayers for peace after attacks on the World Trade Center before 50,000 people from Western New York on steps of Buffalo City Hall. On September 23, 2001 during “A Prayer for America” Interfaith Prayer Ceremony in Yankee Stadium for the families of the victims of 9/11 Hosted by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Imam Fajri Ansari offered a prayer and translation of the Adhan (call to prayer), Zaimah Habeeb offered Quranic reading and Imam Izak el M. Pasha shared a Message of Reflection. Also present were Former President Bill Clinton and wife Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor Pataki, Cardinal Eagan Archbishop of New York City, James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Bette Midler and other dignitaries. On October 11, 2001, Captain Abdul Rasheed Muhammad led the Pledge of Allegiance and recited Qur’an at the U.S. Pentagon before President George W. Bush.
In March 2003, Dr. Lavonne Ansari becomes the first Muslim appointed to the City of Buffalo Human Rights Commission. On August 31, 2003, Imam W. Deen Mohammed resigns as the leader of the Muslim American Society at the Annual Muslim Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Imam Mohammed cited that he would continue to be the leader of The Mosque Cares but will not be responsible for any Masjid or the main organization representing his movement. “I’m getting ready… to do more, to be more productive and to contribute to the good life of the believers”.
On January 22, 2004, representing Masjid Nu’Man, Imam Fajri Ansari was elected as the first Muslim President of the Network of Religious Communities. Later that same year, November 2004, Dr. Lavonne Ansari becomes the first Muslim, first Women, and first African American Vice President of Operations at Niagara County Community College. On November 30, 2004, the first Muslim Television Station “Bridges TV” is established in Buffalo, New York. Imam W. Deen Mohammed participates in the opening ceremony.
In 2005, Imam Fajri Ansari becomes the first Muslim and African American fulltime Basketball Coach at Buffalo State College. On December 31, 2005, representing Masjid Nu’Man, Imam Fajri Ansari offers theInvocation at the Inaugural for the First African American Mayor of the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown.
During April 2006, Dr. Lavonne Ansari is appointed as CEO and Director of the Buffalo Community Health Center located on Erie County Medical Center Campus. In July 2006, the International League of Muslim Women Northeast Representative Sis. Margret Gillette helps coordinate the National Conference Tribute to Muslims in Arm Forces, Police, Fire and Prison Service Departments held in Syracus, New York where Imam W. Deen Mohammed was keynote speaker. On September 18, 2006, again representing Masjid Nu’man, Imam Fajri meets the Dali Lama and participates in Interfaith Prayer Service at the University at Buffalo.
In June 2007, Duane Madyun becomes President of the Fillmore Business Association. In August 2008, Imam Nasir Muhammad gives the keynote address at the 12th Annual Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood Banquet. On, September 9, 2008, Imam Warith Deen Mohammad passes away.
During August 2009, Imam Nasir Muhammad speaks at 13th Annual PNBH celebration. Bro. Donald Patterson becomes President of Golden Gloves Boxing for Upstate New York. In June 2009, Army chaplain Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad is promoted to Lt. Colonel. In the same year, Mansa Habeeb honored as member of the All Western New York Basketball, 1st team and earns scholarship to Southern Iowa CC. In December 2009, representing Masjid Nu’man, Imam Fajri Ansari speaks at the second inauguration of Mayor Byron Brown.
In March 2009, Donald Patterson becomes the first Muslim to become head of New York State Boxing Golden Gloves. In September 2009, the Annual Muslim Convention is held at Cobo Hall Detroit as directed by Imam W. Deen Mohammed. In October 2009, Ansar Cellular Communications and Fragrance Store is established on the property of Masjid Nu’man. Also, Ghassan Shamsideen expands his business “Pine Hill Fish and Halal Market” at East End and Genesee Street in Buffalo.
In 2011, Dr. LaVonne Ansari is featured as the first African American and Muslim woman on the cover of Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine. In March of 2011, Imam Fajri Ansari, as Head Basketball Coach of Buffalo State College, wins the State University of New York Athletic Conference Championship and advances to the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Tournament, only the second time in school history of team advancing that far.
In May 2012, Congressman Brian Higgins announces $5 million award to Buffalo Community Health Center under the leadership of Dr. LaVonne Ansari.
In 2013, Zaid Bilal (Ken Robinson) authors book “From Vicktim to Vicktory” featuring the challenges of Michael Vick and the discriminatory treatment within the NFL and national media. Also in 2013, Dr. LaVonne Ansari became the first Muslim woman appointed to the board of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority (NFTA). In April 2013, Imam Fajri Ansari accompanies Imam Izak-El M. Pasha to Istanbul, Turkey for a conference of Islamic scholars on the concept of Ijima (consensus) in Islam. In May 2013, Ibrahim El-Amin receives a scholarship to attend Morehouse University. In June 2013, Imam Fajri Ansari participates in invocation for dedication of new splash pad at MLK Park in Buffalo, NY. Masjid Nu’Man also participated in annual Juneteenth Parade. In July 2013, Imam Fajri Ansari representing Masjid Nu’man participates in first iftar meal and prayer sponsored by the Turkish Center of Buffalo at City Hall.
In October 2013, Masjid Nu’man purchased an additional lot adjacent to its property to pursue a plan of development and to build a new masjid. In December 2013, the community purchased property in Inkster, Michigan following instructions of Imam W. Deen Mohammed to establish the annual Muslim convention in the Detroit area.
On March 2nd 2014, Masjid Nu’man put together a history program display, detailing the community’s roots. On July 25th, 2014 the Executive Chambers of the City of Buffalo and Mayor Byron W. Brown declares July 25th “Fajri Ansari Day” in the city of Buffalo. In August 2014, Masjid Nu’man had its annual Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood program, and also participated in the first DNA Muslim Convention on the new property in Inkster, Michigan. On December 21, 2014 Imam Fajri Ansari spoke at the annual Seerah conference at Masjid Malcolm Shabazz.
On February 22, 2015, Masjid Nu’man hosted its annual Islamic and African American History Tribute at the Community Health Center of Buffalo. On March 26, 2015, the National Fedration of Just Communities (NFJC) awarded its “Family Award” to Imam Fajri and Dr. LaVonne Ansari. In July 2015, Masjid Nu’man distributed furniture and food to the local community while celebrating Eid Al-Fitr after the blessed month of Ramadan. On November 23, 2015, Imam Fajri Ansari spoke at the NFJC Thanksgiving service held at St. Joseph’s Church.