3rd Shura Council

State of the Foundation by Dr. Imad Benjelloun, President of NAFIS

Chicago Mosque, Chicago IL

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. May God shower His peace and blessings upon our Master Muḥammad, his family, his companions, his brothers, and his party.

All praise is due to God for enabling us to organize our 3rd Shura Council.

Just one year ago, we did not have a place to gather here in Chicago, and now we are so blessed to have Chicago Mosque where we are having our 3rd Shura Council; alḥamdulillah. Nor did we have a place to gather in the Boston area, and now we are so blessed with our Boston Center. It is small in size but inchā’Allah big in results; alḥamdulillah.

These are only two examples of the countless blessings that God continues to favor us with despite our very limited time and resources in this big country. We learn once again that what matters the most is not the amount of time and resources we have but the strength of our relationship with our Lord, Most High. We pray that such relationship only gets stronger, and our certainty in Him never gets shaken.

We need such strong relationship with our Lord in order to have the necessary power and perseverance to continue working on our #1 lifetime project: building an American jamā’a that seeks God’s satisfaction and serves the people; an American jamā’a that is strong by God, by our strong individual relationship with Him, and by our strong mutual relationship as one body for His sake.

If God is pleased with us, then we will be successful in our journey to Him. If our American jamā’a is strong by Him, then He will empower us, together as one body, to have a significant positive impact on our country’s policies and practices where people and planet should come before profits and politicians.

We live here in the US. We work here in the US. We have started our families here in the US. We freely practice our faith here in the US. This is our country, like every other American, and so it is time to feel and act on our responsibility for its success, even though most of us were born elsewhere. Our # 1 responsibility towards the US is to guide to God based on the Prophetic Method [al-Minhāj an-Nabawī] and be a positive change.

Building a strong jamā’a requires persistent and organized hard work with strong passion and patience, unremitting determination and devotion, and high enthusiasm and dedication.

Pure intentions and well thought ideas are necessary and good but not enough. We need actions and results. God says, “And say: ‘Act for God will surely see your actions, and so will His Messenger and the believers, and you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do’” (Quran 9:105). Such hard work, actions, and results will only grow and improve if we:

  1. Constantly thank God for being chosen and honored to be entrusted by Him to take ]الشكر[ .1 part of such noble project of building a strong American jamā’a; what a high honor! He will then give us more of whatever we need to stay the course and advance in our journey to Him. God says, “If you are thankful, I will give you more” (Quran 14:7).
  2. Highly appreciate such noble project of building a strong jamā’a as the work of the ]التعظيم[ .2 best of creation, the Messengers. Then, God willing, you won’t give up, ever. What a distinct privilege!
  3. Always make our work for the sake of God because whatever is done for Him ]ا خ ص[ .3 thrives and whatever is not done for Him fails.
  4. Firmly believe that God has the infinite power to empower us to complete any needed ]اليقين[ .4 project and overcome any faced challenges. We can not do anything except by the Power of God, Most High. It is indeed a big project to build a strong American jamā’a with very limited time and resources but with God everything is possible.
  5. Continuously stay strongly bonded with God and with each other for His ]الصحبة في الجماعة[ .5 sake within the jamā’a. Practically, that means staying active and engaged in the various gatherings and activities of our Foundation. Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbās, may God be pleased with him, that Prophet Muḥammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Hand of God is with the jamā’a” (at-Tirmidhī). So, as long as you are wholeheartedly a member of the jamā’a, you will always be under the care and protection of God, Most High. As a result, all of your personal, spiritual, educational, professional, familial, and social needs and challenges will be taken care of by God, Most High.

Now let’s look at the state of our Foundation through its 10 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs, displayed in the following summary table of NAFIS Three-Year Strategic Plan, show us how much progress we have made so far in our project of building a strong American jamā’a:

Key To Success



2015 Target

2016 Target

2017 Target

1. tarbiya

% completeness

51% Ribats




2. da’wa

% growth





% diversity





3. Engagement

# of projects





% engagement





4. Children

% completeness





5. Centers

# of centers





6. Finance

$ donations





% payers





7. Excellence

% satisfaction





alḥamdulillah, we have surpassed our 2015 target for our 5th key to success by opening two centers: Chicago Mosque and Boston Center.

We are approaching our 2015 targets for our 3rd and 6th keys to success: members’ internal engagement and finance; out of the $160K of pledges, $82K have been collected; 32% of members are currently paying their monthly membership dues; and 35% (up from 25% last year) of members are engaged with an active role in NAFIS.

We are also approaching our 2015 target for our 7th key to success: member satisfaction, as shown in the following graph. With better communication and more engagement, inchā’Allah, we can increase such rate of satisfaction.


For the other key areas of success, we are making some progress but we obviously need to develop new and better processes and work harder in order to produce better results, especially in tarbiya and da’wa. That is why the theme of this 3rd Shura Council is: Focus on Processes and Results.

May God guide us and empower us!

Our plan to improve our tarbiya and da’wa includes:

  1. Implementing a new five-step process for preparing the Annual Schedule of the Believer,which integrates the programs of the various components of the organization.
  2. Opening NAFIS Institute whose mission is to offer a structured and accredited comprehensive spiritual and educational program, based on the Prophetic Method, for NAFIS members, the Muslim community, and non-Muslims.
  3. Implementing a new five-step process of da’wa which starts with inviting potential members via various means such as seminars, open houses, camps, conferences, and civic engagement activities, and ends with engaging the new members in building NAFIS.

Finally, I want to thank God Most High so much for the great blessing of having in NAFIS such highly engaged and dedicated brothers and sisters who are truly exceptional role models for all of us. Many brothers work overtime or two jobs to provide for their families, some also go to school to further their education, yet, they take on multiple responsibilities at NAFIS. Likewise, many sisters are so busy taking care of our children and homes, some also work outside to help pay the bills, others go to school to further their education, yet, they take on multiple responsibilities at NAFIS.

These exceptional brothers and sisters are too many to list. They are the true treasure of NAFIS. They work hard and produce results that advance our project of building a strong American jamā’a. It is indeed a great honor to serve them and be in their company. Because of their sincere hard work despite limited time and resources, God continues to shower His infinite mercy and blessings on us.

May God the Most Gracious guide and support us in our project of establishing a strong American jamā’a that pleases Him, serves as a vehicle for people’s journey to Him, and empowers them to live a good life.

All praise is due to God the Lord of all creation.