The Al Mahdi Project - A History

In March 2007, the Jamaat members unanimously approved the acquisition of a five-acre site in Fareham for £750,000. Alhamdulillah, with duas from mu'mineen and by the grace of the Almighty (SWT), we obtained detailed planning permission to construct a multi-purpose Islamic centre in May 2009. This was obtained despite all the odds through the positive support we received from the local community including the Hampshire Constabulary, the Parish Council, Portsmouth Cathedral and local schools. The old Al Mahdi centre on Wickham Road colloquially known as the Pink Bungalow had served the community well but was no longer adequate for holding madrasah classes, majaalis and inter-faith events.

Under the aegis of the Project Committee headed by Alhaji Shabbir Walji with assistance from; the late Amir Asaria, Imtiaz Somji, Redha Hooda, Rizwan Walji, Jabir Nathu and Hamid Samiy with additional support from donors and volunteers, nationally and internationally. The dream of the Al Mahdi Centre became a reality. On 9th January 2011 / 4th Safar 1432 A.H. the community led by the Resident Alim Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo took part in invocation for blessings of Allah SWT and performed the ground breaking ceremony for Al Mahdi Centre. The women, men and children of Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat laid the foundation of this Centre on 29th January 2011 /24th Safar 1432 A.H. dedicating it towards our Imam Sahibaz Zamaan Al Mahdi (A.F.)

In late 2012, years of strive and struggle came to an anticipated culmination with inauguration of the Centre by the performance of Salatul Jum’ah on Friday 28th September, 2012 (10th Dhulq’adah 1433 A.H. ) led by Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo. The honour of being the first mu'adhin at the new centre was gifted to the late Alhaji Razabhai Nensi. Thereafter, the handover ceremony from the project committee to the community of Wessex Jamaat was celebrated on 29th September 2012 (11th Dhulqa'dah 1433 A.H.), on the wiladat of our 8th Holy Imam Ali ar-Ridha (a.s.).

The Al Mahdi Centre fulfilled the needs of our multicultural community; creating a vibrant centre of Islamic learning and excellence by promoting a sense of belonging through peace, unity and harmony.

Various fund-raising activities and projects were undertaken throughout the lifetime of the project these included:

  • Raffle draw with winner’s prize of Ziyarat trip to Iran to visit the Holy Shrines of Imam Ridha in Mashhad and Bibi Masuma in Qom.
  • Al Mahdi Project Presented to various Regional Federation Jamaats worldwide. CoEJ in Europe, NASIMCO in North America and AFED in Africa.
  • Collection of Khums Ijazah under the directive of the World Federation with authorization from Ayahtollah Sistani in Najaf Al Ashraf
  • Creation of the AFRA (Al Mahdi Fundraising Appeal) organization to direct local fundraising efforts and was coordinated by youths in the community.