In the year 1990, a group of young people, aiming to fill a void relating to the need for structured Islamic education & pastoral care for the growing population of young Shi’a Muslims in the UK, decided to start regular lectures in English by distinguished Muslim scholars, followed by a question & answer session. The programme was entitled “Discover Islam.”
At the time of its inception, this was quite a unique and in many ways a revolutionary concept as there were hardly any facilities available in those days that were dedicated solely towards the younger generation especially in English
The programme continued regularly every Friday for several years at the Idara-e-Jaaferiya in Tooting and was immensely successful by all accounts.
In 1996, the programme moved to St.Phillips Church Hall in Norbury and in 1997 a charity by the name of Al-Noor was established to give the programme a more formal structure.
From 1997-1999 the Friday programmes continued at St. Stephens Church Hall A separate room was utilised during the Lecture/seminars to provide Islamic classes for Children.
In July of 1999, Al Noor moved its present accommodation at London Road Norbury and Al-Noor Institute formally came into being with a view to broadening the services and activities that could be offered to the community.
Ever since the move to our now permanent base in Norbury, Al Noor Institute has strived to cater for the religious needs of the Shi’a Muslim community mainly, but not exclusively, in our catchment area of South West London. Over the years, we have organised a wide range of programmes from the traditional majalis during the month of Muharram to programmes during Ramadhan followed by Iftari as well as a series of lectures, workshops and forums throughout the year. Al-Noor has also become a focal point for the small but growing revert community who use our venue for their regular Quran classes every Wednesday as well our newly settled Afghan brothers and sisters.
As an organisation, Al-Noor has a very clearly laid out mission statement which we have persistently strived to fulfil as follows:
-To establish knowledge about Islam amongst Muslim & non-Muslims and to provide a complimentary service to that already provided by existing Islamic Institutions.
-To promote the spirit of true Islam in a friendly atmosphere where both brothers & sisters are encouraged to develop in the Islamic way of life
-To protect Islamic identity through the teachings of Islam
-To develop an Islamic environment within which stimulating religious services and programmes can be provided, complimented by social, educational & porting activities.
-To provide access to knowledgeable persons for guidance on all Islamic matters, thoughts & issues which affect the Muslim community
-To build up relationships & contacts with other organisations throughout the UK and internationally, thereby strengthening the bonds within the Muslim community.
We can proudly say that despite our relatively short history & our meagre resources, we as an organisation have not only managed to achieve what we laid out in our mission statement, but on many occasions have surpassed our own expectations. Some of our most memorable and crowning achievements are as follows:
-Dec 1994: the famous “Imam Ali (AS) conference” at Idara-e-Jaaferiya, consisting of a whole day of a variety of Lectures, seminars ,workshops, poetry, quizzes, children’s activities, food stalls, exhibitions etc. It was a truly rewarding & memorable experience, demonstrating a collective spirit and unity of purpose amongst the younger generations of Muslims at the time. An event remembered to this day by many who participated.
-Various Eid fun days, summer outings and sporting events. The most recent being the hugely successful Eid Cup 5 a-side football tournament held jointly with Hyderi Islamic Centre at ‘Goals’ Soccer centre.There has been participation of teams from mosques & Islamic Centres across London together with the Ismaili Community who have won the competition for last 2 years Regular lectures, debates, Moharram & Ramadhan programmes Arabic & Educational classes for both men & ladies etc.
Aside from specialised programmes for the Afghani brothers & sisters, we cater for the needs of Muslims from different racial backgrounds.
We welcome people from all Muslim denominations as well as non-Muslims who wish to engage in a dialogue with us.
We are a small organisation, and this allows us to provide a personal & welcoming atmosphere for all participants.
We focus mainly (but not solely) on the youth. We believe that it is vital for us to provide our next generation the firm grounding for their development as good Muslim citizens in a Western society.
We have been able to gradually raise subscriber numbers & donations to make ends meet to date.
We have been able to provide good quality speakers in English, Urdu and Persian for all our programmes.
Despite financial constraints and outside pressures, we have maintained, organised and developed events over the past 15 years.
It has been our aim to provide social, educational & leisure activities that would challenge and stimulate at the same time.
Younger members of our community have always been encouraged to participate fully and openly in all our programmes and to become Role Models for the future generation.
Al Noor has become a centre for many different groups such as the reverts and younger members of our community and they feel a sense of affinity and belonging to the centre.