The Muslim Association of Hawai’i – The History of the Muslim Association of Hawai’i

Muslim Association of Hawaii (MAH), formerly known as The Muslim Student Association (MAS), started more than 30 years ago.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) was formed by a group of students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, many were members of the East West Center from various parts of the world from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and from the Middle East. The unofficial organization existed since 1968, according to the Honolulu Advertiser (10/23/1973 ). Muslims, at the time, prayed in a cottage at East West Center before Manoa mosque was purchased.

On July 23, 1979, The Muslim Students’ Association of Hawaii, Incorporated became the first official organization representing Hawaii’s Muslims. About 90% of the members were non-students, but according to the president at the time, Makhdoom Shah, “The name “students” [was] retained because Muslims believe that human beings learn as long as they live” (Honolulu Star Bulletin, 09/11/79: E14).

As stated in the first constitution draft, the founding members are: Najibullah Lafraie, James Abdullah Raushy, Saad Abdul Rahim, Abdul Haq, Makhdoom Shah, Nasir A. Saidy, Mohammad Yusuf Popal, Mohammad Bilal Farooq, Mohammad Haniff, Pramudita Anggraita, Hussain Haikal Latif, Abdul Zainal, M. Asad Khan, Nazir Ahmad, Mohammad Ashraf and Zamir Uddin. In its first Charter of Incorporation, The Muslim Student Association of Hawaii initial office address was at P.O. Box 2028, 1777 East-West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96848 as of July 23, 1979. (Hawaii State Archives/Government Records Collection Hawaii Corporations (Dissolved) Case Files [series 158] Muslim Students Association of Hawaii, Inc., File no. 40625D2 [1990 MFL 81]).

The founding members tried to promote fundraisers to open an Islamic Center in Hawaii. According to the Star Bulletin writer Nadine W. Scott, James Abdullah Roushey stated that he met with the prince Abdulaziz Bin Fahad Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia and “was rejoiced to learn theprince [was] interested in constructing not only a mosque, but educational and cultural buildings, restaurants, shops and a theather in the Islamic Center” (January 12, 1979). The prince was affiliated, according to the article, with the United Establishment for Trading Co. of Saudi Arabia. However, a handful of Hawaii’s Muslims know who is the anonymous benefactor, a Saudi businessman, that donated money to purchase a mosque and a cemitery for Hawaii’s Muslims. The benefactor’s wishes is to remain anonymous and there are reports that he still visits Manoa’s mosque during his trips to Hawaii.

The Manoa mosque was purchased in Manoa between 1979 and 1980. The reason for the location of the purchase was the closeness to the University of Hawaii and its facing to the Kaaba, according to Farook Wang. The reason to be a house was to generate revenues from renting portions of the building.

On April 28, 1983, Makhdoom Shah created a liason between the Hawaii’s Muslim community and the Muslims in the military by recognizing PFC Tyrone James (Abdul Shakur Ali) of Schofield Barracks as the first Muslim contact person for the military.

The Incorporation (MSA) was involuntary dissolved on November 30, 1990 due to delinquency in re-registering with Hawaii’s Business Registration Division. (Hawaii State Archives/Government Records Collection Hawaii Corporations (Dissolved) Case Files [series 158] Muslim Students Association of Hawaii, Inc., File no. 40625D2 [1990 MFL 81]).

The Muslim Association of Hawaii (MAH) was incorporated on February 04, 1997. The officers were as president Nizar Hassan, Vice-president Nafez Hasan, Treasurer Ather Dar, General Secretary Anwar Kazi and as Social Secretary Lionel E. Price.


This piece is taken from the website of the Muslim Association of Hawai’i.

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