About Us

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Dispenser of Grace.

In the year 1988, we, the artisans who made up the staff of Al Yarrar S.C.A., decided to move our workshop of ceramics located in the famous old quarter of Albayzin in Granada to an industrial complex next to the railway station of Atarfe, a ten minutes drive south of the city. We changed neighbours, left the site downtown by the old Arab Baths, with views to the Alhambra and the Generalife, and set up our headquarters near a huge fertilizer factory established at the end of the 19th century, to join the most industrialized area of the province of Granada. Without intending to and by then totally unaware of it, we were making the opposite journey to the Muslim inhabitants of the old city of Elvira who in the 11th century exchanged their town for the banks of the river Darro that flows through Granada.

From that date until the year 2000, we have gone through ups and downs and hard times but finally we took root in the area, and went from being complete strangers to participating in the social life of the hospitable village of Atarfe, where we consolidated our workshop next to the road to Cordoba, with industrial premises which are ideal for the type of work we do.

It was not long though before the economic and social crisis developed and systematically eroded everything we had so painfully built up to that moment. Therefore, in the year 2007, we took the decision to leave those extensive premises in order to move to a smaller place that better fit the demands of our work in the present situation.

It is still a cause of astonishment to me today when I think that the very next day after we signed the sale contract for our factory, we learned that the owners of the property just a few meters behind it, a country house with an attached plot of farm land, had also decided the day before to sell it.

From that moment, in this new place our work we recovered the calm needed to produce things without the haste and demands of the market economy system, which on the other hand is effectively leaving us artisans in general by the side of the road one after another.

This last summer, a few days before Ramadan, I was admiring the house of my good neighbors next door, which they has just finished painting and looked splendid. Suddenly, when the owner, Mrs. Remedios, came to the window through which we used to talk to each other, across the hedge separating our properties. When I commented how nice the house looked now, she told me that she had the intention to sell it now that the last of her daughters had left to work somewhere else. Then she added that if I knew of someone interested in her house it would be preferable that someone of my acquaintance bought it and moved into it because the relative isolation of the area drives people to form close relationships.

A few days later, our brother Zachariah, who is the Imam of a mosque in Granada, came for a visit and when I discussed the matter with him, he said suddenly: “That house is a mosque.” These words went right into my heart. During the whole of Ramadan the idea was constantly on my mind. And then, after Ramadan, another Spanish brother, Muhammad Abdullah, disheartened because of the failure of a recent project to establish a madrassa and workshops in Orgiva (a town in the mountains of Sierra Nevada, 70 km from Granada), suggested that we look for a place in the area where we had our ceramics workshop. I said to him: “Don’t worry, we already have the place.”

Since that moment, we have worked continuously on the project to establish a complex of Mosque, Madrassa and Handicrafts Work Center. The idea was later enthusiastically reinforced by other Spanish Muslims, among them Dr. Abdus Samad Romero, Dr. Bashir, Abdul Karim Abu Mansur, and Abdul Karim Muhiddin Carrasco. These individuals then formed the core of the new “Asociación Cultural de la Mezquita de la Vega” (La Vega Mosque Cultural Association).

The negotiations for the purchase of the property were extremely friendly, and we reached an agreement to rent the place for the coming three years with a buying option whereby any amount paid as rent would be deducted from the final, agreed-upon purchase price. The agreement stipulates that the property is to be handed over on March 1st, 2011.  We are fully aware that this project is a valuable resource for the integration and development of the resident Muslim population in the area. In Atarfe alone, this population officially numbers around 250 men and women, but that together with the rest of the villages of the metropolitan area of La Vega (‘The Meadows’ i.e., the highly fertile land extending south of the city of Granada) reaches a significantly higher number, since we are situated in the middle of the fastest developing agricultural and industrial area of Granada.

At this moment, the goal is to secure the support of at least 30 association members to be able to meet the rent and maintenance expenses of the complex.

Moreover, a meeting is scheduled for the end of February, for which the venue and date are still not determined, to bring together the Muslims of the Atarfe-Albolote area, in order to inform them of the project and objectives of the Association. Later on we plan to celebrate an Opening ceremony on the complex premises, to be held at the end of March, God willing, and to which not only the local Muslims will be invited, but also those from the province of Granada in general. If all goes well according to our plans, the activities of the centre will begin this year in the month of April.

It should be mentioned also that the coming years will mark the 1,000th anniversary of the exodus from the city of Madinah Elvira of its Muslim population and their move to the mount of the Albaycin in Granada, and the subsequent demolition of its Mosque. Therefore, it is an appropriate time for the return of the call of the Adhan to this beautiful location in the meadows of the town of Atarfe.

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Allah (SWT) says in Surat an-Nur, Ayah 36: “In the Houses [of worship] which God has allowed to be raised so that His name be remembered in them, there [are such as] extol His limitless glory at morn and evening.”

And in the Prophet’s tradition, peace and blessings be upon him: “Whoever builds a mosque to remember in it the name of Allah, He shall build for him a house in the Garden.”

We should emphasize here that the main objective of our Association is the study of the Holy Qur’an in all its aspects (recitation, memorization, tafsir, etc.) in the mosque, as we are called to in the Prophetic tradition: “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.”

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May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his Companions.

 

In the town of Atarfe (Granada), February 2011.

Shuaib Sánchez Sánchez

Asociación Cultural de la Mezquita de la Vega (La Vega Mosque Cultural Association)