The launch of this site is dedicated
to Br Aalim Fevens, former VP (Canada)
& Acting President of MSA National, who pioneered MSA
National's virtual presence in the early 1990s.
A Little Taste of History
Did you know that MSA National has been one of the
oldest and most influential religious organizations in North
Did you know that MSA National was
the precursor of ISNA, ICNA, MAYA, IMA, AMSS, AMSE, MYNA,
Book Service, and the North American Islamic Trust?
Did you know that MSA National will
be forty years old in the year 2003?
It was in January 1963 that
now some of the most respected personalities in the Islamic
movement came together at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
and formed the MSA of the United States and Canada. Over
seventy people from across the country, including Brs. Ahmad
Sakr, Mahdi Bhadori, Ahmad Totonji, Ilyas Ba-Yunus, and
others, then all students, met in what would be the first
of a number of historic gatherings to discuss the state
of Muslims in North America.
Muslim student organizations were popping
up all over the country, mainly in the mid-west, and comprised
largely of foreign graduate students bent on returning home
after their studies. Many of them did. But a significant
portion realized that they would still have the responsibilty
of spreading Islam as students in North America. The main
goal was always Da’wah. When the chapters realized
that working on a national level, in a coordinated and concerted
effort may be advantageous, they decided to put their heads
together. MSA of the US & Canada was the result.
The very same year—1963—the first
MSA of the US & Canada National Convention was held
in Urbana-Champaign. Every year since then, MSA has held
some form of national convention without failure. It was
not until at least 1982 that the Islamic Society of North
America (ISNA) — an off-shoot of MSA — held
their first major convention in place of the MSA National
The ISNA Convention has become the largest
single gathering of Muslims in the Western world, bringing
together over 25,000 Muslims to one place every year.
Since 1963, MSA National has been the landmark
Muslim organization in North America.
It was under MSA that the first ever Muslim
financial trust company — North American Islamic Trust
(NAIT) was formed.
MSA was the first to establish a
book depository and resale effort — the Islamic Book
MSA founded the first Muslim publishing
company - International Graphics. MSA was the first Muslim
group to publish a regular newsletter/magazine (Islamic
Horizons and Al-Ittihad).
MSA was the first Muslim Organization
to coordinate a national Islam Awareness Week. It was under
MSA that nearly every other major Muslim organization was
formed — from IMA and MAYA, to AMSS and AMSE.
ICNA, believe it or not, was an off-shoot
of MSA. And finally ISNA grew out of MSA, as the students
that once had established MSA were no longer students and
now professionals in their communities, building mosques
and Islamic Centers. It’s now your turn to carry on
the responsibilties and the achievements of those who have
paved the way for Muslims in North America. It’s your
chance to make a difference.
(Modified from an article that
appeared in MSA Link-Winter 1999)