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Hurricane Gustav: Baton Rouge Masjid Alert


The following is what has happened in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Gustav. Please see the pictures and video below

This is an email I received from a friend of mine in Baton Rouge:

After months of typical quarreling about the method of starting the month of Ramadan, the Muslim community of New Orleans would spend their first days of fasting scattered all over the country due to the mandatory evacuation implemented in light of Hurricane Gustav. This was the largest evacuation in US history as a city of people, still trying to heal from the monstrous Hurricane Katrina on the eve of its third anniversary, was not willing to take any further chances. Interestingly enough, with all the heat taken by the government for their poor response to Katrina, the New Orleans levee system has still never been totally restored. So we left our homes and masajid once again with the looming fear that we would return to total destruction. It was after a very emotional Friday khutbah that our community began its journey. ICNA Relief had already secured over 15 masajid in perceived unthreatened cities that they would sponsor and maintain as shelters. They also provided all the Muslims in New Orleans with evacuation guides containing all the necessary information for these mosques and the contact information for their 24 hour disaster response team. My family, like many others, chose Baton Rouge as a safe haven. It was the decree of Allah Azza Wa Ja’l that the eye of the hurricane would then shift towards Baton Rouge. At that point, it was too late to try to escape as the highways were fully congested. On Sunday night, the winds started to pick up and newly-formed tornadoes started to move parked cars down the streets. It was Monday after Fajr that the hurricane began lashing us with full force. It didn’t take long for us to realize that this was no ordinary hurricane as the entire city lost electricity within minutes. I watched outside as the houses and cars were crushed by falling trees and satellite dishes flew like spaceships. By the will of Allah, even the brand new Islamic Center of Baton Rouge was not spared and suffered extensive damage to its structure.  We then came to realize that this was the worst hurricane to ever hit Baton Rouge. The State, recognizing the risk of looting due to power outage, immediately announced an 8 PM – 6 AM curfew. The National Guard and State Police were on every street corner causing Baton Rouge to look more like a city in Iraq. Hence, for days, the Muslims of Louisiana would spend their nights holed up in their homes without power trying to bear the unbearable heat of Louisiana, deprived from the blessing of praying taraweeh in the masajid of Allah and the ability to enjoy actual cooked iftars. The scorching heat and sticky humidity of Louisiana even caused many of us to sleep in our running cars just to enjoy the cool AC. It was a time to reflect on all of the blessings we so often take for granted. While others in the world live patiently without roofs over their heads, most of us couldn’t even bare to live without AC. It was a bitter reminder of the luxurious lifestyles we indulge in as Americans. The sad thing is that instead of thanking Allah (SWT) for all of these blessings, we usually act as if we are entitled to them. While many still remain without power in Baton Rouge, Al hamdulila we have returned to New Orleans to find minimal damages and restored power. We are now watching anxiously Hurricane Ike and the Gulf of Mexico.

It should serve as a stark reminder to us all, that the sahaba once spent Ramadan in the fierce battle of Badr. The essence of fasting is to deprive yourself of certain blessings so that you may become more aware of Allah’s favor upon you. For example, most of us moan and groan when we keep seeing people asking for money for noble causes in the month of Ramadan and complain of fatigue because we’ve given so much money already! It may be that Allah will take that sustenance from you by force through a hurricane or an earthquake, so give from it voluntarily before it is taken away from you.

On that note I encourage everyone to support ICNA Reliefs efforts in Louisiana. They have been based here since Hurricane Katrina and responded to Gustav with utmost efficiency. Not only did they secure and maintain shelters all over the south, but they provided good cooked food and many supplies to all evacuees seeking shelter in the various masajid. They also equipped the masajid with hot commodity generators. It was truly refreshing to see brothers and sisters with “Muslims for Humanity” logos on their shirts going through neighborhoods not even visited by Red Cross and delivering supplies, removing trees, and placing tarps on damaged roofs. They desperately need your ongoing support to continue this tremendous work inshAllah. You can support your brothers and sisters at ICNA relief by going to and making a donation.

jazakumAllahu khayr, and please keep the Muslims of Louisiana, as well as those worldwide, in your dua.

Your brother in Islam,


Imam Omar Suleiman
Jefferson Muslim Association

Masjid Abu Bakr As-Siddique
4425 David Dr.
Metairie, LA 70003

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Please remember our brothers and sisters in Louisiana, as well as everywhere else around the world, in your du’aa as you break your fast… may Allah grant them patience and strength and help them overcome these trials of theirs, ameen. Donate to ICNA Relief here.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Nouman Ali Khan is the director of the Bayyinah Institute. He is well known for his contributions in the fields of Arabic and Quranic studies - most recently starting a full time on-campus institute for this purpose in Dallas, TX.



  1. shirien

    September 12, 2008 at 12:46 AM

    Barak Allah feek Br. Nouman for posting this. Br. Omar is completely right about everything he’s said. InshaAllah this will raise the awareness it needs and inshaallah hopefully we can see you again soon in our community! Ramadan Mubarak.

  2. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 12, 2008 at 2:23 AM

    Alhamdolillah alaa kulli haal. With Ike looming so close to Galveston, a mandatory evacuation is in effect for much of the coast. We pray for our brothers in Galveston’s Muslim community as they and neighboring communities right on the Gulf will take the brunt of what Ike can deliver.

    Ike only has to travel some 50-75 miles inland from there to reach every masjid in the Greater Houston area. Indeed masajid all over Houston have announced that Friday night is likely to see shortened taraweeh, and perhaps in some masajid no taraweeh at all. And depending on what the situation is on Saturday, some masajid are even talking about not having iftar that night.

    Our qadr is determined only by Allah. But we are making dua, and we ask our brothers everywhere to make dua that Allah keep from us the storm’s worst winds, and protect us from the evil that lies in them, and that He bring us only whatever good He has hidden in the wind and rain that are coming.

    Jazak Allah khayr for posting this article — it is important to remember that no matter how many satellites are in the sky, no matter how many devices science may devise, no matter what computers may forecast, and no matter in whom man place their faith, Allah Knows and we do not know. Innalhamdolillah! HasbunAllaho wa ne’mal wakeel.

    And as the article points out, we should be grateful to Allah for what we have now, what we will be spared from during the storm, and what we will be provided with thereafter — for all provision is from Allah. Allaho Ghanee, wa nahnu fuqara.

    It has also been a very tough past few Hurricanes for the people of the Caribbean. Make dua for any Muslims in Haiti, where whole cities have been cut off by the storm and where many communities are known to have gone without drinking water for as many as three straight days.

  3. Amad

    September 12, 2008 at 3:32 AM

    SubhanAllah… I had no idea. The picture given by mass media was that nothing happened. Seems a lot did. May allah make these hardships a source of great forgiveness for all of our bros/sis, and may Allah reward the efforts of the Islamic relief organizations. I hope we all take the opportunity to make an immediate donation to the organizations and become one of the helpers and share the great reward in Ramadan.

    I left Houston about 3 yrs ago. Still miss the city, but don’t miss the hurrican threat, esp with Ike moving towards the clear lake area where I lived. Wallahu musta’an.

  4. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 12, 2008 at 8:14 AM

    Innalhamdolillah. Bismillah. Please make a lot of dua for the people of Galveston as well as those of Clear Lake, a coastal community lying between Galveston and Houston, and home to the hosts of TDC among them our own Shaykh Waleed Basyouni.

    This is an excerpt from a weather service advisory report (sorry, the report text is in all caps):









    May Allah preserve and protect the Muslims in these communities and those in Houston and throughout the path of this storm. The advisory report language is very serious, full text available here.

    When I lived in Southern California, I was a Red Cross disaster services volunteer from 2004 to 2006. MashaAllah there are a great many classes that are offered in a wide variety of disaster relief services, almost all of them at no charge.

    I urge you to consider taking these classes so that when the need arises you can volunteer your experience to groups like ICNA Relief. You will be exposed to every level of disaster relief training (depending on the resources of the local Red Cross) from setting up shelters, to setting up kitchens to feed thousands of people if necessary, to coordinating with local government agencies, and much, much more.

    And should it happen that you could lend your help, but there is no Muslim relief organization there on the ground then I urge you to work with whatever local disaster relief organization is in place, be it a local governement agency, the local Red Cross, or any local civic group.

    If you live in So. Cal. and other areas that are disaster prone — like the Gulf — then your local community may (or may not) have created its own C.E.R.T. program. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and is a program whereby citizen volunteers train, get certified, and then agree to be mobilized in times of disasters to assist in varying levels of disaster relief. Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in So. Cal. have fantastic programs, and I enjoyed the NB program experience tremendously.

    Finally, because I have seen a lot of posts in other threads that make me think this comment is necessary, I want to suggest that no one should withhold their participation in any disaster relief just because the name and symbol of the American Red Cross is what it is. If you learn anything about the history of the organization, you will know that it was started in Switzerland.

    The Swiss volunteers who started it wanted a clear way to show that they were neutrals — not belonging to any combatant forces, because the group started out by offering aid after bloody conflicts would rage outside towns in the countryside, and no one would be present to care for the dead and dying.

    So the group did a sensible thing — they took their country’s own flag and inverted the colors. Being Swiss, that means they inverted the Swiss flag, turning its white emblem red.

    Alhamdolillah, in Muslim countries the natural response was that the symbol of their organizations should not be a cross, and they adopted the crescent — though perhaps a red liyaa would have been more of a blessing.

    In almost every other country of the world the local organization is either called Red Cross or Red Crescent, and the umbrella international group is literally both: ICRC — International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    Jews who want their own symbol and those who have no respect for cross or crescent and “reformers” alike protest the two existing symbols, and perhaps someday it will all be just a red dot.

    But what is indisputable is the good that this group does throughout the world. Far from perfect, it is a very human organization, and in the US a very much volunteer-manned one. The bulk of ARC personnel at any disaster site will be ordinary Americans — volunteers.

    So you can refuse to help feed, clothe, and shelter your neighbors on a day when earthquake, fire, or flood has driven them from security to need help. And if you refuse, rehearse your explanations and excuses to your Rabb.

    Or you can abstain from getting involved on a day-to-day basis with ARC, and instead get trained, be ready, strengthen groups like ICNA Relief by virtue of what you have learned, and stand side by side with your neighbors when they need you most.

  5. Amaat al Kareem

    September 12, 2008 at 8:15 AM

    assalam `alaikum

    SubhanAllah, it serves as a great reminder of the blessings we are often given but too quickly we regret to acknowledge. I wonder how often do we even take the opportunities to join other organizations when they offer trainings on emergency preparedness? In a way its like an amanah – that we should know how to survive in different conditions, similar to knowing how to swim, how to do archery, and how to horseback ride. This serves as a reminder to myself how important it is to train for situations like these – may Allah swt reward all those volunteers who came out to come to their brothers and sisters aid, and may Allah swt instill patience and reward those who may have lost their security (homes) and masajids.

    jazakum Allahu khairan

  6. Umm Reem

    September 12, 2008 at 8:44 PM

    Amin to all the du’as…

    Galveston is already flooding and it seems like the water has already crossed over the 16 ft. seawall which was build to protect the city.;_ylt=AqjIIlT5Y.YUyCHBsf0jmmKs0NUE

    SubhanAllah two years ago I used to live 5 minutes from Kemah boardwalk (Galveston Bay). My brother still lives there.

    Please make du’a for all the Muslims there. Clear Lake has a large and very active Muslim community!

  7. shirien

    September 13, 2008 at 12:18 AM

    subhanallah Ike is HUGE. May Allah protect the Muslims. Even we here in Louisiana are feeling the effects of the wind and rain right now from the hurricane, and we’re not even in it’s projected path. LSU canceled classes today because of severe weather and all stores closed early. May Allah protect you all, ameen.

    May Allah protect us from His anger.

  8. ibnabeeomar

    September 13, 2008 at 1:53 AM

    may Allah (swt) grant them ease in this time of difficulty. i think the masjid in metairie is the first masjid i ever went to in my life, and although i’ve never visited the masjid in baton rouge i always heard many good things. it feels strange going to the masjid in such comfort, eating good food, having an easy time knowing that others not that far from us are in the process of evacuating and recovering from these hardships.

  9. Amad

    September 13, 2008 at 10:14 AM

    Bros/sis from houston/galveston, please feel free to share news about the situation there on this thread ia. May Allah protect all the people of the cities from harm.

  10. Hidaya

    September 13, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    MashaAllah @ the efforts made by ICNA Relief, May Allah swt bless all the volunteers who took time from their busy schedule in the month of Ramadhan…

    I encourage everyone to donate generously , i guess that is the least we can do (In addition, to making Duaa)

  11. shirien

    September 13, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    that’s if anyone from there will be able to. 3 million people are without power, and subhanallah it seems like it’s gustav all over again. wallahul musta’an.

    for us the cellphones werent working, no internet, no lan lines, nothing. so it was very difficult to communicate with anyone for a few days.

  12. Hassan

    September 13, 2008 at 12:52 PM

    Most of muslims I know in Clear Lake have fled in land or to Dallas. The Hilton of Nassau Bay (next to lake) has quite a bit of damages. The water from the lake came into its parking lot, and even crossed the Nasa Rd 1 (goes next to Clear Lake) was under water, but now it has receded. I do not know what is going on at my apartment complex, but I am quite sure there is no electricity there.

    Many bayous have over flown. The downtown Houston does not look pretty either. They were showing one building, most of its windows shattered, and debris all over the road.

  13. Hassan

    September 13, 2008 at 12:56 PM

  14. Dawud Israel

    September 13, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    Hope everyone is OK in Texas…keeping ya’ll in my duas.

  15. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 14, 2008 at 9:30 AM

    innalhamdolillah. bismillah hir Rahman nir Raheem.

    alhamdolillah, i believe Allah subhanahu wata ala answered the duas of so many Muslims in Houston, paraphrasing the dua of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam, “O Allah give us the good of it (the storm), the good of what is in it, and the good of what is hidden in it, and protect us from the harm of it, the harm of what is in it, and the harm of what is hidden in it.”

    in Houston, about which so many media sources hyped fear for so many days, there have been so many barakat and so much aversion of harm, alhamdolillah.

    i started keeping a list of barakat and protections that people might overlook, and i am sure many keep here could add more.

    1) that Allah sent this storm in Ramadan gave us a chance to earn more reward for our sabr.

    2) that Allah delayed landfall of the storm so long permitted most people time to pray Isha in jamat and to make taraweeh, too.

    3) that Allah sent the storm on the 13th night of Ramadan was a blessing. though power went out across most of the city, still for much of the night (until about 4 am in my neighborhood) the strength of moonlight was so much that the city was not plunged into total darkness.

    4) Allah restrained lightning and thunder, and Ike was primarily a storm of wind, rain, and storm surge. and flood-prone Houston saw less flooding from Ike itself than it has from previous hurricanes. — this morning, with Ike itself many miles to the north, it is again raining. and we have seen as much as two inches of rainfall in many areas. so there is flooding now in many parts of Houston, but the rainfall itself has been gentle, alhamdolillah.

    5) though the weather forecasters had made so many “authoritative” predictions, Allah turned the storm in its path. thus Ike had much less effect on the western half of the city than on its east, and we make dua for those of our neighbors who took the hardest effect. but part of the barakat here has been that there are so many parts of the city that can provide shelter and respite to people from the hardest hit areas.

    6) throughout the night of the storm, Allah gave us so many opportunities for dhikr and tawbah. to contemplate the majesty of Allah’s Might, the completeness of our dependence upon Him, and how much more of a terror will be Qiyaamat. walking about in darkness, for example, inside our homes, wondering if the battery will give out in a flashlight, makes one think about the light that Allah will only permit to those with Iman, and then according to their righteousness and good works. do you check to make sure your batteries are not low? does your fire extinguisher need re-charging?

    7) reading Qur’an by candlelight, something we know so many generations of scholars and people of taqwa did.

    8) going outside to watch for the signs of fajr (not on the day of the hurricane though, because that was when the storm was in its fullest). on normal days the city is covered in a constellation of lights from homes, streets, businesses and industry. everywhere that Allah has dimmed those lights through outages, He has made bright the chance of enlivening the sunah of looking for the start of fajr in the darkened night sky.

    9) Muslims taking care of each other, mashaAllah. friends, families, and jamaat, among all of these you could see that Muslims have responded in Houston by taking care of each other, mashaAllah.

    there are many more barakat, i am sure, and these are just some that i have been keeping note of.

    jazak Allah khayr for your duas, and please keep making them as the cities hit by recent storms continue their recoveries, inshaAllah.

  16. shirien

    September 14, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    AbuAbduallah, subhanallah, that sounds very similar to my post regarding Gustav here. Many people focus on the hardships, and forget the blessings as a result of the hardship. walhamdulillah.

  17. Amad

    September 14, 2008 at 3:54 PM

    Wow jazakallah khair abu abdullah, those were amazing reflections. If I may suggest, you collect more thoughts and observations in an article that we can post on MM.

  18. Faiez

    September 14, 2008 at 9:15 PM

    Abu Abdullah, maybe one of the blessings is also people getting off work and school during ramadan?

  19. Bint Bashir

    September 14, 2008 at 11:12 PM

    May Allah protect us from His wrath. Ameen

  20. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 15, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    bismillah. jazak Allah khayr for the duas you have made for all of us in Houston, and jazak Allah khayr for your understanding what motivated my posts. Allahumma laa tuaakhidnee bimaa yaqooloona, waghfirlee maa laa yaalamoona, waj alnee khayram mimmaa yadhunnoon.

    mashaAllah, ICNA Relief is on the ball again. I won’t copy/paste the whole text of their Ike-Appeal (notice how that spells Ikea? i bet a lot of our brothers and sisters in flooded galveston and clear lake would be so moved by donations of fresh dry furniture from places like ikea… and if anyone knows a Muslim businessman in the furniture business locally, i would suggest buying from him rather than ikea).

    but if the moderators permit, i will copy/paste the shelter information. and urge anyone who needs phone numbers of the people on the ground to go get them from the ICNA relief website (link above).

    if you are in Houston or DFW, consider visiting these shelters even if only to cheer up your brothers and sisters, bring them chai and halwa this evening, and toys for their children.

    ICNA Relief USA in cooperation with local Islamic Centers have set up shelters in the following Masjids:


    Masjid Bilal 11815 Adel Road, Houston, TX77067 Ph. 281-537-1946

    Masjid Al-Mustafa 17250 Coventry Park, Houston, TX77084 Ph. 281-859-8203

    Masjid Al-Taqwa 10415 Synott Road, Sugarland, TX77478 Ph. 281-495-3403


    IANT/Collins Musallah 1600 Plano Road, Suite 200 Richardson, TX 75081
    Ph. 972-231-5698

    Islamic Center of Irving 2555 Easters Rd, Irving, TX75062

    (the shelter information was current as of the time of posting, wAllaho’Alim)

  21. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 15, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    bismillah. video on damage to Galveston, may Allah subhanahu wata ala Help all the Muslims from there who seek to rebuild their homes and lives, and may He Guide the others to the Straight Path. ameen.

    MSNBC video

  22. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 15, 2008 at 6:14 PM

    yet another sign of the Mercy of Allah to the people afflicted by Ike, though Septembers in Houston can be notoriously hot and unpleasant, Allah subhanahu wata ala sent us cooling rain yesterday morning, and temperatures/weather last night and this morning were downright comfortable.

    people who were without power could open their windows and let the night air cool them, as long as they had mosquito spray. :)

    and the forecast tonight is at least as mild, if not plain cool.

    fabiayi aalaa i-rabiku maa tukadibaan?
    So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?

  23. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 16, 2008 at 8:59 AM

    innalhamdolillah. bismillah. another benefit not to be overlooked.

    how many khutbahs remind people that this Ramadan should be the one in which you change your lives for the better?

    need a bigger incentive than the hurricane itself?

    yes? maybe you need to look at Galveston and Houston, two sister cities.

    we pray for the Muslims of Galveston, and i only point now to what happened there with ONE intention: look at the clear Might of Allah. look again, if you have to. perhaps the strongest motivator for change can be fear. bolster your fear of Allah’s punishment with yaqeen, give yourself a reality check. Allah warns us over and over in the Qur’an that He can do anything He pleases — and nothing can avert His Anger except His Rahmat. so repent and seek His Rahmat now.

    or maybe you fear so much that you have despaired, naudhobillah. then look again at the two cities but focus on the fact that with one single hurricane Allah sent so much destruction to one city and spared the neighboring city from almost all of the effects. who can deny the Mercy of Allah and claim to have ‘aql? the scope of His Mercy is without limit or comparison for those who repent. and we are all witness here in Houston to His Mercy. so strengthen your hope that Allah will show you Mercy on the Last Day. the Rope of Allah will not break in any storm, so hold fast to it always.

    or maybe you were personally affected by the storm, and so the Mercy of Allah is not something you are reading about, but something you felt. then use that experience to increase your love for Allah, and show your thanks every day and in every good way. and the best way to show your gratitude to Allah is to make His Deen the divining rod of your life, drawing you and others closer to what is pure and good, and steering you and those you can warn away from what is filthy and harmful.

    if you look here in Houston, inshaAllah, you will find much cause for rejoicing.

  24. ruth nasrullah

    September 19, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    Salaamu alaikum. I didn’t read this thread till now. It’s amazing how many of us, myself included, live or have lived in Clear Lake!

  25. Karema Akifah Saleh

    September 23, 2008 at 1:32 AM

    asalaam alaikum wm wb,

    Please consider sharing your stories for the upcoming edition of Iqra Newspaper. We also got hit badly by Ike in Houston. I came to Houston from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now I am seeing many Texans going through similar ordeals as citizens from New Orleans. I visited an apartment complex today which has been condemned. The residents have 3 days to vacate. What will they do? Where will they go? Most of them did not have any insurance to cover their lost. They are without food and water. Still more are without the basic necessities.

    You can send photos and emails to [],

    It is encouraging to see everyone come together to help each other

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