The two primary responsibilities of any Muslim community are to provide its members with a place of worship and a burial place. The Mid Hudson Muslim community fulfilled its first responsibility with the establishment of Masjid Al Noor along with other masjids in the late 80s. However, it took the passing of a local pediatrician, Dr. Suroor Alam, in 1993 to realize we must have a way to provide our Muslim brothers and sisters with a proper burial.
Br. Akram Chowdhry, who has since passed, donated four acres of land in Windsor to be used as a cemetery that same year. However, it took three years for Dr. Arif Muslim, Dr. Umar M. Ahmad, Dr. Shehbaz Malik, Dr. Salahuddin M. Muhammad, and Sis. Saeeda Alam to convince the Cornwall zoning and planning board to provide the necessary zoning approvals, even though the property was next to a non-denominational cemetery. Local community members and interfaith leaders also supported us by speaking out on our behalf throughout the process.
Noor Mid-Hudson Islamic Cemetary opened in 1996 as the first privately-owned Islamic cemetery allowing for burials to be made in adherence to Islamic tradition and requirements. The cemetery is registered as a nonprofit governed by a board of directors and an executive committee. The original board was comprised of Dr. Arif Muslim, Br. Akram Chowdhry, Sis. Khaldah Chowdhry, Sis. Saeeda Alam and Dr. Shehbaz Malik. The board also created an endowment fund to attain financial sustainability.
The cemetery was dedicated to Dr. Suroor Alam on Nov. 24, 1996. It has room for over 2,000 burials and has been well maintained with the help of volunteers since its conception. The board works with leadership from all the main masjids in the Hudson Valley to provide burials that fulfill requirements and are a source of comfort.
None of this would be possible without the guidance and blessings of Allah (SWT), to Whom we give thanks. Therefore, we want to make it possible for the next generation to take care of this trust, InShaAllah.