Expansion » Al Iman School Expansion

Al Iman School Expansion

Assalamalaykum dear Al-Iman School family,
The ASC wants to take a moment to express our profound appreciation to each member of the loyal parents, the dedicated staff, and the school administration for their tireless efforts and unwavering support. Your contributions have been extraordinary, and your dedication has been a pillar of strength for our community.
As we continue to look for a path forward for expansion, I believe this is an opportunity to learn and improve.
I'd like to share the open letter I sent to the BOD and Shura with everyone.
JAK and keep the school and our children in your duaa!
Wadah Sayyed
Chairman, Al-Iman School Committee 
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
To the Respected Board of Directors (BOD) and Honorable Shura Members of IAR,


Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

InshaAllah this letter finds you in a state of strong iman and well-being. In light of the recent termination of the Weston project and as we collectively contemplate the wisdom to be gleaned from this experience, I wish to address two fundamental lessons that are crucial for our journey forward: the redefinition of the BOD's role and the imperative separation of analysis from decision-making.


Redefining BOD Identity:

During a recent community gathering, Dr. Chaudhry described the BOD's role as that of the "bad guy." While I understand the context, it troubles me as it seems to miss the essence of leadership within the BOD. In a larger organizational context, which IAR is evolving into, culture holds as much significance as policies and bylaws.


While I fully acknowledge that the BOD is not a decision-making body, I firmly believe it plays a pivotal role in shaping IAR's organizational culture and identity. Therefore, I respectfully propose that the BOD reflect upon and redefine its role from merely being the "bad guy" to embracing a more encompassing role as a unifier and healer within our community.


How we perceive ourselves greatly influences our actions—it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I ponder how different interactions might have unfolded if the BOD had allowed the ASC to present its case openly and engage in discourse rather than simply submitting it offline. Or, if face-to-face meetings with the ASC had been conducted to communicate unequivocally the BOD's stance, it would have been more effective than a perceived detachment.


If not addressed, I believe this approach could pose an existential threat to IAR, particularly as it may deter younger generations wishing to contribute to the institution's success. Unity and collaboration should be the cornerstones of our leadership identity.


Separation of Analysis and Decision-Making:

This approach underscores the necessity of clearly distinguishing between the analysis and decision-making phases when evaluating proposals. I do not claim that the ASC's decision to proceed with the Weston project was flawless in every aspect. However, it is paramount to recognize that it was the sole decision grounded in data and expertise across various domains, including finance, legal, construction, design, civil engineering, traffic management, commercial real estate, Sharia finances, and school policies, among others.


None of the entities involved in this project—the ASC, Shura, or BOD—possessed the complete spectrum of expertise needed for comprehensive planning and scrutiny. Hence, it is incumbent upon us to have the courage to seek expert guidance when analyzing data that falls beyond our expertise instead of shouldering the entire burden ourselves when venturing outside our comfort zones.


Key Lessons and Imperatives:

From this experience, we derive several essential lessons:

1. Expert Analysis: Leadership necessitates the active engagement of experts in relevant fields when deliberating significant projects or decisions. Expert analysis forms the bedrock of informed decisions.


2. Objective Decision-MakingObjectivity is paramount. By distinctively separating analysis from decisions, we ensure choices rest upon factual data and expert insights rather than subjective factors. Objective decisions are both comprehensible and convincing.


3. Transparency and Accountability: We must cultivate a culture of transparency and accountability within our community. Clear communication and accountability are indispensable for informed decision-making and the unity of our community.


4. Recognizing Expertise: Acknowledging and respecting expertise is essential. This does not imply unwavering adherence to expert recommendations but rather the humility to seek expert counsel when warranted and acknowledge our limitations.


Allah repeatedly emphasizes the significance of acquiring knowledge and making well-informed choices in the Quran. As leaders entrusted with the welfare of our community, we bear the solemn responsibility of making decisions that reflect wisdom, foresight, and objectivity.


By committing to the separation of analysis and decision-making and by wholeheartedly valuing the contributions of experts, we can collectively endeavor towards a future characterized by sound decision-making, impartial assessments, and the flourishing of our Islamic Association. Let this experience serve as a reminder of the pivotal role of culture and the invaluable contributions of experts in assisting leaders in making objective decisions.


May Allah guide our intentions, bestow upon us wisdom, and shower our community with strength and unity.


Wadah Sayyed
Chairman, Al-Iman School Committee 



Asalaamu alaikum Al-Iman School community,  


The Al-Iman School Committee (ASC) and Administration regret to inform the Al-Iman community that the IAR Board of Directors (BOD) has decided to block the school’s Weston Parkway project. The Board of Directors issued the following statement:  


“The IAR Board of Directors (BOD)  recognizes the continued and tireless efforts of Al-Iman School administration, teachers and volunteers and expresses its sincere gratitude for their efforts and dedication. BOD whole heartedly supports expansion of the School. However, after carefully examining all available data, BOD concluded that Weston Parkway Project poses an existential threat to IAR. Hence, said project could not be approved. BOD directs Shura to find and evaluate alternate expansion projects. Furthermore, in collaboration with Al-Iman School officials, all measures should be taken to eliminate ongoing costs and liabilities associated with the Weston Parkway Project.”  


The ASC disagrees with and is disappointed in the BOD’s decision, particularly at this late stage of the project, only days after the ASC secured an institutional investor and made significant progress on securing the necessary approvals from the Town of Cary.


Alhamdulillah, Al-Iman School has seen extraordinary growth in recent years, with 334 students enrolled and 177 students waitlisted this school year.  With Allah’s guidance, the ASC has worked diligently to address our community’s needs and, in that vein, pursued efforts to expand and relocate Al-Iman School to an exceptional 10-acre property on Weston Parkway in Cary.  Additionally, the ASC took extraordinary measures to ensure this project was conducted with a shariah-compliant financial transaction. After two years of expansion efforts and nine months of work on the Weston Parkway property, the ASC hoped to complete the first phase of this expansion and accommodate up to 500 total students as early as Fall 2024.  


The IAR’s Shura, a legislative body elected by the community and tasked with making key policy decisions for the community,  reflected an understanding of the gravity and importance of this project and ultimately approved the project on Sunday, September 10th.  The Board of Directors, however, overturned the Shura’s decision on Sunday, September 17th, as noted in the statement above. After examining its options, the ASC proceeded to comply with the BOD directive and terminated the transaction on Monday, September 18th.


Given the BOD’s decision and specific concern of existential threat to the IAR, the ASC is halting all expansion efforts indefinitely.

First and foremost, the ASC thanks Allah for His guidance and divine wisdom in leading Al-Iman School to this point. We take solace and refuge in the divine decree and continue to say alhamdulillah for Allah’s mercy and guidance. We would also like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the entire Al-Iman School community for its ongoing support and feedback. The ASC strove for unprecedented transparency and feedback during this project from all Al-Iman stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and staff, the broader Muslim community, the IAR Shura, and the BOD. We hope this process benefitted all stakeholders and established a new bar for transparent governance and leadership in the Muslim community.


To ensure transparency, the ASC will complete an accounting of all expenses for this project and publish this information on the Al-Iman website. These expenses include legal and design fees for work completed in the first nine months of this project, some of which will be paid in the coming days. All of these expenses will be funded by Al-Iman’s reserves.


We will offer refunds upon request for anyone who donated money specifically to support Al-Iman’s expansion. Please contact Br. Maher Alhertani at Al-Iman School (business.manager@alimancrescent.org


Lastly, we ask the entire Al-Iman community to forgive the ASC for any shortcomings or errors in this project or at any other time, and we hope you will keep the school and the children in your duas.


Jazakum Allah Khair,


Wadah Sayyed

Chairman, Al-Iman School Committee


P.S. For those interested in learning more about the IAR’s governance structure, including decision-making processes, please visit this page to read its Constitution and Bylaws.