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History and Vision of Islamic Development Center (IDC)

Though Islamic Development Center officially opened its doors to the public in 1995 in the city of Moreno Valley, CA, the seedlings for its establishment were planted years earlier in the city of Riverside, CA, first under the leadership of the late Minister Luther X who was instrumental in establishing the first temple of Islam at 4104 Park Ave., Riverside, circa 1969-71. It would be later that Imam Earl Shah would succeed him and expand the presence of Al-Islam throughout Inland Empire exponentially.

Earl Shah began his ministry with the establishment of the first Temple of Islam in Pomona, CA, in 1971 under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He later presided as Resident Imam over Muhammad’s Temple to be later named, Masjid Muhammad-Riverside (the first Mosque) in the Inland Empire from 1973 to 1980. It was there where he initiated the prison volunteer program in Southern California that eventually blossomed into the fulltime paid Professional Muslim Chaplaincy for the entire prison system of the State of California to include California Department of Corrections (CDC) later to be renamed (CDCR), the R representing ‘Rehabilitation’, the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and the Veterans Hospital (VA). It was also there where he afforded opportunities for young adults to develop their leadership skills always keeping a watchful eye out for potential talent and taking a hands-on approach in the training and nurturing of the future leaders of tomorrow. His vision for the future was indeed that of ‘Model Community’ life. He would later be designated the West Coast Regional Prison Coordinator by Imam W.Deen Mohammed.

Under his leadership, two (2) food markets and two (2) Shabazz food take outs (one of each) were established in the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino. He and his supporters through their relentless da’wah (propagation) efforts, are responsible and are indeed the pioneers of introducing Al-Islam to the Inland Empire of Southern California while training several to serve as prison volunteers, some who went on to establish careers as State Chaplains.

Men and women such as Dr. Alfred Graham, Lanier Garth, Maurice Roberson, Bro. Noland Muhammad, Sis. Amina Mukarram, Floyd Rasool, Imam Azzezud-din Abdul Ali, Na’imah Ali, and Bro. Sidney (Abu Bakr) Pruden and wife Naomi Pruden and many others under his leadership, touched thousands with the life-giving message of Al- Islam. Among those young new converts were Ron El-Amin of San Bernardino, CA and Paul Khalid of Riverside CA, both who came under the personal tutelage and guidance of Imam Shah. Thus, the seeds for the establishment of the Islamic Development Center were planted.

1975 thru 1985 were turbulent and difficult times for Masjid Muhammad. This was the period of the great transition from black Nationalism to Mainstream Islam under the guidance and wise teachings of the new leader of the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.), Imam W. Deen Mohammed. During this period, the Mosque experienced a decline in membership, the businesses were forced to close due to decline in the N.O.I.’s International Fish Imports. It was a time of purging and spiritual evolution needed to advance the community forward into the excellence of the Qur’an.

In 1978 Imam Shah retired from the position of Resident Imam but continued to function in the capacity of Prison Coodinator until the late 90’s. His assistant, Imam Azzezuddin-Abdul Ali was unanimously accepted by the congregation as Masjid Muhammad’s new leader’.

Imam Azzezud-din was honest, kind, and compassionate toward the Believers. He wanted to see the community grow and he was passionate about continuing Earl Shah’s push toward Model Community life where there would exist culture, business development, education (our own school) etc. In addition, his dream was to one day bring Imam W. Deen Mohammed to the Inland Empire. He was businessman which kept him away in the neighboring state of Arizona for periods of time so after two (2) years and in 1980, he relinquished his position in order to relocate to Pheonix Arizona where he was able to devote his time to his business and where he also dedicated his time resources to supporting Masjid Jawharatul-Islam, of Pheonix up to this very day.

In 1980 Ron El-Amin, was elected Resident Imam of Masjid Muhammad. As is the case with small organizations, he struggled from 1980 up to 1987 with the difficult task to keep the community intact and the doors open. As was the case in other parts of the country, Imam W. Deen Mohammed issued a directive to those Mosque who were operating below a certain threshold to shut down and to begin operating and holding their meetings from their homes. At that time, because Masjid Muhammad was renting from its neighbor, Park Avenue Baptist Church, made it was easy for the Imam El-Amin to follow his leader’s directive as the leader did not want his community to be under an unnecessary burden of maintaining a building with a handful of people. So Members began meeting in their homes and at one point secured space from the Church of Scientology of Riverside and for the next two (2) years held meetings there that was much more cost effective in terms overall expense.

Eventually Paul Khalid moved to Moreno Valley and Imam El-Amin at the invitation of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, departed from the U.S. in 1987 to study Arabic at the Institute of Arabic Language on the campus of the University of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Upon his returned in 1991, he relocated to Moreno valley to continue what Imam Earl Shah started in Riverside but now much more enhanced with the tools needed to comprehend and teach the Qur’an from its original text. So once again IDC members began meeting in their homes, in the parks, and eventually meeting space was secured on the campus of University of Riverside California (UCR) and in 1995 Imam El-Amin along with his supporters purchased land in Moreno Valley and the doors of Islamic Development Center were officially opened. It was during that period that Imam Earl Shah attended IDC’s open house before his passing to see his work (legacy) continued by his students, it was a poignant and tearful moment. From the very first day of its purchase and its inception, IDC’s vision has been to establish a school and Mosque, the spirit that has ran throughout all its administrations.

It would be later in 2002 that both Imam Earl and Imam Azzezud-din would attend a major county wide program sponsored by IDC under the leadership of Imam El-Amin at the Riverside Convention Center in the presence of Imam W. Deen Mohammed to receive awards for their contributions made toward the establishment of Al-Islam throughout the Inland Empire.

In 2009, due to health concerns Imam El-Amin stepped down from his post of Resident Imam at IDC and relocated Bakersfield, CA and remained there until 2014. In 2009, IDC selected its fifth (5th) leader, Imam Terry Talib Major.

As a young and vibrant worker and as one of the founding members of the Islamic Development Center, Imam Terry Taalib Major began serving the area of the Inland Empire circa 1993 and served under the leadership of Imam Ron El-Amin as his assistant. His personality consisted of three wonderful qualities that characterizes him as person and as a leader. Faith, determination, generosity, and congenial smile. He believed in IDC and he dedicated his life, time, and resources, to its success. He held the line for ten (10) years and worked faithfully up to his departure from this world on February 28, 2018. Without his service, IDC would not be here in that he did not allow the vision of Minister Luther, Imam Earl, Imam Azzezud-din, Imam Ron to die, he kept it alive, and he never stopped pressing forward to keep the community together, to provide services to the broader community despite the challenges and personal difficulties he faced in his own life. He did a marvelous job; may Allah SWT grant him a special rank in the Paradise for his contributions.

In 2018, Imam Ron was nominated and voted in once again to serve as Resident Imam at IDC. Under his leadership, the mortgage has been retired (paid in full) two new restrooms were added to the structure, and plans are under way to continue to make upgrades to the structure until eventually we have a school & Mosque from the ground up. In the meantime, IDC will operate the Clara Muhammed Week-end School making tutoring services available to the neighborhood’s children focusing on reading, writing, and math. In addition, plans are being explored to establish a community garden on the property to be managed and maintained by the neighborhood residents. and to make additional internal and external upgrades to the structure as well as the land.

IDC shares a common concern with all levels of leadership and government in that we want to see the citizens of Moreno Valley and neighboring towns benefiting from services, opportunities, and a better quality of life. We believe that we have a moral and social obligation to share in serving to help create such opportunities.

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