Masjid Al Qur’an’s chief beekeeper, Shaimai Wu, has been looking after the bees since their arrival at the start of Ramadan.
United in their interest for bees
Shaimai Wu, or as he prefers Abu Zakaria, grew up in a Muslim family in China on his mother’s side who raised bees. “I spent several summers with my grandparents, attending beekeeping and honey harvesting, but I never raised bees myself,” he said.
Today he works in the supply chain field as the planning and purchasing director for Design House in Mequon. “About five years ago I discovered a beekeeping club in Milwaukee and thought I could pick up where I left off many years ago,” he said.
Abu Zakaria has been raising bees on his own for five years.
Imam Hafiz Muhammad Shafiq has taken an increasing interest in bees since his participation in a beekeeping program in 1987 while a university student in Pakistan.
“It was just a few weeks, but I learned a lot about beekeeping and bees, ”he said. “Since then, I have wanted to know more about bees. I always like to go to honey and bee discussions. When I came to the United States, I discovered that there were a lot of people doing this.
“There is a family about a 10 minute drive from here. I was going to buy them honey and talk to them. I learned a lot from them.
When the imam’s daughter, Aiman, was in college, she did a project on how the signals emitted by cell phones cause bee decline, he said. By carrying out this project, “We have developed a closer bond with this family and we have started to learn more about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, four years ago, Abu Zakaria joined Al Quran’s Medina program as a student, said Imam Shafiq. Abu Zakaria invited the imam to accompany him to see his beehives, which he did several times.
Last year, Imam Shafiq asked Abu Zakaria if he thought the Al Qur’an community could keep its own bees. They looked at the educational benefits for young people and the community as a whole.
This would create “a hands-on learning opportunity,” Imam Shafiq said.