Rights of the Masjid Imam
Bint Azam Ali Attari
(Teacher of Jamia tul Madina Girls, Gujranwala)
The final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Let the best among you call the azan for you and let the ˹best˺ Quran reciters be your imams.” Being an imam is a great service to Islam and an esteemed way of earning halal sustenance. According to the renowned spiritual guide and leader of Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlana Ilyas Attar al-Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ, an imam is the uncrowned king of his area. The imam of a masjid tries his best to observe his duties and raise the flag of Islam. Hence, we must not fall short in fulfilling his rights. Make an intention to fulfil the following ten rights.
1. Be mindful of his rank
Speak to the imam with the utmost respect and reverence, just as you would speak to others based on their rank. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:
اِذاَ اَتاکُم کریمُ قومٍ فاَکرِمُوہ
“If a man who is respected among his own people comes to you, honour him.”
2. Be friendly
The imam of the masjid deserves kindness and cordial interactions, just like other Muslims. Hence, the worshippers and people of the area should be kind and friendly to him.
3. Excuse his mistakes
The imam is a human like everyone else. He is a human being first and then an imam. Therefore, if he makes a mistake, forgive him and earn great reward.
4. Be appreciative
People want others to be aware of their value, and this respect is often reciprocated. Therefore, value him as a Muslim and as an imam, and earn his supplications.
5. Be sympathetic
Islam teaches us to be patient in the face of difficulties. It teaches us to be kind, respectful, and to console those who are grieving. Hence, be supportive and be empathetic with the imam when he faces problems. He is a human being after all and may be better than many others.
6. Be hospitable
Being hospitable is a sunnah of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Thus, invite him as a guest to your home from time to time and earn immense reward.
7. Visit him when he is facing hardship
If, Allah forbid, the imam is involved in an accident, fulfil the rights of a Muslim and check up on him. This will be a source of great reward.
8. Hasten to greet him
The one who gives salaam first is closer to Allah and free from arrogance. Act on this when greeting the imam too.
9. Necessities of Life
If the imam needs a loan, give it to him with grace, and be lenient when seeking repayment. Try to fulfil his needs from time to time as he may struggle to make ends meet. Most imams, maintaining self-respect, recoil from mentioning their struggles to anyone.
10. Monthly Income
Along with renovating the masjid, there should be an increase in the monthly income of the imam. Assist him financially from time to time in a respectful manner according to your means.
May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to fulfil the rights of Muslims, especially those of our imams.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم