How should the Masjid management be?
Abun-Noor Rashid Ali Attari Madani
Continued from the previous…
2. Choosing the Masjid staff
Masjid staff normally comprises of Khateeb, Imam, Mu`azzin and caretaker. Depending on the income, area and need of a Masjid, a substitute Imam and more than one caretakers are also appointed. Nevertheless, choosing Masjid staff is also an important task.
In our society, a Khateeb is generally selected by listening to his speech. If the Masjid management and a few people like the way of his speech, then they choose him the Khateeb of the Masjid. Remember that a Khateeb’s responsibility is to impart Islamic teachings to the people. Hence, a Khateeb should be an Islamic scholar and someone who passionately studies Islamic books. Therefore, the Masjid management should choose such a Khateeb who provides Islamic upbringing in the light of the Holy Quran, blessed Ahadees, and the Seerah of the pious predecessors.
An Imam is deemed as the most important member of any Masjid. A Khateeb comes to the Masjid once a week, whereas, an Imam is present there in all five prayers of the day and meets the people. Many Masajid appoint the same person as the Imam and Khateeb. If we look at it, in one way, it seems to be a very good and appropriate approach because an Imam is very well aware of the circumstances and psychology of the Salah-offering people and the people of the area. In the light of this, he can spread call to righteousness through his Friday speech. Anyhow, be extremely cautious in choosing an Imam too. Don’t only consider his voice, personality and awe for this role, rather, also see if he has enough knowledge regarding the rulings of Salah that are essential for one to abide by in order to complete his Salah. In particular, he should be very well versed in (the rulings of) purity, conditions, Faraaid, Wajibat, and Makruhaat of Salah. The best solution for this is to choose an Imam and Khateeb with the consultation of an illustrious Islamic scholar.
May Allah Almighty preserve Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, ‘Allamah Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ, as his founded religious organisation, Dawat-e-Islami, has created a lot of ease for us in this regard. اَلْـحَمْـدُ لـِلّٰـه one department of Dawat-e-Islami, namely ‘Majlis Aa`emmah-e-Masajid’, has been established. Under this department, not only are A`emmah and Mu`azzins appointed in Masajid, but they also undergo tests that are conducted by the scholars. Therefore, Masjid committees should demand for an Imam by contacting this department of Dawat-e-Islami.
Another important aspect to be mindful of while choosing an Imam is that you should plan properly for the future too. It is not appropriate at all to keep a student the Imam of a Masjid during its construction phase and when it turns into a beautiful Masjid, you remove the poor student from the designation of Imam. If it is pre-decided to appoint a grand scholar as the Imam of the Masjid after its construction, then inform the Imam you appointed initially that we require your services up until the construction of the Masjid.
A Mu`azzin is also an important part of the Masjid. And why wouldn’t he be as he conveys the command of presenting oneself in the majestic court of Allah Almighty to people five times a day. Therefore, the Masjid committee should choose a Mu`azzin an individual who has a sound nature, is punctual, carries a loud and clear voice, calls out Azaan correctly and is well-mannered.
Similarly, choose such a caretaker who is punctual as well as passionate about his work, and in addition to this, he should also be familiar with the rulings of purity so that he does not make a mistake while cleaning the Masjid.
3. Behaviour of the management with the Masjid staff
Out of the important qualities of the Masjid management, one important quality is ‘their behaviour with the Masjid staff’. From this perspective, every member of the Masjid management as well as every Muslim should embed this fact firmly in his mind that no matter how great a Khateeb, Imam, Mu`azzin, caretaker, Qaari, Hafiz, scholar or Mufti may be, along with all this, he is a human too. Therefore, if any of the Masjid staff commits any such mistake that does not lead to public despise, one should ignore it; and in case there is a matter that does actually lead to public despise and is extremely inappropriate based on their rank and status, then contact Dar-ul-Ifta Ahl-e-Sunnat or any authentic scholar of Ahl-us-Sunnah and act according to the Shar’i guidance they provide. Becoming a Mufti yourself, being rude or displaying ill-behaviour just because you are the management is not right from a Shar’i perspective either.
One ought to converse, engage in the matters of giving and taking, and join their (Masjid staff’s) company in a very sophisticated and pleasant manner, especially with those who are scholars. It is understandable that you are from the Masjid management, but as they are the Khateeb and Imam for the common public, so are they for you. It is a matter of great concern that Salah-offering people kiss the hands of the Imam and Khateeb and the Masjid committee treats them just like ordinary employees. Islam has taught us to even treat our subordinates, servants and slaves nicely, whereas, Imam and Khateeb are those personalities who are a means of the acceptance of our Salahs and upbringing of our generations.
Based on the income and norms of the Masjid, providing residence and other facilities to the Masjid staff is also the responsibility of the Masjid management. Decorating and adorning Masajid is very good. There should be the most expensive marble fitted in the Masjid along with the best of other facilities. However, those people who remain engaged in serving and enlivening the Masajid, i.e., the Imam and Khateeb, providing them with residence and other important facilities is also a very good, important and rewardable act. The Masjid management should know that the way it is an act of reward to provide facilities to common people and Salah-offering individuals, similarly, providing facilities to the Imam, Mu`azzin and the other Masjid staff is also an act of reward. In fact at times, it is more rewardable to facilitate the Masjid staff than facilitating the common people.
The way Masjid management looks after the Masjid, similarly, it should also take full care of the Masjid staff. After seeking Shar’i guidance, their residence, other facilities, food according to the norms, salary, and bonuses etc. should be stipulated. Moreover, may Allah forbid, in case of them having an accident, they should inquire after them and try their utmost to support them financially for their medical treatment and other matters.
(Rest will be in next month’s edition, اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه)