By Fahd Bin Jleid
Nov 10, 2015
It is high time to make the profession of a mosque imam to a full time government job, which is to be governed by the Ministry of Civil Service regulations. This should be in coordination with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance. This job shall be included in the grade of preachers, guides, judges and staffers of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of the Vice (Haia).
What is our expectation of a mosque’s role in the respective neighborhood? Are we satisfied with the current role of the imam in delivering Friday sermon and leading prayers as a part timer for a fixed amount of money, and then engage in some other jobs to make ends meet? The remuneration received for the part time job by an imam, khateeb or a muazzin (the man who calls the faithful to prayer) is fixed and there is no annual increment. They do not enjoy any other financial incentives or holidays or even retirement allowances.
How can we expect from such a part timer any concrete outcome? Instead of preoccupied fully with the mosque-related affairs, such an imam thinks about a lot of other things and engages in several jobs as teacher, marriage official, charity work supervisor, member of charity society and partner in commercial venture and the like. Most of the time, he stays away from mosque, and comes to lead the prayers at their time and leaves immediately after performing the duty. Hence he finds no time to know anything about the situation of those who follow him in prayers at the mosque.
This means that we have not made any single step forward with regard to improving the living standard of these people. But at the same time, we continue underscoring the need for mosques to play a vital role in countering deviant ideologies and ensuring intellectual security among members of the community.
There are several qualified hands who have either retired from service or still remain unemployed or doing their courses in Islamic subjects. The government can appoint them to take up full time jobs as imams, khateebs or muazzins at mosques. Then, they can play a vital role in leading and guiding the society in an effective way. Furthermore, there should be an effective mechanism to monitor their functioning and motivate them to achieve outstanding results.
The profession of a mosque imam is a noble and dignified one. The imam is supposed to perform his duty in a serious manner with full concentration in every detail. For this, an imam shall be a full timer. This is inevitable to strengthen the bonds of relations among members of the community who gather at the mosque.
The imam is supposed to take care of the affairs of the worshipers from in the neighborhood and play a leading role in solving their problems too. He shall be an authority not only in clearing their doubts on religious matters but also in finding solutions to their problems through playing a leading role in upgrading their social, moral, and religious life.