Mosques, Imams & The Youth

The Revival has been asking Muslims across the UK about their views on Mosques and Imams…

Name: Muhammad Ayas
Age: 19
Location: Kettering

I think there’s a lot of guidance out there for us, but it’s a matter of someone leading by example.

Yeah, sure you have the Alims who have studied for all these years and are an example to the rest of us, but come on, how much do they really relate to us and the issues and problems we face in a western society?

We need role models who have achieved their best in this world without neglecting their Deen and who have been through the ups and downs of life - who can relate to us. Most of the Imams are from back home so they lead the Salaah and that’s about it

Due to their linguistic capabilities being so restricted they really can't relate to the youth.

To get Muslim youth off the streets they should be tracked down one by one and sent on a one-way flight to some Darul-uloom in Pakistan!

Seriously though, that’s not the solution! Perhaps youth activities or places to hang out where we can just chill, in an Islamic way without the constant lecturing would really help.

Islam is a beautiful religion yet we always seem to practice it in a strict unattractive way, if you get what I mean.

Mosques don’t really cater for us. We have the odd lecture telling us if we do not obey we have direct entry into hell! Islam is a religion of brotherhood so why not hold recreational activities through the mosque etc, where they can get us off the streets, guide us in practicing our faith and unite us all as a brotherhood. Mosques don’t provide anything for Muslim sisters.

Well it hardly does anything for the brothers… and the sisters are told to pray at home as most of the mosques don’t have a separate bit for the sisters.

Name: Nabillah Patel
Age: 20
Location: Birmingham

More mosques are starting to cater for the needs of the youth, but trying to make all youth into Alims and Alimas, I believe, is not the solution. The Imams job is to represent, guide and lead Muslims and to be a role model to the community.

However, there is some sort of taboo associated with going to an Alim or Mullah for advice, especially amongst the youth.

I don’t think there is enough guidance out there for Muslim youth. It’s a case of getting the youth more involved, making them believe that they have a place within Islam, which goes beyond beards and veils.

Name: Tezmin Joosab
Age: 18
Location: Sheffield

The mosques do offer Islamic knowledge and guidance through the ‘mullahs’ and learned people there. However, if a Muslim youth had to approach a Maulana with a serious matter, they may hesitate to do this for fear of getting told off rather than supported, or for fear of others finding out!

The Imams role is to lead the prayers, and also to support and offer Islamic knowledge and guidance to his fellow Muslims. But, they are like… unapproachable. Imams need to make themselves more approachable to the youth.

Faraz Khan
Age: 18
Location: London

The mosque is somewhere my mum sends me to when I’m getting up to no good to go and pray. Yeah that’s good and everything but to be honest with you it becomes so routine. And coz there’s no one to help you or for you to talk to on a level where they’re not preaching to you or judging you, going to the mosque becomes an act without any feeling coz it’s like Fardh for you to go coz Allah said so. But I know in Islam it has to be so much more than that.

It should be a place of resort for me to go and seek help and advice when I’m in trouble… and by finding that help in the house of Allah it would also naturally help me get closer to him. The Imam just seems to lead the Salaat… and erm yeah.

A lot of Muslim youth from various different backgrounds are dispersed and make up gangs or crews within themselves in their community. They need an identity and a sense of belonging.

With a lot of the youth there is this identity crisis and so something to unite all the Muslims together from all the different backgrounds and communities like one big crew would really help a lot of the youth from hanging about the streets and keep them outta trouble.

Name: Halima Adam
Age: 23
Location: Leicester

The mosque is naturally a place where any Muslim can seek refuge in Allah (swt) and perhaps get some peace from the outside world. Maybe if there were more youth clubs or you know places where young Muslim’s could chill - just to get away from things - it would mean there would be less young Muslims hanging around street corners… or in bars.

Mosques should also hold study circles for the general public, where you don’t necessarily have to learn the hardcore stuff about Islam, but can talk about issues affecting a normal Muslim living in this society.

Name: Zakkiyah Suleman
Age: 21
Location: Derby

There ain't enough guidance out there at all for Muslim youth. I mean, I don’t even know where to go to get Islamic advice, or just to speak to a normal person who can relate to me and help me without bangin’ on at me that if I mess up I’ll end up in hell. We’re human. We all make mistakes. Islam must acknowledge that. And there must be a way of bettering yourself. I mean God knows you more than anyone right? So He knows when you want to better yourself. There just needs to be the right stuff out there, to help us better ourselves.

The Imams role? Mmm... what comes to mind is have a big beard, a big turban and stand at the front and lead the prayer. That’s it. Don’t really find them approachable. Not even to speak to them on the phone for advice over a problem or summat.

Name: Hena Ahsan
Age: 20
Location: Manchester

Maybe there needs to be more support for us and a stronger link needs to be made between the youth, the Imam and the mosque. Youth need guidance and someone to go to when they are in difficulty. Someone they can trust and liaise with. The youth have got to be brought back to Islam through its beauty; they have to be attracted to it.

The Imam's job is to know our religion and uphold Islam. Not just stay within the mosque. It’s not only about leading the prayer and scaring everyone that if they make a mistake and sin then they are doomed to be in hell forever. An Imams role is about mixing within the community, and most definitely there needs to be some playing field between the Imam and youth.

There has to be this level of understanding between the two… almost like a relationship.

Name: Azra Pathan
Age: 17
Location: Bradford

I don’t think the mosque caters for the needs of Muslim youth… well maybe there is stuff for the boys. Like they can go to the mosque and speak to the Imam for help or summat, but for girls, these men with the long beards are just unapproachable.

The boys have football tournaments and stuff like that! But for sisters, nothing happens. No youth clubs - nowt. Just stay at home and help Mum make bleedin’ chapattis! Stuff for girls, like study circles or youth clubs, would be really cool.

The mosque might cater for the boys but not for the girls. We’re just expected to stay at home and cook!

Name: Shamma Joosab
Age: 20
Location: Derby

Personally I believe the mosque does cater for the needs of the youth today. There is enough guidance out there for the Muslim youth, it’s just the way they utilise it and make the most of it.

Most of the youth out there are aware of this guidance but just make the choice to ignore it, almost rebel against it. It’s all part of growing up, I guess.

Mustafa Kayad
Age: 22
Location: London

The mosques don’t do enough for the youth. A lot of mosques are now trying to and with younger imams coming in it has started to change.

A level of communication has started, by getting the youth in through sports activities organised by the mosque etc. And this is an effective way of catering for the needs of the youth without the youth realising it, effectively they become better people in all their walks of life. But, still there’s so much more that needs to be done.

Most of the mosques here in the UK don’t even have facilities for the sisters. Some mosques aren’t even constructed to give sisters any space in the mosque so how are they going to provide anything for them? Also the role of an Imam is so much more than leading the Salaah.

They have to attend to the communities needs and to the youth. They are there as a guider, advisor and listener, helping you get closer to Allah (swt) and better yourself in your faith.