Are you fed up with your Mosque? Are you tired of the constant in- fighting? Are the women being sidelined? Is there even a place for women in your Mosque? Do you understand the Friday Khutbahs? Does your Imam cater for the needs of the community? Do you wish that your Mosque did more? Is your Mosque the centre point of your life?
The Revival has come up with some ideas of how to improve our mosques and passionately argues what every mosque should do.
1. Dawah/ Non Muslims
A regular course on dealing with and answering misconceptions against Islam.
Regular open days to be held where non-Muslims are invited to the mosque for a meal and are given the chance to ask questions and learn about Islam and the Muslim community.
Inviting schools as part of their Religious Education classes; giving them an opportunity for a field trip to the mosque.
Produce literature which can be distributed to non-Muslims about Islam.
Facilities provided for new Muslims regarding all aspects of Islamic life.
2. Education system
Every mosque should have an established curriculum where our children are taught the fundamental aspects of Islam.
Report cards for the kids that study and a meeting with the parents of the students at least once a year. There should be an annual Award Ceremony where students are rewarded for their achievements.
Study circle or classes for adults teaching Arabic, Quran, Hadith, Fiqh...etc.
Weekly sessions in an informal environment where people can come in and ask the Imam about things they are unsure of.
Aalim/Aalima course - to produce the scholars of tomorrow.
GCSE and AS/A Level, BA Honours Islamic Studies.
Islamic history should be taught so we can inform the MuslimYouth about the great achievements of our Heroes
HAVE A POOL TABLE, table tennis or anything to attract kids to the mosque to make it central to their lives. This should be available in the basement of the mosque or any room which is not used for prayers.
Sports group: a boys' Football team representing the mosque and a girls' Rounders or Football team.
The mosque should provide gym facilities with set timings for brothers as well as sisters.
Mosque outings and trips (segregated)... a day out to Alton towers, Lake District, Go-Karting, another mosque, camping etc..
Fun Days for the mosque-a chance for the mosque to raise money and for people to enjoy themselves, this can include organising a Sports Tournament, Bring-a-Dish meal, nasheed concert, Muslim comedy etc.
Free Internet access! This will allow youngsters to come to the mosque to do their homework, research, visit Islamic websites or come to chill and play decent computer games under supervision..
More facilities for women need to be provided in the mosques and more women need to be encouraged to go to the mosques. EVERY mosque should have a women's prayer hall.
Women must have equal decision-making roles and an equal platform to serve the mosque and the wider community.
Women in the mosque committee
Every facility in the mosque should be available for sisters as well.
5. Mosque committee
All Mosque leaders must have a manifesto and run for committee elections on that basis. Elections should take place every year. The committee is accountable to the public.
Committee members must be educated, practising Muslims who understand the issues that face the Muslims today. More professionals are required.
Youth and women should be in the committee.
Take responsibility to ensure that Mosque doors are open throughout the day instead of just at prayer times
The mosque committee have to ensure that no Imam or teachers hits or beats any students at the mosque.
The Imams and teachers must be the best men from the community. They should be role models. Religious scholars with excellent knowledge not only of Islam but also of British society and the English language.
Half of the Jummah Khutba should be in English.
The Imam is the head of the Muslim community. He should be involved in every major activity, event, class, course that is run by the mosque. He should be there to deal with the issues that concern the Muslims today.
He should be on a good wage so he can be dedicated and committed to the job.
He is accountable to the public.
7. Deal with social issues
Every mosque should have a counsellor to discuss personal problems.
Every mosque should have a Marriage Bureau and a place where people can talk and discuss marriage with the Imam, mufti and other qualified people.
Regular seminars on drugs, anti-social behaviour, marriage, parenting, alcohol abuse, job hunting, First Aid, etc. Invite the police to do presentations and speak to the youngsters.
8. Deal with current affairs
Media training in the mosque to help the Muslims how to deal with the media.
Every mosque should have a ‘Media Monitor’ – someone who keeps an eye on broadsheet newspapers and writes in complaints if anything is biased against Muslims.
Short courses on tackling racism, Islamophobia, current situation in the Muslim world, British laws which directly affect Muslims etc.
Training on political lobbying- how Muslims should react against international issues...
9. Modern facilities
Our Mosques need well-resourced Libraries providing information in all formats i.e. books as well as audio cassettes, videos, CDs, DVDs, etc. It is vital for the youth that these resources are mostly available in English .
IT centre - computers... Internet access.
Radio transmitters set up so talks, sermons and courses can be heard from home.
An Administration office is required for the mosque to run properly. Most mosques don't even have a phone, fax, computer or a printer.
Each mosque should have its own website to keep the community informed about local events, prayer timetables, facilities and so on.
10. A department in charge of organising regular events
A lot of the points mentioned above can be run by this department which should consist of mainly young brothers and sisters.
Does your mosque do any of the above? If not, why not?
Most of the above would be achievable if the Muslim community was awake and in touch with reality. A mosque is not just for prayers, speeches and teaching kids how to read the Quran. A mosque is the head of the community and should cater for each and every need of the Muslim community.
So people, if you want to see changes in your mosque, go to them regularly and get involved. Speak to the elders, committee members and the Imams. The responsibility now lies with the Muslim youth to take the mosques forward. The elders have done what they can...the Muslim youth are the future so it is up to us to work with the elders and make our mosques a place where everyone can turn to and be proud of.
The mosque at the time of the prophet (pbuh) was used for the following purposes:
- Centre of learning
- Political Platform
- Charity distribution centre
- Shelter for the homeless
- Nursing home
- A place of entertainment and special occasions.
The NEED today, my brother and sisters, is for Islam to be the centre point of our lives as it was for the Companions at the time of the Holy Prophet (SAW). If the mosque was made the centre point of people’s lives, by the virtuous fact that it’s a mosque, this will make people think about Islam, practise Islam and carry out the much needed work for Islam.
By Sajid Iqbal
Editor, The Revival Magazine