It has become high time that the Imam of the mosque becomes a full time government job which is governed by the regulations of the Ministry of Civil Service. This should also be in coordination and accordance with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance. The job of the mosque Imam should be classified amongst the judges, guides, preachers and the staffers of the Haia or Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
What should we expect to be the role of the mosque in the neighborhood? Can we truly say we are completely satisfied with the current role of the mosque Imam while delivering the sermon on Friday and also leading the congregation in prayer? Can the imam of the mosque be a part time and work for a fixed amount of salary? The entire staff of the mosque including the Khateeb, Imam and the Muazzin has been employed on fixed wages and also do not enjoy any increments or any other holidays, incentives or allowances on retirement.
How can we place such expectations of a part time employee? These Imams are usually engrossed in doing several jobs in order to earn a decent amount of income. These jobs can include charity workers, marriage officials, religious teachers etc. in most cases the Imam only visits the mosque during prayer time. This ultimately means that there has not been any significant progress in regard to improving the living conditions of the staff of the mosque. Subsequently however we also demand a huge responsibility from the Mosque in order to play a vital role in the development of the people and intellect of society.
There are numerous qualified people who either retire from the service or will remain unemployed and / or doing courses in Islamic subjects only. The government authorities can appoint them to take up full time jobs such as Muazzins, Imams or Khateebs. It is perhaps then that they can truly play an integral role in actually guiding and leading the society and community in a highly effective way. Even more, an effective mechanism should be in place in order to monitor the functioning and also motivate them to progress and achieve better results.
There is no doubt that the position and profession held by the Imam of the Mosque is truly a dignified and noble one. The Imam is also supposed to honor that position and responsibility in a completely serious manner. In order to ensure this, an Imam should be a full time employee. This will in turn strengthen the bonds between the mosque and the people of the community. The Imam of the mosque is also supposed to look after the affairs of all the worshippers within the neighborhood of the mosque and should also work hard to resolve the issues faced by the society. The Imam should be an authority in clearing out any doubts on any religious matters and to find solutions in order to upgrade the community’s religious, moral and social life.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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