The responsibilities for someone involved in managing the affairs of a Masjid (Mutawallis).

Question:

Assalamu Alaikum.

The current Management committee of our Masjid has been in place for many years. The members don’t attend daily Salaah in the Masjid (and live very close) nor attend any class or lecture.  They only attend Jummah, Ramadan and Management meetings.  The questions:

What are the Islamic criteria for someone to be involved in managing the affairs of a Masjid (in light of Surah Tawbah: ayah 18)?

Should the Jamaat be consulted (Shura) in appointing Management personnel for the Masjid (in light of the command in Qur’an to have Shura)?

Shukran Jazeelan

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 “The Masaajid of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give Zakaah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the (rightly) guided.”(9:18)

“When you see a man serving the Masjid, then bear testimony that he is a person of Imaan.” (Mishkaat)

The verse of the Qur’an you have referred to and the noble words of Nabi quoted are sufficient to highlight the loftiness of the position of the Mutawallis (Management committee) of the Masjid.

We should bear in mind that every privilege is coupled with responsibility. The greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility. To be entrusted with the affairs of any institute is a trust. The levels of this trust rise when it is a Deen-based organization and more so when you are at the helm of the affairs of the House of Allah.

Elevation to the post of Mutawalli is not about prestige, honour or profile, rather it is a trust.

Ma’qil bin Yasaar radhiyallahu anhu narrates that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “Allah forbids Paradise to the person who after having been appointed to a post of authority over the Muslims, dies after having breached the trust.” (Bukhari)

One who has accepted the responsibility of serving the House of Allah should constantly remind oneself that ultimately they will have to account before Almighty Allah. This opportunity could be a means of one’s salvation or a means of one’s destruction. May Allah Ta’aala guide us all, Aameen.

Thus, it is imperative for Mutawallis to be fully committed to Islam and to continually work on their own spirituality to be able to maximize on the rewards of serving the House of Allah. Mutawallis will only be able to fulfill their role adequately if they themselves are practicing Muslims and true flag bearers of the Deen.

Required Qualities and Capabilities of a Mutawalli

-. He must have the right of trusteeship. This right, in sequence of priority, goes first to the person who made the endowment – Waqf. Second is the person appointed by the endower himself. Next is the Muslim ruler or the appointed Muslim governor of the district. Thereafter, this right rests with the Muslim Judge (Qaadhi), then finally with the person whom the inhabitants of the locality choose. (Fatawa Shaami, Vol. 5, Book of Waqf, Page 384)

-. He must have practical and theoretical Islamic knowledge concerning the affairs of managing the endowment – Waqf, so that all matters concerning the Masjid will be viewed and decided under the light of Sharia’s guidelines.  Otherwise, he must not fail to consult learned people and seek the advice from senior ‘Ulama in related matters.

-. He must be an “Allah-fearing” and pious person – not a Faasiq i.e. an open sinner who indulges in major sins such as drinking, adultery, dealing in interest, shaving the beard, neglecting Salaah, discarding the Fardh Salaah with Jamaa’ah (congregation), acquiring livelihood by unlawful means, etc. Thus, if any trustee is found to be involved in such actions it will be incumbent (Waajib) to dismiss him from office, even though he may be the endower himself. (Durrul Mukhtaar with Shaami , Vol. 5, Page 385)

It is imperative that few Ulamaa (Qualified Islamic scholars) be part of any Masjid’s management committee, as Allah has blessed them with a correct understanding of Deen, and they can advise and ensure the affairs of the Masjid are fulfilled in accordance with the stipulations of Shari’ah.   

Avoiding Disputes, Friction and Conflict

It is well known that Sahabah were very disheartened when the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah was signed as it apparently favored of the Makkans a great deal. However, the Qur’an refers to this treaty as a manifest victory. The ‘Ulama explain that the treaty brought hostility to an end which allowed, for the first time, for non-Muslims to intermingle with Muslims and witness the beauty of Islam. This led to multitudes of people accepting Islam.

The lesson learnt from this is that when there is tension and hostility, progress will be stifled. Disputes between Mutawallis and Imams and between Mutawallis and Musallees create a hostile environment and becomes a major obstacle in realizing the objectives of a Masjid.

Salaah in congregation is meant to enhance unity. Such disputes contradict this and the very place that is designed to be a catalyst of unity becomes a trigger for disunity where Musallees are polarized and fragment into factions as a result.

Conclusion

The noble work of serving the House of Allah should be carried out with utmost Taqwaa, sincerity and dedication. It is not necessary the Jamaat members be consulted in appointing Management personnel, however the Mutawallis must be reminded of the loftiness of their position and their responsibilities to which they are entrusted, which can only be fulfilled by frequenting the Masjid.

May Allah Ta’aala accept us all for the service of His Deen, Aameen[1].

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net


[1] Excerpt from Responsibilities of a Mutawalli by Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat