Advices to Trustees of Masjids
It is not permissible to assume the post of mutawalli for the sake of honour and self-esteem. If one takes up this responsibility with this intention, then he would have indulged himself in such a calamity, from which it would be impossible to attain salvation in the hereafter. To assume the responsibility of mutawali it is imperative for one to possess the required qualities and capabilities. If one lacks these, it is advised that he relinquish this sacred duty and entrust it to those more able and deserving.
A mutawalli must comply with the following conditions:
1. 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. (Shaami, Book of Waqf – Page 384 / Vol. 5)
2. He must be a sane Muslim.
3. He must be well acquainted with the regulations pertaining to endowment and trust (waqf).
4. He must have a practical and theoretical knowledge concerning the affairs of managing the endowment (waqf). (Durrul Mukhtaar & Shaami) This means that he should not be so ignorant as to be unable to differentiate between a capable and non-capable candidate for appointment as lmaam or Muazzin. It should not be that he fails to consult learned people and disassociate himself from senior Ulama in related matters. He must also not be so busy that he is unavailable to attend to the affairs of the trust.
5. He must be a trustworthy person, taking care not to misappropriate a single cent.
6. He must not involve himself in such futile engagements wherein people destroy their wealth, like gambling and bribery.
7. 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 jamaat (congregation), acquiring livelihood by unlawfw 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 the endower himself. (Durrul Mukhtaar with Shaami , Vol 5 – Pg. 385)
8. He should not be one who requested for the position as a trustee.
If any close relative of the endower complies with the above conditions he should be appointed as a trustee. However, if all these qualities are not found in any individual then such a person cannot be a mutawalli nor can he be appointed as one, since this will constitute an act of sin.
THE MUTAWALLI’S OBLIGATION TOWARDS THE MASJID
1. He should safeguard the income and property of the Masjid, meeting the necessary expenses and avoiding unnecessary expenditure. These days funds are generally squandered on expenses which have no importance in the shariah, but are merely spent because unenlightened trustees deem them to be imperative. These people should fear Allah, for on the day of Qiyaamah they will be accountable for every cent. The mutawallis of the masjid must take the onus upon themselves to consult the Ulama, at the first opportunity, regarding the detailed rulings pertaining to these expenses and the running of the masiid in general.
2. He must keep a proper record of all the income and expenditure of the masjid.
3. According to the best of means, a proper Imaam must be appointed. If however, instead of a competent person, an unfit and inefficient person is appointed to serve the community and deen at large then the warning sounded in the following Hadith should be heeded to : It is narrated that whosoever appoints someone to a post whereas within his sphere of influence there are more deserving persons, he has betrayed Allah, His Nabi (Sallallaahu Ãlayhi Wasallam) and the Muslims in general. (Fathul Qadeer)
4. He must appoint such a Muazzin who is well acquainted with the times of Salaah (and the correct pronunciation of the azaan).
5. He should give due priority to the maintenance of the masjid building as well as it’s other associated facilities. Security should also be given due consideration.
6. Cleanliness, lighting and water facilities must also be adequately arranged.
7. It is of paramount importance for the Mutawalli to ensure the performance of the five daily salaah in congregation and always strive towards increasing the number of musallis (in the masjid). Each mutawalli must look sincerely into these duties and exert his utmost efforts towards achieving these ends.
It is noticed that the mutawallis of the various masaajid usually do not fully discharge their responsibilities, hence becoming sinners. Special care must be exercised in the appointment of an Imaam, because due to any. shortcomings in this regard, thousands more will mushroom which can lead the Muslims to deviation.
If someone is an Imaam it does not entitle his son to the same. Since Imaamat is not a legacy, the most competent and deserving person should be appointed.
(The following are the cardinal requirements for an Imaam)
1. He should be well versed in relevant masaa’il Pertaining to Imaamat and salaah).
2. He must have mastered tajweed rules (to facilitate correct recitation of qiraat in salaah).
3. He should adhere to the faraaidh, waajibaat, sunnah and mustahabaat.
4. He must refrain from haraam and makroohaat.
If the correct choice of an Imaam cannot be made, a reliable Aalim should be asked to interview a potential candidate. To use only a beautiful voice as a yard-stick in choosing an Imaam is pure ignorance. However, if together with the above cardinal requirements, the Imaam also possesses a beautiful voice then this will be an added asset.
Once the right Imaam has been appointed, due respect must be shown to him. He must not be considered as a personal subordinate of the mutawalli. He is the leader and should be followed. This should always be kept in mind. Such a salary should be stipulated for him that will enable him to lead a decent and peaceful life. Stinginess should never be shown with regard to this issue. If there is a need, other expenses should be curtailed but a low and unreasonable salary should never be given to the Imaam or Muazzin. If negligence prevails, it should be borne in mind that man is often forced to fulfil his basic needs by other means. The Muslim jurists (rahimahumullah) have stated that if somebody commits himself to the service of a community, it is waajib upon them that they meet his expenses.
When the Imaam stands up to reform the masses, it is incumbent upon the mutawallis to jointly shoulder the cart and assist him to achieve his religious goal. In the event of the ignorant public raising objections and undue criticism against the Imaam. It is the duty of the mutawallis to stop them. If people disapprove of his propagation of the truth and the musallis decrease, they should first be made to understand. If they persist (in their disapproval) then they should be ignored, because it is better to have a few abiding to the sunnah and shariah rather than a deviated crowd.
If any Imaam does anything contrary to the shariah or introduces innovations, then he should be dismissed. The Imaam ‘must have freedom of expression, he should never be hindered by the mutawallis. Some mutawallis dislike and are offended by the Imaam’s mentioning of any vices or faults in which they are involved, thus they prevent the Imaam from such lectures. Such an attitude leads to severe sins. They will also be considered amongst those subjected to the severe warnings given in the following aayaat: “They prevent others_from the path of Allah.’
‘Who can be more unjust than he who prevents the name of Allah been taken in the house of Allah.’
The mutawalli should never interfere in the Imaam’s ibaadat, lectures and religious services. According to the shariah the mutawalli has no right of intervention. His responsibility is to see to the proper maintenance and functioning of the masjid, as mentioned above.
If the mutawalli adopts and adheres to the above mentioned advices, with a true spirit, then it is highly believed that he will be amongst the good-named mutawallis in the hereafter and be absolved of the great responsibilities which he shouldered. He will be justly rewarded, Inshaa-Allah.
( The above has been extracted from the book – Khutbaat-e-Mouizat)
Prepared under the auspices of: Sheikhul Hadeeth Hadbrat Moulaana Fazlur Rahman Saheb