‘Certainly a mosque founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it: in it are men who love that they should be purified.’
’(Quran chapter 9: verse 108.)
A masjid (mosque) means a ‘place of prostration’. In practice it now means a house dedicated for divine service. First and foremost, the mosque is a place of prayer. As Islam considers every action in the world as Ibadat, or worship, if done with the object of pleasing Allah, then everything good and lawful can be done within the mosque. For this reason, there is no need to have a separate house for each area of Islamic work, and it is possible to have a mosque that is multi functional in all matters. However, to achieve this you need clear vision, good management and leadership, and supporting organisational structures.
Once you have decided the aim or purpose of your mosque, why it exists and what it intends to provide, you will need an organisational structure and framework. This will help you achieve your goal and objectives, and also help you control, monitor and review your progress and achievements
The new Charity Act 2006 passed by Parliament in November 2006 defines a charity as a ‘body or trust’ that provides benefit to the public. Most of the Act will come into force by early 2008. Organisations wanting to register as a charity will have to show how their purposes benefit the public. A charity’s purposes are its objects or aims, and these are usually set out in its governing document. The Act has widened the scope of ‘charitable purpose’ from the traditional four meanings to thirteen to keep up to date with modern society. You can find out more about the changes in the new Act by visiting the Charity Commission website given at the end of this section.
Governance is the systems and processes that ensure the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an organisation. In the case of mosques, it is about how authority and responsibility is shared between senior staff and the management committee, board or trustees.
The management committee is the group of people who are responsible for leading and managing the activities of the organisation. They can also be known as a ‘board of trustees’ or ‘executive committee’. In the rest of this handbook we have used the term ‘management committee’ for the sake of consistency.
Young people are the future! They bring new energy, enthusiasm and freshness to an organisation. However, they need to be guided and nurtured by those who are older and more experienced. Committees need to make a special effort to involve young people and women in decision making and to give them responsibility. This is the sunnah (practice) of the Prophet (pbuh). He did not exclude young people or women from giving their opinions and ideas and from helping with carrying out tasks. The life of the Prophet (pbuh) is full of examples of where young people such as Hazrat Ali, Ibn Abbas, Zaid, Usamah, Ayiesha (RA) were all involved in the decision making process and regularly consulted. It is also well established that women attended for prayers and other gatherings in the Mosque during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and his successors.
Having regular management committee meetings is an important function of the management committee. Meetings will help you to discuss, decide and plan for the needs of your mosque and its users.