What Is An Imam Worth? Nothing !
This refers to Wafa Unus’ article about a survey regarding an Imam’s compensation (“What Is An Imam Worth”, January 27, 2012 issue of the Muslim Link) . Before embarking on writing about the Imam position, she should look around and research into some reality. Ever since the advent of the new millennium, and even before, the writing has been on the wall for all to see except this ostrich who has it’s head buried in the sand. The Imam’s position is now irrelevant and redundant. Westoxification (gharbzedgi) has made the Imam a disappearing species.
There are masajid in the Baltimore-Washington metro area where rabidly secular leadership systematically erodes this position to a point where masjid constitutions gets amended to eliminate the position of an Imam and instead create ad-hoc “religious” positions. The unimportant functions of leading the daily and Friday prayers have been delegated to volunteers and guests as if leading a masjid is as trivial as driving a school bus or a operating a pharmacy where substitute drivers and floating pharmacists are used in the absence of regular staff.
Often one particular person has the masjid firmly in his grip, nothing moving without their nod. Only one aim trumps all aims: fundraising. The masjid has been run as a corporation diversifying into real-estate, immigration, catering and other ventures including social services and the interfaith bandwagon. Paid membership has been steadily whittled: fewer the paid members, easier it is to manipulate the “elections”!
The governing body is in the pocket of local and state politicians. The masjid posts on it’s property large signs endorsing particular candidates and offers sumptuous breakfasts to voters on election mornings after which the voters are “bussed” to to the voting venue out of courtesy!
This same chain of events is being replicated mutatis mutandi in other masajids, near and far.
So the sad and harrowing truth is now open. What is an Imam worth? Nothing.
Salim Khatib, Maryland
Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
This is a fantastic article. The masjid that I attend most regularly in Baltimore does not have an Imam. It is essential that we define, as a community, the role that an Imam is to play in the larger context of the American Muslim community. I hope, insha’Allah, that this issue continues to resurface. Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Homosexuality: An Issue Which Can’t Be Ignored
As a Muslim educator of youth and adults for over thirty years I have had occasion to counsel Muslims on the issue of same-sex attraction. (In reference to “Provocative Discussion on Homosexuality and Islam Draws Hundreds” in the January 27, 2012 issue of the Muslim Link)
It is an issue that cannot be ignored, particularly since most of the young Muslims growing up today attend public schools that teach and promote homosexuality. In addition, many Muslims who have reverted to Islam have family members or friends they grew up with who are openly homosexual.
We DO NOT condone homosexuality as Muslims, but we do believe that people can change. I personally know a number of Muslims who practiced homosexuality at one time and stopped, Alhamdulillah.
May Allah forgive us all for our sins and errors, and guide those who are struggling with their sexual orientation to the right guidance from the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
Same Sex Friendships Being Redefined
I’ve noticed that over the years there’s been a change in the culture where now feelings are much more sexualized. In the past, people would have strong feelings for members of their own gender, but they were not sexualized except in very rare cases.
You might have crushy feelings but it was understood as natural admiration, closeness, brotherhood/sisterhood, or the excitement of close friendship. Now, people are being socialized to immediately label those feelings as being sexual. If someone has any emotions for another person of the same gender, they start to wonder “am I gay?” and it leads to questioning, curiosity, exploration, and self-labeling.
Thirty years ago you could see young women walking around the streets holding hands and you would never assume they were gay. It wouldn’t cross your mind. Now, it is the first thing you think. If you read letters from by-gone eras you will see extremely romantic and flowery language used between people of the same gender, and these were non-sexual friendships. It was a convention of that time and very normal to feel and express very strong emotional bonds to members of one’s own sex. Now, however, there is a sexual component ready to disrupt previously non-sexual interactions. This really is unfortunate because it injects an element that interferes with bonds of pure friendship of brotherhood and sisterhood.
Anonymous Online Reader
Will Men Listen?
What you say in this article is true (“Muslim Men Have to Man Up”, January 27, 2012 issue of the Muslim Link). Sometimes I wonder if men are so busy with their work, that they fail to notice that they have barely spent anytime even beginning to understand that children are under in terms of peer pressure, marketing pressure, school demands etc and them still trying to make time to just be able to play a bit. Do our men even know our children’s friends or what the kids do in their free time? Quite a few lose track of how old their own kids are!
This article is quite apt, especially for our Ummah as many in our Ummah stick to their cultural mindset that kids are the women’s responsibility and not the Islamic concept that a man has a moral responsibility to be good (involved, caring) to his family.
But how will you make the men listen? Possibly if the article is armed with additional facts from organizations that have correlated lack of parenting (where men equally participate) in upbringing with how children have resorted to crime or drugs or have been ‘lost in life’ (and I believe facts are out there), it might help men accept this message of the article. Someone should talk about this at Jummah prayers as well.
RS, Washington DC