Mosques have a compelling influence in
the Muslim society. Considering this extraordinary importance of the Mosque
pulpit, the Prophet (sws) set the rule that none other than the heads of the
state and their viceroys may lead the Friday Congregation and deliver sermon on
the occasion. The service cannot legitimately be assumed by an individual on his
own accord. However, when the ruler is not able to fulfil his duty in this
regard, under a valid excuse, individual scholars can take his stead and lead
the congregation and deliver the sermon that too with the express will and
permission by the authorities.
This norm established by the last
Messenger of God indeed indicates that, in the true religion of God, the hub of
the authority is the mosque. There is no Pope in Islam. Nor a Brahman. Muslims
choose their political leadership and expect from their rulers to lead the
worship rites and rituals. This abolishes difference between religion and
The caliphate established and run by the
pious Companions (rta) of the Prophet (sws) followed this sunnah with all its
spirit and in perfect grandeur. The saddest tragedy in the Muslim ummah did not,
however, wait long. Marred by unworthy deeds, the subsequent rulers were no
longer able to face the public in the weekly congregations. They had to
relinquish the pulpit of the mosques to the clergy. A direct consequence of this
failure on the part of the rulers has been that the religion was denuded of its
grandeur and politics its beauty. The party that merited honour and prosperity
has remained subservient for centuries. Contrarily, the party which should have
remained subservient to has got out of line to the extent that any effort to
bend it down to its original position is feared to face myriad problems. Mosques
are now fortresses controlled by the sects. The leaders of such sects occupying
the fortresses safely hurl stones at one another. The facility of the pulpit on
the Friday Congregation yields great power to the clergy. Our society has reaped
a strong faction of the professional clergymen which is literally a black spot
on Muslim scholarship. When directed at the opponents the tongues of the clergy
spawn poisonous snakes which shower lethal secretion. Every caller to the truth
falls victim to them. They spare no one. Research and education is always their
most favourite victims. Mosques are open and accommodating for only the
preaching of heresies and sectarianism. They are mostly closed to the
propagators of the pure message of the religion based on the Qur’ān and the
Sunnah. It has been made impossible for a true and honest scholar of Islam to
make the mosque a centre of his preaching and fulfil his duty to propagate the
religion under the command of God.
This awful misery prevailing in our
mosques is appreciated by all possessed of understanding. Correction and reforms
are possible. But the only way to achieve this is to adopt the Sunnah of the
Prophet (sws) introduced in the beginning of this essay. A positive effort in
that front, in my view, requires the following gradual steps:
1. The headquarters of all the
administrative units in the country are shifted to the central congregational
mosques in the locality. Administrative units are decided and categorized
keeping in consideration the objective that the central congregational mosque in
a locality fulfils all the needs and requirements of the local populace.
2. Offices and courts necessary for an
administrative unit are set up beside the mosque in every centre.
3. In the central and provincial
capitals one particular mosque is declared the central congregational mosque.
4. The head of the state takes the
responsibility to deliver the Friday Sermon and lead the congregation in the
main mosque of the central capital. Similarly, in the provincial capitals, the
governors lead the prayer and deliver the sermon. In the small administrative
units, the representatives of the state and government officials discharge this
5. Friday congregations are banned in
any other mosque.
6. Government should manage and
administer the mosques.
7. Every scholar is given the right to
hold classes and gathering in the mosque with a view to educate and train the
masses and deliver sermon of moral and religious teachings according to his
understanding and views.
Tariq Mahmood Hashmi)