Mosque very important place of worship of Muslim Community Occupies the Central place in the scheme of religion of Islam, where not only they assemble to pay five times prayer (Namaz) in a day but is a very important seat where all the matters pertaining to Spiritual, Jurisprudential (Fique), Cultural, Social, Political, Economic and Moral issues are discussed and decided under the guidance and leadership of the Imam of the mosque in consultation with the various experts of the respective fields.
The network and chain of mosques spread over every Urban and Rural area
of the country provide cohesiveness and integrates the Muslim Community
from the time of the Prophet of Islam (P.B.U.H.). Thus Imamat (office of
Imam) plays a very vital role in the affairs of the community. The Hon'ble
Supreme Court of India in its historic verdict in All India Imam Organisat:ion
vs Union of India and others AIR1993 Supreme Court 2086 speaking through
Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. Ramaswamy and Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. M. Sahai at
page 2087 para (2) on the nature and functions of institution of Imam has
very rightly observed as under;
"Imams perform the duty of offering prayer (Namaz) for congregation in mosque. Essentially the mosque is a centre of community worship where Muslims perform ritual prayers and where historically they have also gathered for political, social and cultural functions 2. The functions of the mosque is summarised by the 13th century jurist Ibn Taymiyah as a place of gathering where prayer was celebrated and where public affairs were conducted. All mosques are where Muslim men on an equalitarian basis rich or poor, noble or humble stand in rows to perform their prayers behind the Imam 4. (4) Imams are expected to look after the cleanliness of mosque, call Azans from the balcony of the minarets to the whole religious meetings and propagate the Islamic faith. They are expected to be well versed in the Shariat, the Holy Quran, the Hadiths, Ethics, Philosophy, Social, Economic and Religious aspects. Imam or prayer leader is the most important appointee. While any prominent or learned Muslims can have the honour of leading prayer, each mosque specifically appoints a man well versed in theological matters to act as its Imam. He is incharge of the religious activities of the mosque and it is his duty to conduct prayers five times a day in front of Mihrab 5. Unfortunately the status and the facilities which should
1 to 5 The Encyclopedia of Religion Vol. 10. P 121-122
commensurate to their nature of duties is lacking in case of Imams, one of the most important factor which makes the Imam to performs his duties honestly and fearlessly can be achieved by liberating them from the clutches of wants and poverty and restoring them to their rightful and fitting status. It is a matter of concern that financial dependence of Imam on local population undermines the dignity and authority of Imam and it is not considered a sin to criticise, taunt and look scornfully at person whose personality is considered to be a superior one. No doubt it is the heartfelt dream of every person to strive and achieve better things in life, it is the desire of everybody that his children should get excellent educational opportunities, comforts of modern life and be able to compete in every walk of life.
Due to above referred constraints the highly respectable institution of Imamat failed to attract the best brains of the community. It is the irony of the situation that these Naib-e-Rasol perform the hon'ble and most responsible jobs.
In the light of above facts and circumstances we can not expect best performance and required level of integrity from these Imams, whose means of income and livelihood wholly and squarely is dependent on the people of Mohallas and Cities. These Imams remain away from their families on a meager salary which ranges from Rs. 100 to 500 per month. It is impossible for them to be able to train and educate their children properly whether it is religious or modern education.Today it is not the religious scholars or Imams of a particular locality who is facing this dilemma but these devotees are passing their days helplessly all over India. Again we expect them to differentiate between wrong and right on the basis of their knowledge of Shariat, matters relating to national, social, financial, internal and external policies, harmony, etiquette's and the manners to live in society, logic, philosophy and to be the symbol of knowledge, honesty, fairness, justice and reasonableness. I felt concerned about the above stated conditions and realities of the Imams, developed a great sense and commitment to restore the glory, dignity, honour and status commensurate with the institution of Imam. I started my efforts some twenty years back which bore fruits in the form of the birth of All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques and 1993 judgement of the Supreme Court of India declaring payment of remuneration to Imams as fundamental right and, struggle is still on for the implementation of the said judgement.
It was my cherished desire to render some humble service to my community
and be instrurtiental in getting her problems solved. I had keen consideration
to various positive and negative aspects of this problem. This feeling
continued to gain more and more strength with the passage of time. I was
so keep to evolve some strategy to translate these ideas into practice.
After considering various aspects of the problem, I came to this conclusion
that Imams of all the mosques, spread over throughout the country can play
an effective role because they are approachable by one and all and that
in every corner of the country. It was in this background that A.I.O.I.M
was established. By the grace of Allah, now this organisation has its branches
in all the states of India with regular membership of several thousands.
This figure is swelling day by day and best efforts are being made to bring
maximum number of Imams within the purview of this organisation so that
they may discharge their duties towards their religion, country, nation
and society with utmost devotion and sincerity.
Humble Servant of the people,
MOULANA JAMEEL AHMED ILYASI
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