I often wonder why people struggle to occupy the vacant the post of an Imam in Mosques when such opportunities are available, especially Mosques where Friday prayers are being observed. Why the great struggle, fight, animosity and at times, violence in the bid to become an Imam? Does it have any attached or special benefits which are not known to me other than the call to serve Allaah? I’m a little bit confused over these attitudes of do or die mentality just because of Imamship.
Perhaps, being Imam of organizations like Nasfat, Ansar Ud Deen, Nawair Ud Deen and others of their status may have an attached remuneration and benefits, which might not be known to me anyway, but my experience as Imam of a community (town) central mosque is somehow traumatic and tension soaked.
I was given the assignments of Imamship in a community about five years ago. I indeed enjoy the assignment in the area of training, lecturing and educating the congregation. In fact, if you desire moving away from the acrimonious and name calling dawah of the urban area, you need the kind of environment I found myself today. These people are ready to learn and practise real Islaam. The environment have not been polluted ideologically. The loyalty is perfect and obedience is total. Alhamdullaah for Allaah’s favour on this.
Rural dawah is the best as dangers inherent in unnecessary rivalry which put you at a dagger cross with your fellow Muslim brothers were nowhere to be found. The hearts of these people, you are leading are so pure and ready to accept real Islaamic messages, unlike people that have been to many programmes under different Sheikhs and scholars, messages are usually taken on the premises of criticism and fault findings. They ask endless questions, and you hardly see real Islaam in their life.
But using myself as an example, the real trial and challenge that confronted me is the poverty being experienced by our people and non availability of any fund for the office of the Imam to take of people’s need.
Everyday, one or two beggars will come knocking, the sick ones, the wayfarers that had lost their transport fares😆😀and others. There are many stories, some so glaringly not to be believed. The scammers all in their bids to use other peoples fund for their own sustainability. To differentiate between fake and genuine, all has to be done by Imam. Yet no fund to carry out this task.
The Covid 19 pandemic really exposed the vulnerability of the office of Imam to ridicule, lost of faith and direction less of the Ummah. In fact, you will stop abusing some Imam if you occupied this office called Imam Ilu.(town). The babas are their just with the name Chief Imam or Grand Imam without a voted fund to do the simplest act of spirituality and welfarism.
Hunger were visible on peoples face as they wear garments of poverty and penury. The pauperization of the soul and body is so visible for the blind to see.. They throng my residence for assistance from an Imam, whose means of own survival is tied to ‘german-german’
The widows, orphans and aged,..the jobless and other category.. Offering them prayers are not enough at the sight of ‘walking corpses’ This is a financial powerless Imam on whose apron the spiritual and welfare of people were tied to. What a cross road !
May Allaah bless Alhaja Muinat Olawunmi who was informed of one the occasions, she immediately ordered for bags of rice, beans and vegetable oil which were used as palliative measure for people. These are people that truthful in their needs.
It got to a stage I have to call people for financial assistance which is not for my own personal use. I appreciate Idris Dotun Olaleye, Idris Adelakun and others that didn’t abandon us to our fate of choosing dawah as a way of life. More importantly, my sister Zainab Ogunsola-Adewusi for her consistency in spending for Allaah despite the fact she is not rich.
These downtrodden Muslims approach you for ‘hantu’ ‘aajo’, fortune telling and jalabi activities. Some got to a point of frustration, as they mock me as ‘tablig imam’ with no ‘Asiri’. I remembered a woman that approached me for charm that will attract customers to her shop which I declined as not being the best way of advertising. Unknowingly to me, a neighbour I gave black seed, honey and olive oil to usevduring his own ailment, which got healed had earlier discussed with the woman and advised her to approach Imam.
So, when I told her the use of charms were not Islamic, she retorted, ‘Eyi ti e fun, baba langbaja nko? Igbato kan wa loogun o dara’ ( What of the charms you gave to Mr so-so? It is now my turn, you are saying charms are not good)
Muslims need to get their understanding straightened, they should see Imams as someone to satisfy their spiritual yearning. They should not see them as beggars that have to eulogise them before they do the right time. If you compare Pastors to Imams in terms of welfarism, respect, support and others, you will realised our Baba Imams are heroes for enduring such hard conditions, yet remain resolute with Allaah.
@Tajudeen Adeotan Abu Mardiyyah.