Nasiha (Good Advice) For Mosques

From Sh. Muhammad Aslam

Edited by OmarKN

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1. Introduction: The Structure of This Page

Presented here is a selection of items of advice (nasiha ) which were published recently (2016/ 2017) on the internet/ facebook by Shaykh Muhammad Aslam. These items are tentatively grouped here according to topics, with the main thrust being improvement of Islamic education/ training in mosques and madrassahs in this time of strife and fitna, but also in a time of unexpected opportunities.

Allah says:

Sura 72_18

{And the places of worship are only for Allah, so invoke not any one along with Allah.} Sura 72-18

2. Mosques Are Centres of Life and Learning

Prophet Mohammad ﷺ sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam - was reported to have said, "Of all the buildings the most beautiful and attractive in Allah's sight is a mosque.” (not sourced)

Is this meant to highlight the external or internal building only? Does this saying (hadith) not encompass and hint at the spiritual importance of the mosque for the Muslim community?!

In earlier Muslim history "mosques served as much more than just spots to perform religious practices. They were places where the Muslims gathered to discuss their problems and seek solutions to them in the light of the Prophet's guidance and God's regulations. (At mosques people would learn about Islam.) It was also a cultural center for the society where Islamic traditions … were taught, practiced, and spread for the benefit of Muslims as well as other (people) living in the vicinity.”1

3. Some Hadith on the Importance of the Mosque

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "He who frequently goes to the Masjid, Allah will prepare a quarter for him in Heaven each time he came and went." (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad)

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "Seven categories of people will be in the shade of Allah on the day where there will be no shade except His: (One of them) A man his heart attached to the Masjid." (Bukhari, Muslim)

He صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "He who purifies himself at home then walks to one of Allah's Houses to perform one of Allah's commands, each one of his steps would wipe out a sin and the other will increase his rewards." (Muslim)

So this shows clearly that the Masjid (Mosque) is a place where the pleasure of Allah is sought. 2

4. Some Items of Advice From Sh. Muhammad Aslam

4a. What Our Children Really Need

Advice for parents and madrassahs in these times: We do not need every child to be a Hafiz of the Qu'ran, but Wallahi, we need every child to be a Hafiz of the Prophet's love and honour. ﷺ

4b. About the Sciences of Da'wah

One of the sciences which is becoming lost is the sciences of da'wah.4 Students must study this science with a teacher in order to pick up different styles and different ways of dealing with people. It is essential that books are studied for this, but it is also essential that students also study the teacher so when they actually begin to teach, they are able to disseminate knowledge in a relevant fashion

Teachers must always be renewing their styles of teaching and learning new techniques in order to remain relevant.

4c. Improving the Madrassahs in the UK and Elsewhere

Improvements for Madrassahs across UK:

People of knowledge running educational systems, teachers need to be DBS/CRB checked, smaller classes, lessons in English, more variety of subjects, Providing recreation to treat students, Bbqs and fundays, award ceremonies, weekend football or sports, weekly assemblies, teacher training, up to date register systems, student reports 2 times a year, parents evenings, obligations for teachers to study Fard 'ayn knowledge, violence not accepted, discipline with parents such that absence and lates are not tolerated, curriculums which are achievable.

Subjects should include: Tajwid, Aqidah, Fiqh, Sirah and stories of the righteous. Every child deserves this. If the people in charge are not willing to provide this then the community should demand it.

4d. No to Violence!

One of the reasons I am so against violence taking place in institutions of learning and in madrassahs is because I have dealt with many people who have left Islam due to the fact that they were physically beaten as very young children whilst learning this religion and so they linked violence to the Qur'an, imams and mosques. People have cried before our eyes narrating things that happened to them at the tender age of 6 which includes being slapped and beaten whilst learning the alphabet. Another told me that one of his eyes was severely damaged due to violence.

If we were to ask almost every individual growing up in the UK who is over the age of 25 of their experiences, almost all of them would narrate horrific stories which include sticks, metal pipes, chairs and holding ears. If this still goes on then such places of learning need to be reported and these teachers need to be dismissed. If primary schools are so welcoming to young children then we must learn of them and become more compassionate and less frightening. This is the religion of mercy and our Prophet ﷺ never struck children. If people don't know how to teach then they should find another job and not take the stress of life out on our kids.

No one in position should be allowed to take advantage of people especially our children. In this age of people abandoning religion, we must come back to the way of the Prophet or else violent mawlanas and imams should await the day that they stand before the Prophet ﷺ.

4e. For Better Quality Islamic Education!

Wallahi, my heart breaks when I see the girls and boys of our communities not given the opportunity to feel, experience and learn about this religion in a comfortable environment.
Most of that which they have felt is attending Madrassah from 4.30 - 7.30pm in an often scary environment full of seriousness and boredom without ever learning anything but reciting Qur'an without understanding or sensation. The children of this ummah5 deserve much better.3

Do a talk on the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and we find most places empty.
Do a talk on Dajjal, black magic and jinn, and you find it gets packed.
That's fine, but you should know that protection for all tribulation is through proximity to the Prophet ﷺ. He is the shield. He is the cure, the saviour and the shelter of the believers.

Scholars and Imams who do not know English and only speak in their native tongue should speak on topics affecting the community so the elders can listen and take heed. We have issues of atheism, forced marriage, domestic violence, lack of education, relationships, free mixing, drugs, alcohol, women's rights and broken marriages, yet talks are repetitive and tend to persist on things like the mawlid debate for a majority of the year. This will not change the community.

I think the UK needs a Masjid which is run by the young and is headed by the learned of this ummah. A place which caters for both genders, different ethnic backgrounds, all ages and is focused on da'wah.
I believe it is time that our community get something that they need. Please make du'a that it happens.

4f. Facilitating Religion for the People

A couple of years ago, a masjid called me to a meeting because they wanted advice on education and how to increase da'wah in the community, so I agreed and attended the meeting. I began to advise them and everyone sat and listened. I told them that they have huge amounts of money so they need to facilitate for male and female education and they should provide for the youth by buying pool tables, fuseball and invest some money in a really beautiful games room. One of the old men sitting down said, "I'M NOT DOING THAT! THEY CAN GO TO CLUBS AND PUBS AND DO THAT WITH THEIR DADS! WE DON'T WANT THEM!"
Then people wonder why we are so frustrated with so many of these places which are run by the ignorant that don't care about our future. It's for reasons like this that the youth are turning away from the religion. If this attitude doesn't make you upset and doesn't want you to make a change then get ready for a generation who leave this religion.
Increasing education was mentioned in the meeting. One of the main objectives was to discuss knowledge. In terms of da'wah and outreach, we cannot simply expect to attract every one through books. It takes visionary ideas in order to attract different people from society. It would be naive of to me to simply believe that everyone would be attracted to classes of learning. We need to find approaches which work for different people.

The 'ulama of Shaam would have clubs where they would allow children who were known to misbehave to engage in sports and once they had played and exhausted all of their energy, the shuyukh would simply tell them stories which will encourage beautiful character and attachment to religion and this would be a means for many of them to be guided and to actually become students of knowledge.
Every Masjid is an extension to the Masjid which was built by the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him and every person involved needs to realise that they carry a sacred trust which is to facilitate religion to the masses in a way that is accessible and full of mercy and wisdom. The way we want guidance for ourselves should be the exact way that we want guidance for the whole of humanity. Shunning away people is not the way of the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him.

5. A Young Girl Who Was Taught Shallow Concepts

Not too long ago, I met a young girl who decided to leave Islam and become Christian. I asked her the reason as to why she made this decision and she said that she didn't find mercy in Islam, but she found it present elsewhere.

She grew up in a Muslim household. She lived in an area where Muslims predominantly lived, yet she left. Why? because whether we like it or not, we are really neglecting our girls. In most communities, they are just about taught to read the Qur'an. They are not encouraged towards religion and are only taught shallow concepts. Do we think we can ignore the needs of our sisters and doubts will not enter them in these time that we are living in? We need to work together in order to bring positive change into our communities. It's time to invest in humans, in knowledge, in mercy, in education. It's time that we see revival.

May Allah reward all those who are making efforts to teach our sisters with Prophetic Principles in accordance to the way of our teachers.

6. General advice

The question for this ummah is: What will it take for us to want to make a change? Do we need Rabi' al-Awwal? Do we need Ramadan? Do we need to watch the destruction of the world? Do we need miracles? Do we need conspiracies?
Imam Malik said that the latter part of this ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified the beginning of this ummah. That was love of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, praying five times a day, giving charity, reciting Qur'an and fulfilling everything which is Fard upon. There is no advice which can be more practical than this.

The greatest thing that you can do for the oppressed people across the earth is to make a firm intention to come back to Allah. You must begin to pray, pay your zakat, recite the Book of Allah, send salutations upon the Prophet ﷺ. You must repent, you must cry, you must supplicate. You have to wake up at night when humanity sleeps and call upon Allah, for du'as at that time are not rejected. You must fulfill your obligations and create a relationship with Allah. You must honour His Messenger and return back to venerating him because the moment we lost that, we were divided and defeated across the planet. We increased in number but decreased in substance and meaning.
If we don't fulfill our obligations we can shout, scream, tweet, post and protest all we like - nothing will change. Only Allah is able to assist us.

Your greatest spiritual protection is the Qur'an and prayer. Many people have issues with Black magic in our times and lose hope. Your greatest defence and your most powerful of fortresses is praying five times a day, reciting the Qur'an and remaining steadfast with the sunnah adhkar and du'as. If you abandon everything prescribed by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, you are leaving yourself open for illnesses, tribulation and the devils. We run from spiritual healer to spiritual healer and spend fortunes for cure, yet our greatest strength and protection is with the Qur'an. Return to Allah. Return to du'a. Return to the way of the Messenger. ﷺ

That we do not succumb to what the west desires from us. We stick up for our principles and we remain proud of our tradition. We are living in times that are becoming extremely strange. The changing of the religion is taking place before our eyes, yet we remain oblivious or shy to stand up and be proud of what our Prophet ﷺ blessed us with.

People have begun to attribute to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ that which has never been done before under the guise of "mercy". Who are we teach mercy to the Most Merciful who created the Prophet of Mercy? ﷺ

I would like to clarify something very important for all the fake charlatans out there. Many people claim that they heal people so therefore they are awliyah. Do you know that the Dajjal shall heal people and he will bring the dead back to life? is he now a wali? Do you know that the false prophet, Musaylimah the liar had some amazing tricks? does he now become a Prophet? Our religion is not based on miracles or spiritual healing.

7. The Biggest Innovation (bid`a)

The biggest innovation that ever struck this ummah was the attempt to try and remove the love and devotion that the believers had in their hearts for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ صلى الله عليه و سلم .

Perhaps one of the biggest innovations of recent times is having a dry, impersonal relationship with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam.

From the very beginning, we have been a people of affection and adoration and outpourings of love for the Beloved ﷺ salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam.

الصلاة والسلام عليك يا حبيبي يا رسول الله

With permission from the author.


2017-01-15 vs.3.1; from 2017-01-08
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  1. http://muslim-academy.com/the-importance-of-mosques-in-islam/

  2. http://www.dailyhadith.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=794.0

  3. Comment by Mos.Azz. "The problem is not the programs. It’s never the programs. It’s the personnel. Improve the personnel, and the programs naturally improve. On top of that, the same programs delivered by better people are a completely different experience.”

  4. Daʿwa - Arabic دعوة, 'call to Islam' or 'call to God'
    See Sura 23:73, 16:125, Sura 57:8, Wikipedia

  5. Ummah: the Muslim community, national or global

  6. The Fiqh distinguishes two sorts of duties:

    a.) Individual duty or farḍ al-'ayn (الفرض العين) relates to tasks every Muslim is required to perform, such as daily prayer (salat), or the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime (hajj).

    b.) Sufficiency duty or farḍ al-kifāya (الفرض الكفاية) is a duty which is imposed on the whole community of believers (ummah), (which is fulfilled as long as at least a sufficient number of Muslims does it.) The classic example for it is janaza: the individual is not required to perform it as long as a sufficient number of community members fulfill it. Wikipedia

  7. More on How Mosques Can Do Better

    1. Assalamu Alaikum Shaykh. I pray you are well. I know you have previously spoken about the importance of women being allocated a place within the masjids and opening the masjid for the youth whereby they can get involved in extra curricular activities so that they have a place where they can spend their days enjoyably in a halal and religious setting. Maybe you could run a short course so that the leaders within mosques nationally can follow certain processes/guidelines to help put this into practice and for them to consider how it is feasible? - AK fb

    1b. Answer from Muhammad Aslam

    I would love to teach leaders of mosques how to be leaders but I don't think that they would accept a person like me telling them what to do.
    Instead I have a project lined up that I will announce soon insha'Allah.

    2. Domestic abuse - both male & female abusers.
    To also address a serious trending issue of people misusing immigration laws … when marriages don't work, by alleging false DV accusations. It is esp common of females to make such claims against their husband as a way to ensure they are not asked to return to country if origin. Between 2007-13 - there have been over 700 such incidents recorded alone in uk (majority cases muslim backgrounds- south asian!) Many get away with it damaging all lives involved. Damaging lives of innocent people and their families.

    Sexual abuse within muslims community, how to deal with reporting this huge taboo (esp if the crime is committed by a 'family member'). The affects are damaging for any human being. But then being suppressed from reporting it is further destroying lives forever. And its not going away. The damage manifests in so many ways, from lifelong mental health issues, leaving faith, self destructive life style choices due to no support or justice, and the need to build wider community support network (inc leaders) as so many are outcast by own family should they dare to report. This is far more prevalent than the muslim community will ever admit.

    Living healthy wholesome (physical activity and nutrition). Choosing a balanced lifestyle is not an option for a muslim. Its fardh- we totally need all muslims to understand this from very young age. It affects everything, from health conditions, academic achievement, motivation, spiritual connection to lifespan itself. In UK public health epidemiological studies show vast majority of nationalities (which happen to be predominantly muslim) have 10-25yrs shorter life expectancy. - SA fb