Ref no: 0304#
Date: Wednesday , July 06, 2011
In our masjid we are about to hire an Imam
In our masjid we are about to hire an Imam, so we need the basic guide line how to decide or what qualification should an Imam have. If you kindly email me details taht will be agreat help for our community.
Muhtaram / Muhtaramah
In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.
The process of appointing an Imam to lead a community is indeed one of great importance and significance. It is imperative to find a religious leader with certain qualifications and characteristics, as he will be a spiritual leader and role model for the Muslim community.
There are several issues to consider when appointing an Imam. Firstly, it is important to understand the Islamic educational background of the candidate. If possible, the community should hire an ‘Alim who studied the Islamic sciences in depth such as the Quran, Aqeedah, Hadith, Fiqh, and their principles. It is also important to make sure he studied and attained his knowledge under the guidance of proper ‘Ulema. The true meaning of an ‘Alim is stated in the Holy Quran. Allah Ta’ala says:
إنما يخشى الله من عباده العلماء
“Only those of His slaves fear Allah who are knowledgeable.” (35:28)
Hasan Al-Basri (Rahmatullah Alayhi) says about this verse:
“An ‘Alim is a person who fears Allah in private and in public, and does what Allah wants him to do, and hates what is detestable in the sight of Allah.”
Mujahid (Rahmatullah Alayhi), the famous Mufassir of Quran also said about this verse:
“Only he who fears Allah is the real ‘Alim.”
Therefore, the abovementioned verse shows that a true ‘Alim should have qualities such as humility and taqwa. He should be one who adheres to the sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). Also if possible, it would be preferred to appoint an Imam who follows the madhab of the majority of the community, as the worshippers will refer to him with their questions pertaining to fiqhi issues.
It is also important to know that there are people who claim to be ‘Alim but they openly violate the laws of Shari’ah, for example, they shave or trim their beard less than a fist, or they openly intermingle with the opposite gender. The community should abstain from appointing such people as Imam.
Secondly, it is also important to appoint an Imam who is well-versed in the Quran, preferably a Hafiz. This is so that he may lead the community in Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan.
Thirdly, the community should appoint an Imam who fluently speaks the language of the majority of the community, as he will be the one delivering bayans and ta’leem to the worshippers.
Finally, it is important that the Imam understands the cultural and social problems of the community. We are in a time where such problems arise frequently, and the Imam should be the one to advise and counsel those members of the community who have marriage problems, family problems, etc.
If the community has identified a person as an Imam, the committee in charge should interview him and then seek the advice of senior ‘ulema on that person. Inform the senior ‘ulema about the person, his qualifications etc. for appropriate advice.
In the meantime, while the process of appointing an Imam is ongoing, the one appointed to lead the people in salat should be the one who adheres to and is most understanding of the sunnah, followed by the one who is well-versed in the Quran.
And Allah knows best