Print Print

The criteria for electing Mosque directors


"Only those shall maintain the mosques of Allah who believe in Allah and the last day, establish regular prayer and practice regular charity and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance." (9:18)
This is the criteria set out in the Quran by Allah (SWT). These are the characteristics one shall have if they are willing to come forward to look after the affairs of Muslims at our local mosques. These are the characters one should look for in a person before nominating and electing individuals to run our mosques.

Three main characteristics are singled out (1) Belief in God and the hereafter, (2) Practice of regular prayer and regular charity, and (3) Fearing none but Allah.

There is a very popular incident in Islamic history, during the times of our Prophet, Mohammed, (PBUH). People knew that he was looking for an Emir (Leader) for some important task. There were three companions standing. Two of them appealed to the Prophet, outlining their qualities (Resume) as to why each of them was the most suited for the appointment. The prophet asked the third companion, are you not going to say anything? The companion replied, Oh Prophet of Allah, you have two better qualified individuals before you. How can I compare to their qualities? The Prophet said, I appoint you. The point Prophet wanted to make was, never give the power to the one who asks for it.

In all honesty, if we look closely within our own selves, introspection. We would say first and foremost I myself do not qualify for the position. As we look around, we would be forced to conclude that most people vying for the positions do not either.

So where does it leave us? We should look for individuals who come closest to bearing these characteristics to nominate and elect. No other criteria should we consider besides these three characters.

Currently, there is an election season at the BCMA. This coming weekend is of course the most important and by far the largest of all among all BCMA Branches. It has all the fanfare an election can have. It has drama, action, formal parties making individual pitches, presenting their platforms. Most importantly, it has promises – key ingredient for a successful election campaign. One party promising bigger and better than the other.

Realistically what does it all boil down to. It boils down what Allah had commanded to us. Those vying for the position, and those making their selection for the best candidate.

Leadership in Islam is not the same as leadership in general. In conventional leadership, the end justifies the means. Meaning if a policy is adapted and that policy proves to be fruitful, then regardless of the harm it causes. In the name of greater good, or “public interest” the entire policy becomes kosher, and the person who came up with this so-called excellent public policy – a good leader.

Leadership in Islam has its own limitations. Its own set boundaries and every leader must operate within those boundaries. An Islamic leader must think about humanity and how to seek the pleasure of Allah. Hence, Belief in God and the hereafter. Leadership in Islam is a divine responsibility and a trust from Allah. Syedna Omer (RA) used to say, “Even if a dog dies of hunger on the bank of Euphrates. Omer will be held accountable before Allah on the day of judgment.”

So, we should not take this lightly. Whether we are a candidate or a mere voter.

The second most important characteristic commanded by Allah is, “Practice of regular prayer and regular charity.” Put your money where your mouth is. Someone asked Syedna Abu Bakr (RA) how do you choose an Emir for different tasks. He replied, when I stand up to lead the congregation. After the Iqama. I look to the left and right. The person I see consistently praying five prayers in the first row. I trust him blindly.

One of the most important and often repeated commandments in the Quran are “Practice of regular prayer and regular charity.” If the person is fulfilling these commands in letter and in spirit than they are fulfilling the most important part of the Shariah.

Regular prayers can be seen and measure. The second aspect, charity is difficult to measure. One of the ways to measure this criterion is to see how a person deals with others. People who are generous. Their generosity is not limited to financial generosity. They are generous in all sense. They forgive and forget, they don’t hold grudges against others. They help with whatever their capacity allows them to help others, in all spheres possible. Now we can see the wisdom of Allah’s command. They have the true and genuine spirit of a leader.

Fearing none but Allah. This is the most important aspect. Someone who is not unwilling to bend the rules or commands of Allah for anyone, not even for himself. They are fearless, and not afraid to speak the truth. They fulfill their obligation as if they are seeing Allah. They are not afraid of being held accountable. They are honest, trustworthy, and always on guard for the public treasury held under their trust.

One of the signs of such individuals is they are not concerned about “public opinion” – what will people say or think. They will do what is right for Islam and Muslim. They always "Speak words that are straight" (33:70). They fulfill their promises.
These are the characteristics we should be looking for in our prospective leaders. These are the individuals we should be supporting. We should not fall into the trap of nationalism. We should look for individuals whom you believe is most righteous is the one should receive your vote to be our leader.