On Leadership or the Lack Thereof

I am delighted that Dr. Tayeb Jukaku sent this article to me to include on the blog. He is a long-time member of the community, past President of the IAGD Board of Directors, founding member of CAIR Michigan Chapter, and founding member of Huda Clinic.

Do masajids have a role in community development? A vision for a paradigm shift for masajids

There is universal acceptance of the reality of Muslim backwardness in many facets of science, scholarship, research and sadly even in moral and human rights issues. Muslim countries spend a dismal percent of their GDP on research and development; the number of books written and sold/bought in Muslim countries is very low. Anecdotal experience seems to buttress this perception even amongst the U.S. Muslims who should be one of the most advanced of the communities in the Muslim world and should have blazed a trail of excellence and achievements equivalent or even surpassing the Indian immigrants’ success.

So is there a possibility of a system problem in our thinking re: knowledge, the problem of the unnecessary dichotomy prevalent amongst Muslim scholars worldwide between dunya and aakhira ILM. The causes are not the focus for now, but to try to renew our quest for knowledge such as we had seen centuries ago that produced great scholars who were experts in all kinds of knowledge.

We have patchy success as far as U.S. experience is concerned. masajid attendees have been able to keep their religion for the most part and have been fairly successful in receiving educational distinction. But we have lost a great majority of immigrants who never visit masajids and thus are adrift.  As far as secular education is concerned, masajid attendees have shown occasional sparks of excellence. We could and should match the Indian community’s success. One way to get a jump start, which does not take much effort, may be to have programs in our masajids that will redirect our value system.  We seem to have too much value on wealth, ostentatious homes and big cars, and not enough on scholarship, academic careers, research, and entrepreneurship.

We could have Harvard and MIT and Rhodes scholars if we bring programs to motivate our future progeny, by talking about such issues in our gatherings and with our children, and in our khutbas and in our Sunday schools, our dinners. We should direct some to be Humza Yousuffs and Zaid Shakirs. Some should be great business tycoons.

These children therefore would be grounded in sound Islamic knowledge after a robust primary and secondary Islamic education coming out of masajid schools, even be Huffaz.

They would then be trained vigorously to get admissions to premier institutions in this country.

This kind of vision will mean our monies will be directed to less grandiose buildings for our masajids and more funding for the human capital and knowledge based communities we envision.

Tayeb Jukaku, MD

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on July 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    ASAK. Last month, the Secretary General of ISNA came to IAGD to give a khutba. Afterwards, he was given a tour of the facilities and found out that we were going to use the land east of the mosque for an expansion of the mosque. The Secretary General indicated that there are enough mosques across the country now. We can pray at our homes, we can pray at our offices, we can pray anywhere. The biggest need for Muslims across the country is to build Islamic schools. And wherever a school is built, Muslims move to that area and get close to the mosque so their children can attend those schools. Our expansion should be reasonable so we can complete it quickly and move on to building a school and programs for our children. We should not build a huge, unnecessarily grandiose mosque, which will financially drain the community and take years to complete.
    Mansoor Ahmad

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I absolutely agree. Live within your means and functionally. IAGD made a big mistake in the past by not carefully planning and by not taking the time or even interest in hearing from the community members. I hope the leadership learns from past mistakes- in this way they could take a low-point in our history and use it as a means of evolving and improving. To change takes courage. But when carefully thought through- it is always worth the effort.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Alhamdulillah, we have great scholars in the community. But I just wanted to share few things with you all. The emphasis, I would like to make on the importance of EDUCATION over any other need of Muslim communities today.

    I’m not sure how much we can relay on these statistical numbers, but looking at the reality it seems to be true. Please read the content from the link below.

    http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Muslim_Statistics_%28Education_and_Employment%29.

    My point is, The first word of revelation from Allah SWT to Prophet PBUH is “IQRA” (Read) for the entire community, Even after 1400 years, we are still lagging behind in fulfilling this covenant.

    Phophet PBUH built the first Masjid for the purposes of providing education / Knowledge of Islam to the community apart from offering prayers. Sahaba use to get the knowledge from this institution and goes to different parts of the world to spread Islam.

    Don’t forget, most of us here migrated from sub continent in the search better life, and Alhamdulillah, we are doing better in that aspect compare to our brothers and sisters back home. We all agree that, this is all because of our education (degrees in various fields).

    Currently we have more than 100 Masajid in the suburbs of Metro Detroit area, but there is no “ISLAMIC HIGH SCHOOL” for our kids. This shows our prioritization of our needs as a community. Unfortunately, the history reveals most of our Muslim emperors build huge monuments in Indian Sub continent, instead of leaving a legacy of education, science and technology for us.

    As a community we should rethink our priorities….ASAK

    Reply

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