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Advice to Imams

Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

From:  Allah’s Slave, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

To:  The Imams of Allah’s Ummah 

As-salaamu’alaikum: Labbaik wa sa’daik (I respond to your call and I am obedient to your orders). 

Ya Imam; Istaqaamu (Stand firm); 

When comes the help of Allah, and Victory, and you do see the people (masses) enter Allah’s religion in crowds, celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and pray, for His forgiveness: For He is oft-returning (in Grace and Mercy).”  (Qur’an: 110) “How often, by Allah’s Will, has a small force vanquished a large one.”  (Qur’an: 2:249) 

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “A good Muslim is like a good ride’n camel, you find one in every hundred.”  Ya Imam, be not dismayed, for men won’t believe you…but it’s never the many, but often the few. Allah has structured His deen to develop believers with strong character; our concern is fisa-bilil-lah, not numbers, for He is Al-Jaami.  Islam is consciousness of the Will and plan of Allah and joyful submission to that Will and plan—conscious struggle.          

Umar bin Khattah (R.A.A.) reported: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “That intention (Niyaat) determines the worth of a person’s actions and he will attain what he intends.  If by immigration his aim is to please Allah and His Messenger (SAW), then his migration is for this purpose; and if he migrates seeking the attainment of some worldly object, or for the sake of marrying a woman and as such his migration will be reckoned for that particular object.”  (Bukhari and Muslim) 

(1)              Niyaat expresses consciousness; every thought and action by a Muslim should be framed by intention.  In teaching the basic, as Imams, this is fundamental.  This is the difference between struggle (kabad) and conscious struggle (jihad).

(2)              Salah (prayer): Every instruction must proceed from and return to this pillar.  It always should be emphasized and encouraged.  Fard and sunnah are the Imam’s discipline, and his advice to those who would like to increase their remembrance of Allah.  In every khutbah, and every dawah effort, this is the point of your remembrance, never relax this.  It is based upon this that Allah allows us to give naseeha.  Abu Ruqaiya Tamim bin Aus-ad-Dari reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The basis of Iman (faith) is sincerity.  We ask: “O Prophet of Allah! For whom? He said: To Allah, the Qur’an, His Prophet and the Muslims—both leaders and masses.”  (Muslim)

(3)              Fasting:  In addition to the fast of Ramadan, the Prophet would do voluntary fasting.  He fasted on Mondays and Thursdays; for the Imam, this should be a discipline, and a good advice to those who would like to increase their remembrance. 

(4)      Charity: “If you choose to spread love among the  Brotherhood, train men to give little things, if no more than the greeting.” (Qur’an 3:92)  Therefore, compete with each other in doing good.  Anas (R.A.A.) said that the Prophet said, “A person cannot be a good Muslim unless he desires for his brother (in faith) that which he desired for himself.” (Bukhari and Muslim).  

The Imam’s mandate for leadership is based upon his practice.  The role of the leader is to lead, but you can’t lead something that will not move.  To develop movement, the leader must be active, and he must teach by example. His strength is his kindness.  He understands that Ibaadah (worship) is just for Allah alone, not himself.  So, he is patient and understanding with his brothers as he teaches.  His teaching never strays from the basics, no matter how much he knows or thinks he knows, i.e., shahadah, prayers, fasting, zakat, hajj.  Everyone will not and cannot learn or practice it to the same degree.  All worship is for Allah…Qur’an and Hadith are the source of ilm (knowledge) for the Ummah. Fard Allah bi-li ibaadah (worshipping Allah alone), ijmaa and ijtihaad (consensus and informed reasoning) must be rooted in Shariah (Islamic law). 

Based upon our collective niyaat, we are the Ummah (community) of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).  He never named the community, so we don’t name it.  We are the Ummah, and this is sufficient.  Imams and jamaats may name masajids and jamaats, but Allah and His Messenger has named the community, Ummah. 

The Imam must be prepared to do most of the work without thanks from those who benefit, and without compensation.  Your reward is with Allah.  Stay away from making up and giving out offices of authority…amir of this and minister of that, etc.  The Prophet only appointed authority, as he needed it.  Men were tested in their practice before being given authority.  Allah will raise from the ranks those who are fit to lead.  If you doubt me, then name the positions of authority before the year of deputation.   

Suggestions for the Imams 

(1)              Review with every Muslim in the Jamaat, prayer in English and Arabic.  Take your time and be kind, and according to each Muslim’s ability go over this until they learn it.  Do not set time limits because this is an ongoing program.  Sabr.  Teach and review the rules of purification (wuduu, ghusl, istinjaa).  Stress the importance of praying in congregation.

(2)              Hold yourself and your teachings to Qur’an and Hadith.  Any other information must be verifiable and based on Qur’an and Hadith. 

(3)              Bayt al Maal:  Encourage Muslims to give sadaqa for this purpose.  Those who meet the criterion for zakat should be encouraged to pay it.  This sadaqa should be given to those who ask and those who ask not.  Make sure that those who have no means are provided for.  Those on lockdown, hospital, and any who ask should not be turned away or forgotten.  Encourage all who go to commissary to purchase an item for this purpose every week.

(4)              Establish a Suk:  (Islamic business, Qur’an 4:29). This should be a private enterprise; a business for the Imam or some Muslim who is able to purchase items (commissary items as well as Islamic arts and crafts, and anything lawful) to be resold at a profit.  Arts and crafts items include Islamic cards, Eid cards, calligraphy, dhkir beads.  Learn to make kufis and train Muslims and non-Muslims to make these items for you.  We may be able to develop a market outside of prison or in other prisons.

(5)              Islamic Theater:  Train Muslims to write and act to make this effort a learning and dawah tool.

(6)              Islamic Athletic Teams: Encourage Muslims to come together to compete in athletics as Muslim teams; a means to put your way of life on exhibit—win or lose, good behavior, teamwork, remembrance of Allah in action.

(7)              Community Meals:  Time set aside when the community comes together to eat and relax with each other.  Guests can and should be invited.

(8)              Sahaabah System: The Prophet paired the Ansaar and the Muhajaruun with each other.  The Imam may want to establish brothers in pairs, based upon strong and weak, ilm, age, or by the Imam’s discretion.

And know O Muslims, anything that I have said that was wrong, this was from myself and the shaytan!  And anything that I may have said that will be of benefit to you, it was from Allah (Ta’Ala).  I ask Allah to give us the guidance to see that we must accept to work with all who say Kalima La ilaha illa-llah, Muhammadan Rasulullah (SAW).  Ya Allah, give us the desire for community life; give us the wisdom to make Islam relevant to all that we come into contact with.  O Allah, remove the poison of malice and hatred for other Muslims that consumes the good that we do.  O Allah, give us the vision to see what we need for community life; put love and confidence, trust and faith into our hearts; Ya Allah, increase our love for what has come to us from our Prophet (SAW), the Qur’an and his Sunnah. 

Ya Allah, grant victory to Islam and the Muslims. Wa salaam.Ibadillah! Yar-ha-ku-Mullah!

Allah’s Slave: In Peace Strong!In Battle Strongest!!!     

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.

Quran: 2:186
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