Advice To The Trustees (Mutawallis) Of The Masjids

By Madrasah In'aamiyyah, Camperdown
Posted: 24 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1424, 26 May 2003

Q.) What advice can you give to those charged with the task of managing the affairs of a Masjid? A detailed answer will be appreciated.

A.) To assume the responsibility of mutawali it is imperative for one to possess the required qualities and capabilities. If one lacks these, it is advised that he relinquish this sacred duty and entrust it to those more able and deserving. It is not permissible to assume the post of mutawalli (trustee of a Masjid) for the sake of honor and prestige. If one takes up this responsibility with this intention, then he would have indulged himself in such a calamity, from which it would be impossible to attain salvation in the hereafter.

A mutawalli must comply with the following conditions:

1. He must have the right of trusteeship. This right, in sequence of priority, goes first to the person who made the endowment (waqf). Second is the person appointed by the endower himself. Next is the Muslim ruler or the appointed Muslim governor of the district. Thereafter this right rests with the Muslim Judge (Qaadhi), then finally with the person whom the inhabitants of the locality choose. (Shaami, Book of Waqf - Page 384 / Vol. 5)

2. He must be a sane Muslim.

3. He must be well acquainted with the regulations pertaining to endowment and trust (waqf).

4. He must have practical and theoretical knowledge concerning the affairs of managing the endowment (waqf). (Durrul Mukhtaar & Shaami) This means that he should not be so ignorant as to be unable to differentiate between a capable and non-capable candidate for appointment as lmam or Muezzin. It should not be that he fails to consult learned people and disassociate himself from senior Ulama in related matters. He must also not be so busy that he is unavailable to attend to the affairs of the trust.

5. He must be a trustworthy person, taking care not to misappropriate a single cent.

6. He must not involve himself in such futile engagements wherein people destroy their wealth, like gambling and bribery.

7. He must be an "Allah-fearing" and pious person - not a fasiq, i.e. an open sinner who indulges in major sins such as drinking, adultery, dealing in interest, shaving the beard, neglecting Salat, discarding the fardh Salat with jamaat (congregation), acquiring livelihood by unlawful means, etc. Thus, if any trustee is found to be involved in such actions it will be incumbent (wajib) to dismiss him from office, even though he may be the endower himself. (Durrul Mukhtaar with Shaami , Vol 5 - Pg. 385)

8. He should not be one who requested to be given the position as a trustee.

If any close relative of the endower complies with the above conditions he should be appointed as a trustee. However, if all these qualities are not found in any individual then such a person cannot be a mutawalli nor can he be appointed as one, since this will constitute an act of sin.


1. He should safeguard the income and property of the Masjid, meeting the necessary expenses and avoiding unnecessary expenditure. These days funds are generally squandered on expenses which have no importance in the shariah, but are merely spent because unenlightened trustees deem them to be imperative. These people should fear Allah, for on the day of Qiyamah they will be accountable for every cent. The mutawallis of the masjid must take the onus upon themselves to consult the Ulama, at the first opportunity, regarding the detailed rulings pertaining to these expenses and the running of the masiid in general.

2. He must keep a proper record of all the income and expenditure of the masjid.

3. According to the best of means, a proper Imam must be appointed. The following Hadith should stop us from appointing an incompetent person as Imam: It is narrated that whosoever appoints someone to a post while more deserving persons are available, he has betrayed Allah, His Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and the Muslims in general. (Fathul Qadeer)

4. He must appoint such a Muezzin who is well acquainted with the times of Salat (and the correct pronunciation of the azan).

5. He should give due priority to the maintenance of the masjid building as well as its other associated facilities. Security should also be given due consideration.

6. Cleanliness, lighting and water facilities must also be adequately arranged.

7. It is of paramount importance for the mutawalli to ensure the performance of the five daily Salat in congregation and always strive towards increasing the number of musallis (in the masjid). Each mutawalli must look sincerely into these duties and exert his utmost efforts towards achieving these ends.

It is noticed that the mutawallis of the various masaajid usually do not fully discharge their responsibilities, thereby becoming sinners.

If someone is an Imam it does not entitle his son to the same. Since Imamat is not a legacy, the most competent and deserving person should be appointed.

(The following are the cardinal requirements for an Imam)

Qualifications of an Imam:

1. He should be well versed in relevant masaa'il pertaining to Imamat and Salat.

2. He must have mastered tajweed rules (to facilitate correct recitation of qiraat in Salat).

3. He should adhere to the faraaidh, wajibaat, sunnah and mustahabaat.

4. He must refrain from haram and makroohat.

If the correct choice of an Imam cannot be made, a reliable Aalim should be asked to interview a potential candidate. To use only a beautiful voice as a yard-stick in choosing an Imam is pure ignorance. However, if together with the above cardinal requirements, the Imam also possesses a beautiful voice then this will be an added asset.

Once the right Imam has been appointed, due respect must be shown to him. He must not be considered as a personal subordinate of the mutawalli. He is the leader and should be followed. This should always be kept in mind. Such a salary should be stipulated for him that will enable him to lead a decent and peaceful life. Stinginess should never be shown with regard to this issue. If there is a need, other expenses should be curtailed but a low and unreasonable salary should never be given to the Imam or Muezzin. If negligence prevails, it should be borne in mind that man is often forced to fulfill his basic needs by other means. The Muslim jurists (rahimahumullah) have stated that if somebody commits himself to the service of a community, it is wajib upon them that they meet his expenses.

When the Imam stands up to reform the masses, it is incumbent upon the mutawallis to assist him. In the event of the ignorant public raising objections and undue criticism against the Imam it is the duty of the mutawallis to stop them. If people disapprove of his propagation of the truth and the musallis decrease, they should first be made to understand. If they persist (in their disapproval) then they should be ignored, because it is better to have a few abiding to the sunnah and shariah rather than a deviated crowd.

If any Imam does anything contrary to the shariah or introduces innovations, then he should be dismissed. The Imam 'must have freedom of expression, he should never be hindered by the mutawallis. Some mutawallis dislike and are offended by the Imam's mentioning of any vices or faults in which they are involved, thus they prevent the Imam from such lectures. Such an attitude leads to severe sins. They will also be considered amongst those subjected to the severe warnings given in the following ayaat: "And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah's name should be celebrated?" [Al-Baqarah 2:114]

The mutawalli should never interfere in the Imam's ibaadat, lectures and religious services. According to the shariah the mutawalli has no right of intervention. His responsibility is to see to the proper maintenance and functioning of the masjid, as mentioned above.

If the mutawalli adopts and adheres to the above mentioned advices, with a true spirit, then it is highly believed that he will be amongst the good-named mutawallis in the hereafter and be absolved of the great responsibilities which he shouldered. He will be justly rewarded, Inshaa-Allah.

( The above has been extracted from the book - Khutbaat-e-Mouizat)

Prepared under the auspices of: Sheikhul Hadeeth Hadrat Moulaana Fazlur Rahman Saheb