I read an interesting article recently by Mohamed Abdul-Azeez, the former head of the Salam Center in Sacramento on the “Crisis of Imams in America


By: Belal Khan

Due to the way Muslim communities have been developed, the challenges they face are different from that of other faith communities.

Among the Christian community you find one of two types of models.

Model 1 – Corporate Franchise Clergy Structure

Model 2 – Local Visionary

The American Muslim community for the most part doesn’t follow any of these two models.

Typically you have a bunch of local folks that want to establish a place to pray. They come together, form a board, write out the policies, buy some real estate and make that a place to pray.

Then they realize they need to get an imam, and they end up hiring one of two types.

imam type 1 – The Employee

They simply follow what the board tell him to do. The growth of the community, or lack thereof is limited due to the vision or creativity of that board, which is essentially to have somebody to lead the prayers.

They want to grow the community, but they don’t think outside the box.

imam type 2 – The Leader

Typically this is someone who’s grown up here, or has spend a significant amount of time in the United States, understands the culture and how to engage with it.

Thus, they’re able to garner a much larger following than imam type 1, and a much more diverse following as well.

This person many times also happens to have visionary traits as well and has their own ideas on how to grow and lead the community which many times goes against the ideas and policies of the board.

This many times leads to conflict and friction.

Since the board is the actual steward of the real estate and the location, it’s the imam that ends up having to step out and go his own way.

The impact of this is that the community experiences a drop off in attendees, mainly because they’re not coming there for the board, but for the individual who’s helping them grow as individuals.

But, when that leader leaves, the community is left wanting.

A proposed solution that might work for most mosques

Currently no Muslim community has the systems in place to be a franchise model. We cannot be LA Fitness or Gold’s Gym. There’s no operational system in place.

At this point in time it would be impractical to consider becoming one.

The other option is to become like the local small business person, but the one likely to do that is the imam that gets pushed out. The only problem is that imam most likely doesn’t have the business acumen to be able to do that.

I find it interesting that some local gyms follow what I call the “platform model.”

There’s a local business owner who wants to open a gym, but himself doesn’t have any specialties. So what he does is opens the gym and he finds people who have specialties, certifications, and affiliations with known brands.

Imagine the gym owner hiring a certified CrossFit specialist, a Krav Maga Level 3 instructor, a black belt or red belt in jujitsu, and a strength and conditioning coach.

The gym owner basically tells these specialists, “Here you go, I have the facility, start your practice, I’ll take care of the marketing, and overhead, and you establish your practice here. I’ll simply take a cut of every student, customer, or client that you get.

I’ve seen businesses like that thrive.

I know I joined a gym that had various styles of martial arts to choose from. If you’re attracted to a particular style or specialists, then you only pay for those classes to attend his sessions.

Or, if you want to get access to the entire roster then you pay this high fee, but very few people do that.

There’s another gym out in DC called Primal Fitness that offers both CrossFit and Parkour. They’re both out of the same facility, same platform.

Maybe mosques should offer a similar setup

They have the platform, and seek out professionals who can leverage it as their place of practice. The overhead and facility expenses are taken care of by the mosque board.

The great thing is that these specialists aren’t limited to that one location. I know some of the gym coaches would have practices in multiple gyms. They simply have a dedicated time in which they’re at that particular location. And, that center is benefiting from those customers that they get from there.

About Akhi Soufyan

If you see goodness from me, then that goodness is from The Creator. You should be thankful to The Creator for all of that. Cause I'm not the architect of that. I'm only the...the recipient. If you see weakness or shortcoming in me it's from my own weakness or shortcoming. And I ask The Creator and the people to forgive me for that. _______________________________ Website eigenaar voor een betere wereld en doel, niet gericht op verdiensten van geld maar goede daden. In de naam van Allah, de Barmhartige. Als je goedheid van mij ziet, dan is dat de goedheid van de Schepper (God). Wees De Schepper dankbaar voor dat. Want ik ben daar niet de architect van, ik ben alleen de ontvanger.

Posted on December 29, 2014, in ARTICLES, VIDEOS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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