Zamboanga City – ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman in a meeting with Regional Darul-Ifta’ (RDI) officials gave a directive to explore partnership and collaboration with masajid (mosques) throughout the region. It was observed that while masjid (mosque), headed by an Imam (A’’ ‘immah, plural), is a traditional and critical institution present in every community, and while Islam is said to be a complete way of life, its influence has largely been limited to worship services.
During the 4th RDI En Banc Session, Year-end Review and Institutional Building Seminar on December 27-29, 2015, at Astoria Hotel, in Zamboanga City, half-day was allocated to pursue the idea of “masajid as centers for peace and development”:
- Brainstorming on how to establish collaboration between ARMM-RDI and the masajid throughout the region. There is recognition that while ARMM-RDI can develop programs out of its six core mandates as articulated in Section 5 of MMA 323; it needs the masajid network to transform RDI programs into services in the communities. Additionally, there was also recognition of the complementary roles of Muslim organizations and groups in supporting the work of the ARMM-RDI and the masajid.
- As part of learning, there was sharing of the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) model, in particular, how its programs are transformed into services in the masajid.
- A workshop followed suit with seven (7) groups; five ARMM provincial groups (Basilan, Lanao, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi), Zamboanga and mushakkal (mixed) Davao-Ozamiz-Baguio groups. The guide questions were as follows: How do we make our Masajid as centers for peace and development in our province? How do we unify and mobilize Muslim organizations and groups in our province? How do we organize A’immah and Masajid in our province?
- Each group presented their output in the forms of suggestion specific to roles and responsibilities of the ARMM-RDI Regional Office, Provincial Offices and the Masajid. Thereafter, all the suggestions were consolidated into the following: Ideas common to most groups. Ideas unique and relevant.
Recognizing the untapped potential of the masajid (mosques) in peace and development and based on the workshop output, the first-ever Regional Masajid Conference in the 26 years of ARMM history is being conducted.
The objectives of the Regional Masajid Conference are the following:
- To solicit ideas and suggestions toward developing the ARMM masajid as centers of peace and development ( or masajid-based peace and development framework );
- To explore long-term program partnership with masajid, e.g. ARMM version of the MUIS Mosque Friendly Scheme, development and recognition of a’immah, masajid and jama’ah organizations; and a’immah and jama’ah commitment to this partnership through the ARMM version of the Mosques Friendly Scheme;
- To explore unification and standardization of Friday khutab ( sermons ) across the Region; and
- To provide a platform for social interaction and exchange of ideas, experiences and good practices among a’immah and jama’ah organizations in the ARMM.
The Regional Masajid Conference is 4-day seminar-workshop to activate masajid as centers for peace and development in the ARMM. The seminar-workshop have serial sessions for messages, lectures, presentations and group workshops. The participants to this conference is a’immah and jama’ah of selected masajid, staff of RDI-ARMM and BME-ARMM and resource lecturers.
The program of activities conducted and organized in 4 days with thematic sessions and workshops, to wit:
DAY 1 – Opening Program and Conference Overview: The participants welcomed, introduced and have leveling off on the conference overview and objectives.
DAY 2 – Enhancing Spirituality: The participants explore ways to strengthen mosques as institutions to provide tranquility and solace, as well as to enhance the spirituality of the community through highly effective socio-religious programs.
DAY 3 – Guiding Community: Developed core mosque leadership that create the transformational change through mosques and guide the community in an increasingly challenging world.
DAY 4 – Changing Lives: Make mosques touch points that change lives by enhancing outreach, establishing a support base, increasing participation in programs and alleviating the social challenges of the community.
From the initial inventory of ulama’, a’immah and masajid, the RDI-ARMM have conducted provincial assemblies of a’immah, to organize themselves and elect their leaders who represent them in the Regional Masajid Conference.