Zamboanga City – ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv 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.
Recognizing the untapped potential of the masajid in peace and development, this concept paper explores the nature and functions of traditional masjid consistent with the ARMM context and demands of 21st century environment.
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 a 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 that are common to most groups.
- Ideas that are unique and relevant.
3.1 Masajid as centers for peace and development
- ARMM-RDI to develop and adopt fatwas on the traditional roles of masjid; and the masjid expanded roles in pursuing peace and development in the ARMM communities.
- ARMM-RDI to articulate a masjid-based Islamic peace and development framework and explore Singapore’s “Risalahfor Building a Singaporean Muslim Community of Excellence” as a takeoff document.
- ARMM-RDI to align its masjid-based Islamic peace and development framework with the MUIS’ Mosque-Friendly Scheme to make the masjid youth-friendly, family-friendly and community-friendly as expression of the framework in the community.
- In the long-term, ARMM-RDI pursues a policy of standardizing and unifying fatawa and khutabah to be delivered in all the ARMM masajid following the MUIS model in Singapore. While the original text as approved by the Muftun maybe in Arabic, the RDI provincial offices shall have the responsibility of translating the text into the vernaculars for wider dissemination and acceptance.
3.2 Unify and mobilize Muslim organizations and groups
- ARMM RDI to expand its inventory to include Muslim non-government organizations and groups that can support both the traditional and expanded roles of the masajid as envisaged by ARMM-RDI.
- Explore provincial and regional federation of Muslim non-government as a form of unity and network.
- It is recognized that there are local Muslim organizations and groups divided along “doctrinal lines”; along this line, the ARMM-RDI should review and make an official position regarding the “Amman Message” and if adopted used the same to pursue intra-faith dialogues with this type of organizations.
3.3 Organize A’immah and Masajid
- ARMM-RDI to complete its inventory of ulama, a’immah and masajid; and publish directories of ARMM ulama, a’immah and masajid.
- In the immediate term, explore the conduct of the ARMM Regional A’Immah, Masajid and Jama’ah Summit with the following objectives:
- Solicit inputs toward developing masjid-based Islamic peace and development framework and ARMM version of the Mosque-Friendly Scheme.
- Explore long-term program partnership with masajid based on a proposed masjid-based peace and development framework.
- Explore a’immah and jama’ah commitment to this partnership through the ARMM version of the Mosque Friendly Scheme.
- Explore Waqaf administration of masajid, including a common waqf fund similar to MUIS Wakaf Ilmu.
- Explore provincial and regional federation of a’immah and masajid as a form of unity, network and program delivery structure.
- In the long-term and on a graduated basis, ARMM-RDI pursues a recognition/accreditation system for a’immah and masajid consistent with its masjid-based Islamic peace and development framework and its own Mosque-Friendly Scheme.
- ARMM-RDI delineate functions, roles and responsibilities between its provincial offices and its network of masajid and non-government organizations.