Are Sunni masjids effective?

Discussion in 'Tasawwuf / Adab / Akhlaq' started by Abu Hamza, Mar 2, 2023.

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  1. Abu Hamza

    Abu Hamza Well-Known Member

    The elephant in the room.

    Funding is not the problem. Most Sunni institutes/masajid in the UK are sitting on hundreds of thousands (some on millions) and the gullible public continues to give without questioning how it will be utilised. Public funds have been squandered for years on utterly useless endeavours which range from extensions (not even purpose built), decorations, ghyarwi etc. Some masajid are not even registered charities due to the notion that the charity commission has way too much power, and should they feel the need to 'close' the masjid to carry out an audit (if they felt there were reasonable grounds to do so), they are well within their rights. At least that's the story which the treasurers of such masajid spin to avoid the charity route entirely. They themselves, however, would not fair too well under scrutiny, how ironic. In short, funding is not a problem, it's a case of mismanagement of funds and it has been for a very long time. Saudi funding being a gamechanger in the battle between truth and falsehood is a shambolic myth. I'm starting to believe it was conjured up by the very same people who are hoarding our money. After all, who compelled us to eat humble pie because we weren't the recipients of oil money and when did this become a multi-million pound endeavour? The bank balances which the masajid have currently is sufficient.

    A good imam can be a gamechanger for an entire community but he too comes with a lot of baggage. For an upcoming imam to make headway in the UK, his credentials come way down the pecking order. It is not enough that he is an upright and sahih ul-aqida sunni, he has to be affiliated with an institution/organisation/cult. They will then determine where he will serve the religion through their prism. Masajid have aligned themselves with these places because they have no sense of direction otherwise, who to employ and who to avoid. This is the ground reality in the UK. DI have many masajid, but they will never consider employing an imam who is a graduate elsewhere. Once they have their foot in the door, they will push for their material to be taught at the expense of other literature (also sunni). A JAK graduate will not promote KUH, Suffah tul-Islam will not send an imam to any of the masajid under their control except for a graduate from their institute and if you don't tow the line, you will be suspended indefinitely. Recent events at JTI are enough to substantiate this point.

    Post graduation, he is expected to be an imam and a salesman. He is expected to bring in a ballpark figure every year, to sit on television in Ramadan and utilise the balagha which he learnt to fleece money from the public. They are expected to exclusively sell and promote the literature of the man at the top of the hierarchy and to direct young adults from those communities to their institutes. This is why a lot of imams in the UK are half baked with little substance, they cannot freely quote Qur'an from the top of their heads, they will give a 'mafhoom' of a hadith in English which is sometimes way off with no references and cannot answer basic fiqh questions, but so long as they further the cause of the organisation, all is well.

    The ineffectiveness of sunni masajid in contrast to others is the elephant in the room. What are the solutions and how best to implement them? Another five years down the line and the problems would have been further exacerbated and we will be sat twiddling our thumbs on a forum, thinking about the right chose of words which best describes our hopeless state. It's high time young Muslims with a backbone take up positions in committees and oust those who are utterly useless in a strategic way. Despite everything, the masjid is the fortress and communal change will come from within the confines of the masjid.
  2. Uthman

    Uthman Active Member

    For how long we will continue to attribute our shortcomings to inadequate funding when we knowingly lavish money on naat khwaans and expend resources on food after every event. The Sunni community lacks clear leadership, as exemplified by 90% of sunni masaajid. Take NMJM: millions have been spent on luxurious infrastructure, carpets, and furnishings, but no comprehensive vision is in place. Regrettably, even basic courses like Fiqh, Tajweed, and Aqeeda are not regularly offered for the benefit of lay people. If one or two courses are offered, and attendance is low, masaajid will abandon them. To them, I would assert that even if a course benefits only one person, it is still worthwhile.

    On the other hand, the majority of Sunnis appear to be primarily interested in listening to Naat and offering expressions of appreciation such as "wah, wah, bahut khoob", and there appears to be a lack of an ethos of learning. I seriously don't know who to blame for this.
    Ibn ul Ibn likes this.
  3. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    madkhalis always have been the pro-government lot, and as a result their opinions are always the lightest. currently they believe wishing merry christmas and a happy new year to kuffar and a happy valentines day to your spouse is an act of taqwa, because the governments have compromised with the yahood and started hugging hindu sadhus

    the opinion itself (regarding salah), as far as i remember, is an aberrant or differently worded kharjiite opinion of ibn taymiyyah, and not of Ahmad bin Hanbal - that deliberately leaving the salah makes one a murtad, and it's held by the staunchest of them who believe in blowing up graves and so on.

    the Sunni opinion across the mazahib is that it doesn't make one a kafir. however, regardless if a person does or doesn't pray, a person who makes light of salah, he leaves Islam.

    so if a person deliberately misses salah and his attitude/response on asking is "it's of utmost importance but i'm a sinner", he isn't a kafir; however, if the attitude to salah or the response upon querying is, "it's not a big deal to miss salah" (regardless if the person does pray or if he accidentally or deliberately missed salah), then such a person is indeed a kafir across all mazahib.

    Allah knows best.
    ... and hence why we are quick to shoot down our own as sulah kulli's for daring to look at different wahabis/devbandis with some detail and nuance, and yet many of us will look the other way on juhalaa like tahir or irfan etc.
  4. Khanah

    Khanah Veteran

    I did consider this but I don't believe it, to be honest. Most of them don't know about this opinion, it usually shocks them if you speak to them. Even if they did, they'll just use their standard pick and choose methodology of saying I believe the majority opinion instead. Usually it'll be the madhkali lot who will hold this opinion. I genuinely believe they're just more engaged than we are. Which would explain why they're ahead of us in all the other metrics as well.

    I was gonna write this in my original post but decided to delete it lol. But you're 100% correct. I would also say that the quality of the fatwas we find online from sunni sources is majorly lacking. We'll just quote a fiqh book and leave a two sentence answer. Whereas the deos will write what essentially amounts to a short essay with use of primary sources as well as structured logical arguments for the wisdom of the ruling. To a layman, this is way more convincing and people like to use quality websites in the same way they don't like to watch YouTube videos of a preacher filmed on a potato with poor sound. By the way, one of the reasons why the deo answers sometimes seem to be more academically rigorous is due to their basic knowledge of the secular world and sciences, which we hardly quote from. Genuinely, I've seen better use of secular material on this website than general sunni sources online.

    I also agree whole heartedly here with AQ. I don't think the wahabis are appeasing to Shia and the like. In fact, some of the best refutation of the Shia in English come from these people. Even the deos have good refutations of them in the English language.

    I think the sunni awaam suffers from a bit of a brain drain. Brain drain is when the educated populace of a country, for example Pakistan, leave en masse to other lands in order to better themselves in lifestyle, with the people being left behind being of a lower intellectual quality (per capita).

    This is the same thing that happens with sunnis- our talented youth who have a religious inclination have no connection to the common imam who just wants to speak about urs etc at every bayaan and in order to seek knowledge, they'll turn to YouTube or the Internet, get enamoured by the najdis, and basically join them. In the end, their numbers of highly motivated, intelligent young people grows and our numbers decrease.

    This also corresponds to a spiritual drain. Meaning these young people who want to practice the religion become najdi or deo and therefore pray in their masjid as opposed to a barewli one, also contributing to the lack of numbers of practicing people on our side (on a percentage basis). The others who stay and want to follow traditional sunni Islam may fall into the hamza yusuf cult instead so they're still not going to be on our side. We lose people in multiple directions.

    This is a major failing on our part. If we don't give people what they yearn for, which is answers to the problems they are facing or knowledge in general, they will find it somewhere else. We have such a focus on tertiary issues that primary issues are almost never addressed in barelwi UK masaajid.

    As for funding, there's enough of that coming from the awaam to be honest. Problem is that it often somehow manages to make its way into someone's property portfolio, let's say. We're not smart with our money.

    Maybe there's a lack of barakah in our funding because often our income is from haram means. I've met numerous najdis who refuse to get a mortgage because they believe it to be haram. Even if we believe the first mortgage to be permissible according to some muftis, then what do we do about those who have multiple properties on mortgage or those who lie on their tax forms or even the fact that, for some reason, every drug dealer I know happens to be from a barelwi background? Anecdotal evidence, I know it carries less weight and others may have different experiences, selection bias etc.

    Look at the quality of our publications or translations. Such poor quality that they should never be published. Compare to the quality of najdis or even Gibril haddad. Night and day.

    It feels like we're behind on every metric but the point of my original post was not just that we lack in action at the top in the form of good lectures, videos etc but we lack action amongst the awaam itself in terms of being practicing Muslims. And if we are not a practicing awaam, how can we possibly expect to produce practicing, useful leaders? I don't believe it's possible. I believe our spiritual decline is linked directly to our decline in all other spheres. I truly believe that if we rectified ourselves in terms of our heart, our aqidah and our character, we will be given leaders who suit our needs. And if we neglect our religion on the awaam level, we get the types of leaders we deserve. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming purely the imams, we all have our blame.

    By the way, I wonder what it's like in non barelwi sunni masaajid around the world? Is it a problem limited to just us? I don't have enough experience to make any assessment outside of our own Pakistani British community.
  5. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    i guess we all have our own anecdotal narrations/evidences.

    but i disagree with most of what you have said.

    wahabis and devbandis too are restricted by their constraints - they just know how to manage them and incorporate them into their activities.

    while devbandis are shameless taqiyyabaz liars, wahabis are uncompromising on their manhaj

    they "refute" "Hanafis", "Asharis", "Soofees", as well as the shia - the difference is that they have a bigger curriculum than us

    they can have a lesson on the fundamentals of namaz, on marriage, on inheritance, etc., and in those lessons say things like 'saying aameen softly is a bidah' (namaz bayan) or 'reciting the Fatiha at the time of engagement is bidah' (marriage bayan) or just include a snide remark or two aside from the topic

    that - and then they also have days dedicated to "correct aqidah". of course on those days they propagate their jahil aqaid, as well as again "refute" non-wahabis - once again, the topic or day itself is not centered around refutation of the ahlul bidah or the ikhwan, but rather on the "correct" manhaj of the "salaf"

    our curriculum is what - urdu/punjabi fiery speeches on some selected topics, on ritualistic urs days (thanks to our obsession with urs and numbers with almost an obligatory focus on karaamaat rather than the seerah's of the great people) with sloganeering and actually verbally asking the awam to shower their bayans with Subhan Allah if the awam didn't feel the urge to be excited enough on their own - with naatkhwani and Salat o Salam

    how many wahabis have you seen who meet a new person (common guy or scholar) and ask him to sign on kitab al tawhid or aqidah al-wasitiyyah on day one? we have enough "Barelwis" who the minute they see someone else, will ask the person 'so, do you agree with Subhan Al-Subbuh & Hussamul Haramayn?' even if he himself wouldn't be able to describe their contents other than just beating his chest on the title and Ala Hazrat's greatness, or even if the person being asked might be a new immigrant from Ghana

    long story short - they have many many more talking points than us - in the local language that the youth can connect with - by multi-ethnic teams

    we have limited talking points - in urdu/punjabi - by old desi maulvis running peer shops; illa ma sha Allah

    ironically, for all the wahabi's jahl and short-sightedness, he has more attention to detail and nuance than our jazbati desis on that point - we won't be shy to run our mouths on someone the very second we see him sitting at a bayan by tablighi vultures, even if he's a passerby or a college kid newly learning deen or so on

    we have forgotten that people come in all shades and even not every wahabi or devbandi is the same, some are only in name. wahabis are unassuming and actually act on that line, and comment on something specific only if they see it, unless they are downright soaked in an environment or talking about it, like say a dargah

    unless you're lumping wahabis and devs together, i personally haven't even heard of wahabis praying behind shias. devs are a different class of shameless

    as for using hindu religion, yes that is certainly jahl and their enthusiasm to get dawah numbers, but then we have ilme kalam on our side - which one of our maulvis bothers to learn it and teach it and use it in their bayans?

    i have yet to see someone who wasn't left awestruck and supremely fascinated after hearing or reading proper kalam based discourse, we have the best of the best resources, but alas!

    yes, but in recent times, that's only for the madkhali brand of wahabism

    ikhwanis don't get any, but that's just recent past

    devbandis might have a few wahabi funding success stories from the past due to their taqiyya, but generally weren't supported as a matter of policy. in the recent past, the wahabis have categorically proscribed them

    devbandis are devils but let's give them credit for channeling their chanda's for publishing, gasht, social welfare etc. more efficiently while we were busy lighting up streets and cooking haleem. they were ahead of the game than us for a very long time.

    we both have enough stories of our own of chanda and charities funds being eaten away!

    of course there are enough kind hearted and generous people among us, but as a structured approach towards charity, social welfare and aiding the poor - i may be wrong, and feel free to correct me, but your poor local paanwala's kids in india/pakistan would most probably be attending a madrasa funded by a devbandi controlled charity rather than ours

    i spoke in another thread about devbandis successfully dealing with the modern schooling system (for middle class or well off kids) in pakistan with their maktaba system. pakistan has enough wealthy Barelwis too, especially considering how much money is showered on naatkhwani gatherings - why are we lagging behind the devbandis on this?

    how long has it been since the hijab row in karnataka india? not too long, it's a recent event. wahabis and devbandis are already fundraising, locally and in the west, for making schools, colleges, coaching centers etc. for Muslim kids so that they don't get turned down for hijab reasons. can we name a few Barelwi organizations from karnataka doing the same?

    don't get me wrong - we do have super duper Sunni and Barelwi success stories like this - - but we need more of them - ma sha Allah these DI mawlanas and brothers have built a Sunni wonderland in one of the most poorest nations in the world - Malawi - and it doesn't span decades, they started their work in 2015

    we also need a lot more stories of medium success, along with a few stories of over achievement - and all success stories need to be publicized, to our own (desis & Barelwis), as well as to others, for both targheeb that greedy peers might learn a lesson and work for Sunniyat, as well as for the snowball effect and wanting Sunni organizations and work to grow exponentially

    maybe the achievers among us are just silent achievers like these brothers in Malawi - i keep hearing in DI bayans how DI has made roughly 150,000 huffaz and ulama across the world. that's great and needs to be publicized more and more efforts need to be done to raise those numbers

    we talk about them too

    the difference is they talk (lie) about us to other non-Sunnis and non-desis

    we talk about them (some or many truths, depending on the caliber of the maulana saab) only in our own gatherings of urs, Mawlid, Shabe Baraat etc to our own people

    when we do talk to other people about them, we don't take a structured and step by step approach, and straight away want the audience to attest to the entire Fatawa Ridawiyyah - the introduction and representation of it (and by extension, Ala Hazrat too) being at the mercy of the mawlana or common person who is talking about it

    just my opinions, and yes my post is somewhat of a rant but not totally.

    Allah knows best
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2023
  6. Hanafi Sunni

    Hanafi Sunni Veteran

    Wahabis and Deos are more open minded (not restricted) by anything.

    One statement which generally makes alot of sense, allows them to be seen as the 'correct' people. And that magical sentence is "we are all muslim and brothers in islam". In such sentences they will even deem shiahs to be Muslims. If they really need to they will even pray behind a shiah. If they really need to, they will even use the Hindu religion to explain Islam using Hindu Saint names (such as Sai baba) and hindu terminology. Another major reason ,this is very important in modern times, is funding. Many deo and Wahabi organizations are heavily funded by the wahabi government of Saudi. A nearby musjid in my area was given 100 000 dollars by sudais on behalf of saudi Arabia upon his visit here.

    The sunnis have been defamed by deobandis (due to the lies they spread) e.g. calling us mushriks, grave worshippers etc. Furthermore our funding is way limited. Many sunni musjid battle on a month to month basis just to keep the musjids open. Another reason is, unity is rare among sunni organizations, every sunni organization just want themselves to grow. They will never ever want their neighboring musjid to flourish as well.

    And many other factors.

    E.g. lets take marriage. Sunni are constantly warned to not marry deos etc. On the contrary deobandis are even free to marry shiahs (as they muslim) so taking this basic e.g. they will spread faster as they not limited. Their propaganda against barelwis is greater than we can imagine.

    Typed this out really quick. But this is what I see on a daily basis.

    Allah make it easy for us.
  7. Aurangzeb

    Aurangzeb New Member

    It is worrisome to someone who has travelled the Muslim lands outside of India and Pakistan to find large Masajid in a place like Bradford eerily quiet on Sunday at Maghrib. Sunni institutions are simply put, not engaging the grass roots of their locality enough compared to the others. Compare somewhere like GLM to GKS in Birmingham. I hazard a guess that places like GLM attract common folk who are not interested in centuries old debates but simply want to get on with the basics and have a community built around the masjid. The non Sunni masajid for sure are inviting with their multi ethnic Imams and staff to the average Multicultural British person.

    Shaykh Asrar is attracting more of the middle class more educated western muslim which is precisely what is needed to have major change in communities as they are precisely the audience whose offspring will go on to lead in their communities. Haqiqatjou is the type of young person Sunnis need to be convincing to join their ranks but most of these are being recruited into Salafi or Soft Salafi circles.
  8. Alf

    Alf Active Member

    More wahabis in the najdi mosques might be due to their 'hanbali' fiqh that deems a person murtad if he voluntarily leaves salah. But I don't understand why najdis and deos are more active on the dawah scene. Hardly any sunni on youtube talking to non muslims like these wahabis. HY was a fantastic orator and I was proud of him but then he left sunniyat ( if at all he was sunni that is). Sheikh Asrar seems like the only sunni doing some impactful work online. If you ever type a hanafi fiqh question online the websites showing up would be mostly deobandi ones, and only rarely a sunni one, which really doesn't have to be the case with an organization like DI with an active darul ifta. Also in all matters we have disputes with the wahabis, while wahabis have probably dozens of websites dedicated to 'refuting' barelvis on those points, we hardly have any.

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