The principles of cultural management in mosques

Sayyed Ali Hashemi  6/28/2014

Translated By: Vahid Pourtajrishi


Mosque is the centre and base of performing many activities such as social, political, educational, scientific, sportive, economic and cultural. The cultural activities of various institutions are different. For example, the cultural activities of mosques are performed according to its religious character and are done in order to educate and guidance of people. Centre will be succeed just if has a powerful manager. The manager has to be able to manage the mosques affairs. There are given some verses in Quran on mosque and its importance which we can understand the significance of mosque management by interpreting them. The present article considers the importance of cultural management of mosque which is one of the most important affairs in mosque.


Although mosque had been constructed originally as the worshipping place for Muslims in personal or plural forms, but Islam doesn’t recognizes mosque as just a place for worshipping. In the time of our Grand Prophet, mosque had been a religious base and sometimes a political-governmental base. He recognized mosque as a centre for education and guidance of Islamic affairs. At the Grand Prophet’s era, mosques had been the centre of government and the place of discussion and transferring of science. Mosque had been the place of education and various teachings for some centuries. After the Grand Prophet also, the dignity of mosque was improved and could arise the pick point of success by fostering scholars and researchers in various levels. Decent Imam Khomeini (god’s blessings to him) said:

‘’ Mosques are fortifications. Keep the fortifications safe’’

Of course, the purpose of fortification is cultural and religious fortification. Mosque has to fulfil the required thought food for all castes of Muslims societies. Educational methodology, attending the time capacities and cultural management are the factors which should be attended.

Common methods and manners in the history of Islam and Muslims:

In dominancy era of Islam, all affairs of city were done in mosque. In Islamic view, every work was done before of God and there is no difference between holy and unholy. Then, every works which is done faithfully is holy and mosques were the only education place in the first years after appearance of Islam and the God’s prophet read the verses of Quran for people there. Ibn Abbas taught interpretation of Quran to people and some of his students such as Nafe Bin Azragh attended his lectures. Hassan Basri taught Kalaam. The separation story of Vasil Bin Ata who was one of his students is famous. The kufa Mosque was witness to the worthy and spiritual words of Amirul Momenin Imam Ali (God’s blessings to him). The Cairo Mosque which is established y Amr Bin Aas before 249 Hijri Qamari had more than forty educative groups and many great teachers taught there. Some of these mosques had some donated properties. Adam Methoz had written in his book in the name of ‘’Islamic Civilization in Fourth Century’’:

‘’In a holy time, in Cairo Mosques, there were held more than hundred twenty lectures’’

The Mansour Jame Mosque of Baghdad was the centre for teaching the various sciences and was such significant that is quoted: Ibrahim Bin Muhammad Naftouyeh who was one of the grand Faqihs of Baghdad, had taken his lectures beside of a column in this mosque for more than fifty years. He never changed his place. Teaching in Mansour Mosque was the desire of many great teachers such as Yaqout Hamouy according to himself.

In the age of Fatemi khilafat era, the Al-Azhar Mosque of Egypt had been the significant cultural and scientific centre for gathering the scholars, especially the Shiite faqihs. Al-Azhar then, changed to a great university and many students from all over the world applied to study in this university passing the time. Gharvi’ein Mosque of Faas State was constructed in second half of the third Hijri Century and then changed to one of the most important cultural and scientific centres of the Morocco. Ghortabeh Mosque admitted the Europeans to study on Islam in this mosque and many of philosophers, Faqihs and poetries were graduated from the mentioned mosque. The seminary of Najaf which was established by Sheikh Muhammad bin Hassan tousi (god’s blessings to him) is located in or beside of the neighbour mosques of the Imam Ali (God’s greetings to him) holy shrine. Its history backs to thousands years back and many Faqihs and scholars were graduated from this seminary.  The grand Ayatollahs of Shiite world also have been gathered in the neighbour mosques of Imam Reza (God’s greetings upon him) and Hazrat fatemeh Masoumeh (God’s blessings to her) to teach for many years back. It was because of this high dignity of mosque in the Islam world that the colonialists have aimed these strong bases of Islam to destroy and achieve to theirs thirty goals. They tried to minimize the presence and role of mosques in the Muslims life. The present article tries to introduce the cultural management of mosque to achieve the great goals of the Grand Prophet of Islam (God’s greetings to him)

On of the factors of the efficient mosques is having fair management to manage and its affairs. The management ofd mosque is even more complicated rather than a business unit. Because the cultural management of mosque is faced to aims, subjects and results which are very important and complicated and needs more studying and attempt. We can define management as:

‘’ the scientific programming, organizing, supervision and logical use of means and resources to achieve the defined aims’’

Hence mosque needs to such management useful system which acts regularly and careful regarding the place and time conditions. It has to supervise on execution of cultural, scientific and educative programmes regarding the needs and requirements of various ages. The mosque manager has to attend the points in below:

1)      Programming:

Programming has many benefits which are listed briefly in continue:

Imam Ali (God’s blessing to him) said:

 أَمَارَاتُ‏ الدُّوَلِ‏ إِنْشَاءُ الْحِیَلِ’’

It means: the life of governments depend on their management power and programming

  التَّلَطُّفُ‏ فِی‏ الْحِیلَةِ أَجْدَى‏ مِنَ‏ الْوَسِیلَةِ» 

It means: carefulness in programming is the most important mean which causes to reduce the fault percentage

التَّدْبِیرُ قَبْلَ‏ الْعَمَلِ‏ یُؤْمِنُکَ‏ مِنَ‏ النَّدَمِ

It means: planning and management keep you protected from regret

أَعْقَلُ‏ النَّاسِ‏ أَنْظَرُهُمْ‏ فِی الْعَوَاقِبِ

It means: the wisest person who has insight to future


2)      Organizing:

Organizing includes some benefits such as:

-          Determining given tasks and missions

-          Creation of a synchronised environment

-          Integrated and hierarchical division of affairs

-          Achieving to the united management principle


3)      Leadership and guidance:

The successful manager is who has the ability of guiding and management of his team. These skills could be divided into three divisions:

A)     The technical skills which is the amount of personal knowledge, experience and specialties

B)     Cognitive skills which its roots backs to the manager’s skills in recognizing the cardinal issues in large scale

C)     Human skills which means the ability and power of working with people. The management board of mosque has to use some suitable methods in order to attract people. They have to choose participatory method of management among diplomatic, participatory, bureaucratic and totalistic methods. In this method, the manager invited the other to participate in works, decision making process and policy makings. Manager has to use the other thoughts to increase the output of his managerial system. He has to prevent to order by misuse of his dignity and official post.


4)      Supervision and controlling:

Controlling means ‘’ the process of the done works according to the determined programs and timetables regarding the targets in order to recognize the probably problems and variances’’

The process of supervision has to be very exact in mosques management otherwise the cultural and religious programs of mosque will become out of rule.

5)      Recognition of obstacles and difficulties in the process of decision making:

We have to recognize the problems and find the factors which reduce our work speed, especially the causes of putting pressure and disturbances.

6)      Consultation:

Consultation is very beneficial for us and one these benefits is inspiring the soul and feeling of responsibility in the members. It causes to create motivation among the members of a group to do their tasks. It is also a great supporter to achieve our given goals and being successful in our works. Imam Ali (God’s greetings to him) says:

لَا مُظَاهَرَةَ أَوْثَقُ‏ مِنَ‏ الْمُشَاوَرَة

It means: there is no treasure like consultation

مَنْ اِسْتَقْبَلَ وُجُوهُ الاراءِ عَرَفَ مَواقِعَ الخَطاءِ» 

It means: who accepts the other people’s ideas, will recognize his wrong works.

 Creation of closed friendship among the members is one of the other benefits. Holy Quran in Al-e-Emran chapter, verse no.159 emphasised on the Grand Prophet’s good behaviour with others as the main reason of people’s loves to him.

7)      Assignation of authority:

In this field the liability and capability of the assumed persons has to be regarded.

8)      Creating motivation among the people who attend mosques:

Most of the human activities is to achieve happiness and separation from unhappiness. The successful manager is who attend these issues beside of innovating new methods for in order to create motivation among worshippers.

9)      Establishment of cooperative charity fund:

The worshippers and charitable people could create a new bank account for mosques in order to help them to be improved. Our aim for establishment of these funds is aiding to the needy and poor people and young worshippers who want to start their married life. The real definition of establishment funds is according to our Grand Prophet and the Imams of Shiite’s view and words.

10)  Innovation:

Innovation is vital for any organization. Without innovation any organization is damned to be closed or change its system totally. The Imams have to manage their mosque carefully as the first manager of mosque in order to empower the religious potential of people and notifying them about political, social, scientific, and educative of the various castes of society.

11)  Attending the duties, dignity and position:

The manager of mosque has to be aware of his dignity and the vice of the God’s prophets in Creator’s houses (mosques). He has to go ahead in god’s desired way and people’s completion. He has to know himself as the God’s trustee in mosque.

12)  The characters of those persons who are appointed as teachers in order to education people are listed in below briefly:

a)      He has to be educated and learned person. He has to have the ability of explaining the day issues according to the needs and favourites of the youth. He has to know the talking techniques to be succeeded in transferring his concepts to the addressed people. For example he can introduce those people as instance that is favourite and known for the people who are his addressed. He has to transfer his concepts indirectly sometimes and not directly.

b)      He has to be faithful to his words otherwise his advises will not be effective. According to holy Quran:

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَکُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْکِتَابَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ

c)      It’s not recommended to use complicated phrases when Imam is talking to people. The Grand Prophet says: ‘’ be moderated in people guidance. Radicalism will damage religion.’’

We have to pay attention to this fact that all youth and younkers are not fostered in religious families. They have different religious interests and favourites which have to be regarded. The experienced teacher has to know his students and their personalities.

d)      Teaching has not to be cause of rejection of the other men aspects. For example, the human instinct has to be respected and not rejected. But it has to be guided in true way. We have to moderate the human instinct and put the human nature in the true way. Hence, everybody is not qualified to teach as a religious and educational guide.

e)      The speeches have to be short and brief. Long lectures are boring for listeners.

f)       He has to be expert in explaining the spiritual enjoys and ways. Some of the spiritual ways are description of facts and celestial world, some stories of the selected people by God, attractive unutterable facts of Salaat and its effects in political and social aspects.

g)      Having a simple life and well communication with people. We can refer to some of our narrations in this field:

Quran says:

 : «اذْهَبَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى* فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّیِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ یَتَذَکَّرُ أَوْ یَخْشَى

«الْإِنْسَانُ‏ عَبْدُ الْإِحْسَانِ

Imam Ali (God’s greetings to him) says:


On patience:

وَّلُ‏ عِوَضِ‏ الْحَلِیمِ‏ مِنْ‏ حِلْمِهِ‏ أَنَ‏ النَّاسَ‏ أَنْصَارُهُ‏ عَلَى‏ الْجَاهِلِ

الْحِلْمُ‏ رَأْسُ‏ الرِّئَاسَةِ


On taking easy:

الْعُسْرُ یُفْسِدُ الْأَخْلَاقَ



الرِّفْقُ یُیَسِّرُ الصِّعَابَ وَ یُسَهِّلُ‏ شَدِیدَ الْأَسْبَابِ»


Showing kindness:

قُلُوبُ‏ الرِّجَالِ‏ وَحْشِیَّةٌ فَمَنْ تَأَلَّفَهَا أَقْبَلَتْ عَلَیْهِ»  
و «التَّوَدُّدُ نِصْفُ‏ الْعَقْلِ»



The tie of people has to be respected. Imam Sadeq (God’s blessings to him) says:

صَلَاحُ‏ حَالِ‏ التَّعَایُشِ‏ وَ التَّعَاشُرِ مِلْ‏ءُ مِکْیَالٍ ثُلُثَاهُ فِطْنَةٌ وَ ثُلُثُهُ تَغَافُلٌ» 

13)  Collecting all the resources and facilities:

The successful manager has to collect the human resources, new methods and the required means in order to giving service to mosque. He should attract people to mosques.


14)  Establishment of the educational units:

Creation of research groups and scientific committee

15)  Innovation:

16)  The successful manager has innovation and new thought. Otherwise the young forces will become far from mosques

17)  Motivation:

Motivating is one of the efficient ways for attracting people to mosques. Motivation has to be enough strong as one of the attractive elements.

18)  Holding competitions:

Executing the scientific, sportive and artistic competitions is attractive for youth and helps to achieve the defined goals of mosques

19)  Introducing the succeed patterns, writing their adventures and having an interview with them (if it is possible)

20)  Inviting the youth and younkers to participate in mosques affairs and responsibilities in order to attract them to mosques

21)  Holding Jama’ah Salaat regarding the principle of briefness

The Grand Prophet of Islam (God’s greetings to him) says:

اذا صَلی اَحَدَکُمْ بِالنْاسِ فَلیخفّّفْ فَاِنَّ مِنْهُمْ الضَعیف و الکَبیر و ذالحاجه و اِذا صَلّی لِنَفْسه فَلْیَطول ماشاء

Imam has to hold the Jama’ah Salaat fast. Because there are some followers who are not enough strong to stand for a long time (such as children or elders)

22)  Establishment of attractive places for youth and younkers:

It means creating such suitable conditions to maximize the presence of youth in mosques. For example if some cultural centres are built beside of the mosque, the amount of youth who attend mosques will be increased. Some of these useful centres are:

Libraries, coffee nets, introducing the Islamic attractive websites, cultural-artistic activities centre and etc

23)  Analysing the audiences:

The audiences of the present article are the worshippers and all groups of the society who are engaged in mosques programmes.  They are categorized according to their characters, conditions, specialities and etc in various groups:

A)     Categorizing audiences according to their thought and beliefs:

Speaker has to know his audience and then, according to his or his conditions, the words of speaker will be arranged to say. His words have to be just clear and not too long or boring. Regarding thought and beliefs, we can divide the audience into three dimensions:

First: the unaware audiences

This kind of audiences, are unaware to their conditions and surrounded environment. Hence, if they are seduced, it is result of their neglect and external pressure.

Second: the doubtful audiences

The common way for talking to this group is use of comparison and logical view. Speaker has to use the suitable methods to clear the audience’s doubt or probably questions.


Third:  deniers

The denier audiences belong to two divisions: some of them deny the subjects because of their ignorance and they need some knowledge to be guided. But some of them are notified about the subject but try to reject it because the subject is not desirable to them. There is a big gap between these two groups. The ignorant people are the man of cultural invasion and have to be restricted.

B)   Audiences division according to their personalities:

1-      Some of audiences are interested to poems. So we have to manage some poetry sessions for this group to invite and attract them to mosques

2-      Some of them have nice voice and would like to sign for others. But we have to guide them into the true way. For example we can manage some Quran sessions and invite them to read Quran with their nice voice.

3-      Some of audiences are interested to arts and fine arts such as playing role in theatres. We have to use artistic language to transfer the religious values and culture to them. Hence, it’s recommended to compose a religious theatre centre to attract this group of audiences.

4-      Some of audiences would like to discuss philosophically and logically about various matters. So, obviously it is better to use this method to convince them.

5-      Some of audiences realize the religious fact just in the shape of story. Those people who are place in this group are children, younkers and elders also.

6-      Some of people are attracted and interested to religious concept just by taking a tour and trip for them. It is recommended to create the travelling programs for this group of people.

C)   Categorizing the audiences according to their age conditions, wills and values

Children (2-12 years), younkers (12-18 years), youth (18-35 years), mature and elders all have their wills and interesting matters to be discussed. But the main audiences of mosques are youth and younkers as we know who are considered briefly in below:

The characteristics of younkers:

1)      Tension time:

This is the first stage of adolescence and all of his past adventure play important role in creating this stage. The events and educational conditions of this stage also affects on his future. When he is changing fasting to become older, society will affect on him and more responsibility will be expected from him. That’s why we believe that mosque could play a prominent role in creation his future and personality in this stage.

2)      Independence:

In this stage, younkers want to be independent and separated from their childhood era. But of their characters which are not desirable for parents, are appropriated to their age. The high age difference between parents, teachers and children could increase this crisis and disagreement.

3)      Modernism:

In this stage, younkers would like to introduce their independency and leave his childhood characteristics. Then, they criticise their childhood era’s heroes such as their parents or teachers. Even sometimes they reject parents love to them that is the characters of their age.

4)      Intellectual growth:

In this level, they try to think more and deeper about past and future. Hence, his mind is not busy with the real things and what he sees. He can realize normally and gently his surrounded environmental issues. The domain of subjects which make their mind busy are vast and is created of various fields such as religious, moral, political, social, scientific and etc. So if his soul is filled with the false information and beliefs, his growth will be also affected by these obliquities.


The characteristics of the today youth:

1)      Many of our youth are hate of direct guidance and advise especially if you target them as the audience. In these cases, we have to use the Quran language to attract them. The holly Quran has mane verses on rejection of rap. We refer to these phrases of Quran:

«وَیْلٌ لِّکُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَة» ، « وَیْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِینَ»  و « وَیْلٌ یَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُکَذِّبِی

2)      Youth of today enjoy secretive sentences or phrases. That’s why they watch and read the movies and books more carefully. Quran is a book full of secrets and hidden corners which could be attracting for youth of today. If we introduce these characteristics of Quran to youth, naturally they will be interested to read and understand Quran.

3)      The youth of today is pragmatist and realist. So we have to talk about the real and existing elements instead of legends. No book is written realistic like Quran. It will be very amazing to discover for youth.

4)      The youth of 21th century is doubtful and full of questions. Hence, we have to be able to answer their questions. Just in this condition, the truth will become clear to them:

 «ذکر الیشیء مبهماً ثم مفسّرا اوقع فی النفوس

5)      They look for justice and freedom. They cannot accept the compulsory religious tasks if we cannot convince them about it. The Quran language is the only language which is able to transfer these concepts to them. Quran never force worshipping to man:

: «ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِیلِ رَبِّکَ بِالْحِکْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِی هِیَ أَحْسَنُ» 

6)      They look for the answers of their questions about the unknown questions. For example some of modern concepts such as Atom, Iron,… are given in Quran. if we could show these secretive and amazing verses of Quran rightly to our youth, then we can attract them to Quran easily.



According to the asserted words, mosque is the place of education and cultural-religious activities. But maintaining this base of Islam always attractive and amazing for people is the main expect. It was the subject of the main question of this article. Achieve to these holy goals depends on many factors which are described before. One of these factors is cultural management of mosques. But this management will be successful if the given points in the present article are regarded otherwise it will be the cause of falling mosque in a deep shaft.

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