Zafar Mehmood’s institute has taught 800 Imams what to say in Friday sermon

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa • 30 d ago
Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, Chairman, Zakat Foundation
Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, Chairman, Zakat Foundation


Malick Asghar Hashmi / New Delhi

Former bureaucrat Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood is generally known for his role in being a member of the Sachar Committee that prepared a report on the state of Indian Muslims and as the chairman of the Zakat Foundation, but very few people know that he is also involved in a campaign to make Khutba, the Friday sermon given by a religious scholar or an Imam at the mosque on Fridays more relevant and in tune with the changing times.

Syed Zafar Mehmood says that the Khutba is a kind of 'Information Technology', through which Prophet Muhammad used to exchange views on social, religious and other problems and issues 1400 years ago.

These days, generally, 'Surah Nahal' is recited by the Imams in the form of 'Khutba' read after the Friday congregational namaz in the mosques across India and also on Bakrid. Since it is in the Arabic language, ' the common worshipers are not able to understand the meaning.

This led Syed Zafar Mahmood to launch his campaign. Under the banner of 'Ashaba Suffa Institute for Imam and Khateeb', he has been trying to train and educate the Imams of the country's mosques. He calls his mission as an effort to “revive the 1400-year old Islamic Information Technology.”

In a conversation with Awaz-The Voice,  Syed Zafar Mehmood says, “With the change of time, our problems and needs have also changed, and therefore the importance of the message of Khutba has increased manifold. In view of this change, we are training the Imams (head of a mosque) are being trained to update them.”

He says that by organizing conferences and workshops under the banner of his institute, the imams are told to inform the namazis to make voter ID cards, Adhaar cards, etc.

The Imams must also be able to tell the worshippers how and where to link the Aadhar and say for example bank accounts. They must be able to motivate the Muslims to vote during elections. Besides, they should be able to create a campaign where people can exchange information about job opportunities and competitive examination schedules, etc.

Syed Zafar Mahmood says, “About 800 Imams from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal etc. have been trained so far. Apart from this, a conference of Imams was also organized at India Islamic Cultural Center in New Delhi.

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Explaining Islamic philosophy by quoting 'Surah Nahal', Zafar Mahmood says, "It mentions 'Adal-Ahsan'. Through this, there is mention of improving the erring person. “This is what we are trying to do with the help of trained Imams.”