The Mission-Oriented Masjid

Masjids should be mission-oriented, purpose-driven.  I think we can all agree that the masjid of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was mission-oriented.  You couldn’t just pray and walk out of the Prophet’s masjid and assume that nothing else was expected of you.  If you were part of the Prophet’s community, you knew that you were expected to commit to the mission of striving in the path of Allah—committed to whatever “striving in the path” meant at that time.

If most Muslims come to a masjid today and think that their duty is to pray and that’s it, then the masjid is not mission-oriented—it does not reflect the characteristics of the Prophetic Masjid.  It has not successfully conveyed to attendees the mission of the masjid.

To be mission-oriented, the masjid must develop and then actively promote a clear vision of the masjid’s mission.  How can masjid attendees be motivated with a mission, if there is no clear sense of a mission?  The organizing principle is that members of an organization will work harder if they are motivated by a sense of the mission of the organization.

The reality, however, is that masjids do not devote time to developing a clear mission, and they devote even less time to promoting a mission.  The first job of a masjid is to develop the mission of the masjid, which means spending significant time on strategic planning.

Envisioning the Prophetic masjid, what are the various aspects of its mission?  Here are my conclusions.

  1. Grow and strengthen the faith, knowledge and character of masjid participants, including youth who will be the basis of future generations.
  2. Unite the hearts of all segments of the masjid community into a true brotherhood/sisterhood, based on mutual respect and love, and not based on ethnicity or class.
  3. Convey the life-giving message of Islam to the world in order to develop a better understanding of Islam and to build friendly relations with the public.
  4. Invite people to Islam with beautiful teachings.
  5. Defend Muslims and Islam when attacked.
  6. Contribute to the well-bring of society by working to uplift people from poverty and other social ills.
  7. Advocate and work for justice and righteousness in society, commanding what is good and forbidding what is evil.

My recommendation is that masjids spend a significant amount of time thinking out the various aspects of the mission of the Prophetic Masjid and then choice a few that will be the immediate focus of masjid endeavors.  After that, the masjid must develop a plan for implementing that mission and then actively promote that mission.



Author:  Dr. Ihsan Bagby
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies,
University of Kentucky

Researcher of mosques in America for the last 30 years.

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