Kindly guide me…
1) What is the definition of mashura?
2) Is mashura same as a Jamaat meeting?
2) What can be discussed in mashura?
3) What cannot or must not be discussed in mashura
4) Is a masjid finances, masjid construction, appointment of executive and committee members etc. be done in mashura?
5) Can a masjid holding a Jamaat meeting allow ladies to be present and participate (give suggestions/comments
6) Should a masjid hold mashura for its brothers and not hold Jamaat meetings to include ladies even if purdah will be observed?
Thank you for your response/rulings on these queries.
As Salaamu Alaikum,
1) A mashura, which in reality is pronounced as mashwara in Arabic means a consultation, a council, an advice or a suggestion.
2) Mashwara is not (generally) the same as a meeting. A Mashwara (sometimes called Shoora ) is where people are consulted on different matters of public importance. In Islam, those who are made in charged of certain affairs are required to consult those who are connected to those affairs. An Imam should consult his people, an Ameer should consult those under him, a ruler should consult him ministers etc. etc.
A meeting occurs when people come together to discuss and plan, or make collective decisions regarding different matters regarding an association, organization etc. The Arabic word for meeting is ‘Ijtima’, and not mashwara (as is sometimes understood). Howbeit, both mashwara and meeting can be used interchangeably.
3) Based on the above explainations, the discussions which can be held in a
Mashwara are those which require the Jamaat’s input for the Imam/Ameer to make a decision (regarding any important matter of the Jamaat). For example, if the Imaam wants to introduce a class in the masjid, he may want to get a feedback from the Jamaat regarding the day and time of such a class, since they will be the ones who will attend. Similarly, if he wants to have a monthly lecture, he may wish to consult the Jamaat on the day, time and choice of lecturer in order to make his decision. These and other similar discussions take place in a mashwara. In these cases, the Imam is not seeking an approval to have a class or a lecture, instead, he is consulting them to get a feedback which helps him in making a decision.
4) Matters that need an official approval of the Jamaat like construction, finances, appointment of committee members and other similar things should be done in an official meeting rather than a mashwara. In these matters you need an official approval of the wider Jamaat which will then become a decision.
5) Ladies should not attend Jamaat meetings, even if purdah is observed. Through the period of the early centuries of Islam, such a practice was not allowed, and no permission of this can be found in the sunnah. Women who have concerns regarding matters that are connected to them can send their husband, father, son or brother who will raise these concerns in the Jamaat meetings, which will then be addressed.
Although a woman is allowed to attend masjid, the Prophet (SAS) clearly informed the women that they should perform all their Salaah at home. A woman’s place is not in the masjid and they must not be incharge of its affairs. It is for this reason, Islam did not make Juma essential upon them, and they are not required to come for Salaah in Jamaat or the Taraweeh Salaah.
6) There is no reason and requirement of holding Jamaat meetings to include ladies. There is no precedence for this, and there is no teaching of Islam which indicates to this allowance. The masjid is the house of Allah, and it must function in accordance to the teachings of the Prophet (SAS).
Women have been categorically informed by the Prophet (SAS) that they should perform their Salaah at home. However, if they wish to attend the masjid, then a special facility must be made to accommodate them. This however, should be the only objective of a woman attending the masjid. Besides this, she has no other business in the masjid. Her duty is to look after the needs of her husband and family members, while men have been entrusted with the responsibility to maintain and look after the masjid affairs. Hence, since it is the men who have been given this responsibility, then they will be the ones to host, conduct and attend meetings concerning the jamaat activities.
As mentioned before, if women of the Jamaat have concerns that are connected to them, then they can convey this information to the management via one of their Mahram (blood relative or husband) or can even write a letter.
During the time of the prophet (SAS), the four righteous khalifahs and the early generations of the pious predecessors, the women’s connection to a masjid was limited to that of performing Salaah (if they attended, but the majority would not attend). They were not allowed to become involved in any affair or activity of the masjid. It is the males who were entrusted with the responsibility of all affairs and matters of the masjid’
Many of the authentic and reliable scholars from the Muslim countries have clearly stated that it is not permissible for a woman to speak aloud in a gathering that her voice is heard by non-blood relative males. In Islam, the voice of a woman is private and can be a means of attraction to the opposite sex. Hence, women must adhere to the sacred laws of the Shariah on these matters.
And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan