Imams in Mumbai are dissapointed with the unfair treatment and poor pay. A selection of imams in the city have planned to approach the Bombay high court with pleas to act against the Mosque trustees.
At a recent meeting at Islam Gynkhana, in Marine Lines called by the NGO Social Educational and Welfare Association, several imams, muezzins and community leaders voiced their long pending demand to increase their salaries.
As we have previously discussed on ImamsOnline, the roles of a 21st century Imam are compromised of that of a councillor, public speaker and community organiser, it is essential therefore, that they receive a viable remuneration, rewarding Imams for their hard work and dedication.
In India, most Imams are paid less than Rs 10,000 a month, which equates to around £100. Imams argue that this does not cover their expenses, and therefore are “consulting lawyers and may petition the high court soon to direct the state wakf board and charity commission to fix a respectable amount as our salary. Trustees of most Mosques keep Imams poorly paid and vulnerable. Imams are hired and fired at the will of the trustees,” said Maulana Khalilur Rahman Noorie, president of the Imam organisation Tanzeem Imae Masajid.
Rights of the Imam
Taking into the account the duties and expectations of the Imam in contemporary society, it is crucial that employers i.e Mosques and Islamic Centres, afford them their employment rights as laid down in a formal contractual agreement between the Imam and his employer.
The professionalisation of the Imam as a career is crucial. Given what is expected of an Imam, it is only fair that there is an agreement between him and the Mosque/Islamic Centre on the terms of his employment and the correct procedures around grounds for dismissal and reporting grievances.
Below highlights some of the key rights that need to be afforded to an Imam in their initial contract:
- Clearly define when employment begins
- Clear working hours per week
- Details of key expected duties in addition to leading prayer
- Clearly defined p/a remuneration and method of payment
- Holiday entitlement per year and rate of pay (including bank holidays)
- Sickness/injury pay and conditions
- ‘Notice of Termination’ period for employer and employee
- Grievance procedures as stated in statutory rights
- Understanding of procedures and grounds for dismissal
- Clear pension schemes available
The ImamsOnline ‘Fair Wage Campaign’ hopes to act as a catalyst for discussions around defining the role of a 21st Century Imam across the world and instilling into Mosques and Islamic Centres the need to professionalise the employment practices concerning them.
It is crucial that Imams are respected for the hard work, commitment and services they provide to the community.