SRINAGAR: In order to manage the pressing shortage of qualified Imaams, Khateebs, and Muazzins in various mosques and shrines under its jurisdiction, the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board has initiated a drive to make recruitments, it was officially learnt.

Children pray on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr prayer at Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday May 24, 2020 in Srinagar. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The board has announced its decision to initiate a recruitment drive aimed at identifying and appointing capable individuals to fulfil these vital roles.

Imam’s lead the prayers five times a day and Muazzins call for prayers. Khateeb’s usually preside over the Friday congregations and special occasions within mosques and shrines.

The scarcity of competent religious leaders in Jammu and Kashmir has led to a void in congregational duties, particularly in mosques and shrines where the absence of Imaams, Khateebs, and Muazzins has been felt keenly. Reports suggest that not only is the deficiency a result of an overall shortage of qualified persons but it is also compounded by the advanced age of some of the current incumbents, rendering them less effective in carrying out their duties.

The public has increasingly voiced its concern over the lack of well-qualified religious leaders, prompting the J&K Waqf Board to take action. Finally, the board has made the decision to make recruitments to bridge the gap.

An official document offered the eligibility for the positions though it did not specify the number of positions available with the Board. It did not offer any idea of the remunerations or salary that the Board will be paying.

To be eligible for these esteemed positions, the Waqf Board has outlined a comprehensive set of criteria. The prospective Imaams and Khateebs must demonstrate proficiency in the Tajweed-o-Makharij of the Quran, hold at least a 10th-grade education, possess a Molvi Faazil Certificate Course from a Sunni Hanfi Institute, and preferably have a background in Mufti studies.

Besides, candidates are expected to have a deep understanding of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, using the teachings of Sufiyah-e-Kiraam as a guiding light. The board also seeks individuals with a broad knowledge of religious sciences, modern subjects, and effective communication skills.

Importantly, the candidates are required to promote peace, harmony, and unity within the community while abstaining from divisive sectarian matters. A profound understanding of Fiqh matters in light of the Quran and Hadith, along with unwavering Sunni faith and Aqeedah, is also a prerequisite.

A local newsgatherer, KNS said the Board Chairperson expressed the board’s intention to recruit younger individuals with Islamic Studies degrees who can lead prayers and congregations effectively. “We respect our Imams and preachers, but there should be an age limit to serve the community. Those who will lead prayers and congregations should be of a certain age and hold degrees,” she was quoted as having said.

In a bid to find the right candidates, the J&K Waqf Board will soon open applications for interested individuals, followed by a rigorous interview process to ensure the selection of the most qualified and suitable leaders for the revered positions of Imaams, Khateebs, and Muazzins.


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