Should Mosque be run like Businesses?

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By Ustaz Tarmizi Wahid


Yesterday, the New Paper wrote an interesting article. I got hooked when reading their “bait” on the first page with the statement: Should churches be run like businesses?

Of course that article is related to the current investigations being made towards some of Singapore’s Mega-churches.

Most of our mosques today are merely surviving financially. It is sometimes disheartening to see the condition of some of these mosques. We often see the persistent efforts made by staff and volunteers to raise funds and “stay afloat”.

Without associating or making a direct comparison with any of these Mega-churches, do you think our mosques should be run like businesses?

I invite anyone to share comments and thoughts. Thank you.
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  1. Here’s my 2 cents : I think that mosques, should not be run as a business. Muslim volunteers, philanthropists are the ones that are suppose to help build the structure of the mosque.

    If we were to have, shareholders, CEO’s, COO’s dealing with the day to day activities of the mosque, then the end result won’t be ikhlas.


  2. Waailaikumusalam dearest Ustaz.

    Business happens when a consumer buys a product/good/service. Whether there’s a profit or loss, it’s still Business. Of course no one prefer to make losses.

    So what is it that makes Churches run like a Business?

    I’ve been to Church Services before. The situation and experience is just like the picture you posted above.

    Believers of Christ “Donate” or do their “Business” generously and willingly. During their service, a donation box will be passed around. They can donate as much as they want. Don’t forget that do have to contribute 10% of their Payroll every month, once being a Member of the Church – I suppose.

    So why are they willing to that? What kind of Business Plan do they have?

    Christians are very friendly and overwhelmingly passionate. When new people join them, they will welcome them with two arms open wide. When they unite during services, they praise their Lord – Jesus Christ. They beg for forgiveness for their sins.

    But when there’s a revert in Islam, born-Muslim do welcome him/her with two arms open wide, BUT with one foot out of it.

    Christians are very open-minded. They do music, have live bands on stage. Sing along, Pop Rock songs for their love of Jesus Christ.

    Whether their Pastor/Leader is a moneygrabber or a sincere slave of Jesus, that I leave it to the benefit of the doubt. In any case, you can see Believers of Christ, like those Audiences in the picture, are there for one purpose.

    To celebrate their love for Jesus Christ.

    Definitely there are many other things that may also lead to how Churches run like Business, but for now, let’s Compare Churches and Mosques.

    In Christianity, you can see, the same 1000 people going to the same Church frequently.
    However, in Islam, one person can go to many Mosques. Despite the 5 times daily prayers, Muslims doesn’t necessarily need to go to the Mosques except Friday Solat Jumaat.

    In Christianity, whether it is Religious or Cultural, you can mix them both, they are much more “Flexible”.
    In Islam, especially in SouthEastAsia, you will be questioning whether is this a Sunnah, or is it Cultural?

    Christians dedicate their time in Churches to celebrate their joy and love for Jesus Christ.
    While Muslims, especially in Singapore, can’t see the clear difference between Culture and Religion. They fuse them both together, but it may be Haram to do so.
    It’s a question of do they go to their place of worship as a “Want”, or a “Need”.

    Youths are the next Generation of the Society. What can you hook them with?
    In Christianity, they do use live bands, rock pop music, they can add in Dance, they do it together, irregardless of Gender. And they are Advancing together with Modernisation. So they are always in Trend. If the Youths enjoy their time in Churches, won’t their Parents oblige them too?
    In Islam, can we do all that? If we do dances, will it be Malay-style? Is being Cultural = Trendy? Is too Trendy = Haram? We fear all these.

    In Churches, they can have various and tempting Business Plans where they can hook people easily. They are much flexible.

    In Mosques, what do we have? Or what can we have to hook them? Knowledge from Books? And the seperation of the Sexes – as in, can we have Girls and Boys doing the same activity (which involves touching) during an event?

    To sum up the comparison… In terms of Business.
    (1) Frequency of Patronage = Targetted Audience.
    (2) Religion VS Culture = Behaviour of Audience.
    (3) Up to date = Marketing/Business Plan.

    The question shouldn’t be “Should Mosque be run like Businesses?”

    The question should be…
    “Can Mosque be run like Businesses? If we can, should we?”

    However, in my opinion…
    Mosques shouldn’t be run like Businesses. Because for the loss during this life, and if the intention is good, Allah s.w.t. will definitely reward us in the Hereafter.


  3. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarahkatuh Utz.

    Firstly, I would like to say that I’m a revert, who was with an evangelistic church for 6 years. But now I’m a Muslim, BY CHOICE, and not by marriage or compulsion.

    I have done my fair bit of searching and researching for knowledge, with regards to religion.

    Back to topic, should mosques be run like businesses?

    No. If we do, what would happen to real genuine believers. Are we going to the mosque to pray because of Allah (swt) or because our clients, our future clients, our business is there? Or the girls there are pretty, and sexy, or the guys there handsome and cute? (Hence, the separation of the sexes, and covering the aurat)

    I know because I was there as a witness, seeing people dressing up to impress, mixing around and some honest guys told me there are there for the ‘babes’. I reasoned out with my leaders when I went to church in smart casual, but was chided for being sloppy. (Polo T, pants and track shoes)

    Therefore, taking religion and moulding it to suit our taste is not what our dearest Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us. That is why only 1 Holy Quran is passed down, not a translated or inspired version.

    We are always reminded we are to be geared up for the life in Akhirat, not this life.

    Wa’alaikumsalam Warahmatullahi Wabarahkatuh

    Firman Firdaus

  4. Should mosques be run like a business? The answer is a resounding YES.

    The purpose of any business is to make and keep customers. The business rakes in profit and use the money to make more and keep more customers. This cycle repeats and drives wealth and in turn drives the economy.

    Mosques need to run like a business because Muslims want accessibility and mosques in turn wants Jemaah. Without this proposition, what business should there be a mosque?

    If the teaching of Islam is adhered to in any application of life, any business would be halal, moderate and thriving.

    People, business is a science and didn’t our prophet reminds us the importance of scientific knowledge?


  5. Salam,

    I don’t think that mosque should be run like a business coz it is subjected to profit and loss and in this case, we can’t afford to lose.

    Some suggestions instead;

    1st, we should increase the contribution of workers towards the Mosque Building Fund to support the needs. If not us Muslims who support, then who else?

    2nd, update them via email or facebook on the need for donations or extra contributions. Some people do not read the newspaper and are not aware of this need. Some may also not frequent the mosque that often and thus do not have the opportunity to contribute via the donation boxes.

    Rex’s comment on the personality of some of the Muslims versus the Christians who are more friendly & seemingly compassionate is a good point to note. We should always donate a smile to fellow Muslims & Non-Muslims though we don’t know these ppl & be friendly & cheerful.


  6. In the Name of the Most Merciful and Benevolent.


    I bear witness that there is no God except Allah and Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h is Allah’s Messenger.

    What is good comes from Him, and not comes from my own weakness.

    in Singapore, when a mosque is to be built and/or upgraded, funds are partially contributed by MUIS and partially by the donors and I think by MCYS as well.

    Upon completion, the mosques facilities functions under the charitable acts of the kind donors.

    Throughout the years, scheduled mosques will have an island wide operation for donations to maintain its facilities.

    I have this impression that the funds were never sufficient as appeals for upgrading, for religious functions and ceremonies were ongoing for days, months and even years.

    Updates by each mosques shows that the monetary are still far off the desirable amount.

    I’m saddened by this fact.

    What I feel the mosques administartors should do is to try and raise money through some sort of investments.

    Let’s take a look at Jamiyah as an example. It is by far, to me, the most successful Muslim Organization in Singapore.

    From a humble origin, it has branched itself with 4 Homes, 7 Education Centres and a Food Catering Centre.

    Although Jamiyah still relies on kind donors, its ability to have some form of self-sustenance is remarkable.

    So yes, mosques should be allowed to run like a business so that upgrading wouldn’t be an obscurity, implementation and introduction of courses, seminars and many more reachable and made free if possible. What’s more, jobs are being created and what better than to work for the good of Islam and society.

    Taking a leaf from MUIS, portion of the donors can be part of a capital to venture into Islamic Investment Funds, with the permission and even a separate account by the donors.

    What needs to be in place as well are strict guidelines, clarity, transparency and accountability on the use of funds.

    Should any of the above provoked you in any manner or been incorrectly represented, I seek your forgiveness for being inconsiderate and misleading.

    May Allah shelter us from harm and provides us hindsight.


    MUIS Mosque Building Fund

    WAREES Investments Private Limited – MUIS appointed investment manager.

    Jamiyah Website

  7. Salaam to all,

    I think we first need to understand and define what business means. In the current context of business that we all know about right now, it is in the context of non-Muslims.

    The business that we know now it about making maximum profits with minimum or zero-loss, where all humans regardless of race, gender, religion, etc are the victims of the vicious cycle of businesses today.

    Why do I say this? Because they are not based on the business princples that is taught and exemplified by our leader, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Isn’t Islam the one and only religion that taught how to manage finances via Islamic Finance and the systemic and ethical principles within.

    Why are we seeing economic crises going on and people taking advantage of the loopholes of the well-entrenched finance and business principles that are being taught in business and finance books today.

    Clearly, these principles have not been sustainable and have fundamental flaws to have caused the worst economic crisis we have ever seen. I believe these are signs that God is showing us which direction we should be going and why we must support Islamic finance and business principles in the long term.

    So now, back to the original question if mosques should be run like a business?

    I would say YES, but not in the meaning and understanding of business that we see and understand in the non-Muslims’ understanding of it. We as Muslims and Muslimahs should pave the way for a business to be ethical from the start to the end.

    Which means that: Mosques should be managed professionally and ethically as a business based on the principles and guidance within the Al-Quran and the Hadiths Saheeh.

    I say, why should we follow the non-Muslims’ business model and business believe on how and what business is and should be?

    We have much knowledge of this world within Islam in the Al-Quran and the Hadiths Saheeh and bring those teachings to the current context that we live in today and innovate and redefine how and what business is and should be.

    We should have all Muslims and Muslimahs, our best intellectuals share and compound knowledge from all over, Arabs, UK, Americans, Malaysians, Indonesians and the world over, to discuss and share knowledge, and organize a world islamic businss forum on how Islam can redefine the business world and show how the Islamic system can show a sustainable and ethical model of and for a business.

    If we all do this In the Name of God, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful, Insya-Allah God will give us the light and guidance to show us how.

    But the situation now is sadly, we are seeing some mosques’ funds being managed wrongfully, unethically, and there are unnecessary costs and wastages involved; and even mosque politics going on, abuse of power, and mosque management missing the goal for the greater good and not using the donated funds wisely to the point that some mosques don’t seem to be well-maintained, etc. It is all very sad! How would ‘barakath’ come from God if these are some of the situations we are seeing in the mosque management?

    Think about it.


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