Tom Facchine – [Ep 03] Btm Podcast – The Imam Crisis In America

Tom Facchine
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AI: Transcript ©
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Smilla hamdu lillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah holla early or savage Marine. Welcome back to behind the member bloopers blueprints for a better Masjid. I think that's what we call it.

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Tom, it's awesome meeting you for the first time in my life. Yeah. Shala. You know, I remember growing up here, I open you too. And there's a podcast that just aired between me and you. It's just, I feel bad for the internet. I guess we should go on tour, we should just like skip on to every single podcast, we'll have you on either committee. We're on Yaquina already, it will be on yours. No, no, what else you got me thinking Muslim, we can go on, just keep on going. Tag Team later.

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But you know, some of them are for wider consumption. And I believe a discussion like this in sha Allah who will be for a tighter audience with differing impact in sha Allah, across generations. So welcoming our viewers in case this is their first time.

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We are trying to think

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about our communities lovingly and critically, at the same time trying to strike that balance, trying to figure out for everyone that's involved or wants to get involved in Islamic work or community work in particular, Masjid orientation, or, you know, Muslim oriented for the most part, how can we do better? How can we play catch up a little faster?

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How can we even develop the infrastructure that goes on notice and then the costs arise later in terms of us trying to scale and grow and, and be more efficient? In case

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I guess it set the stage for this episode in sha Allah, which will be about religious leadership in our massage and religious leadership in our centers. The first two episodes we spoke about when messages disappoint just like a high level on, you know, why people get disillusioned and where we must think of ways to level up. The second episode was the costs, it was a double clicking on the very real, you know, travesty and tragedy

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of people drifting from the masajid. Or actually, what goes on notice is the vast majority never enter it to begin with, in the western context in the American Muslim context. So inshallah we want to speak about religious leadership. And it's a tough one, to be honest, not just because the challenges are so many, but because one of the

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blind spots I think a lot of people have when trying to better their centers is the idea of what is the perfect model. And without turning these into like a management discussion, we're gonna have a lot of those on with like, subject matter experts in sha Allah, but there is no perfect model, right? Yeah, it's very, like, locally determined. Yeah. And fees, right. Like, do we have resident scholar? Are we talking about like a religious director? Or are we talking about like a pastor type figure, imam or just the preacher or because like, I remember, maybe this is a good stat to set the stage and sort of get you to Inshallah, open up for us. These articles, you know, going around, I

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saw one from political and otherwise, they say there's an aggravated sense there's a crisis among American Muslim mosques, due to a shortage of Imam and aggravated shortage of Imams where more than half of the mosques don't have a full or part time Imam. But check this they say they define this as this has masajid scrambling Friday morning for a hotly.

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I'm like, wait, what that's like, that's how low the bar is right now. Like an imam just means someone who's there 20 minutes a week or 30 minutes to, you know, share a few and shirtless inspiring words. And so what's that's not that's actually not what's happening. It was the article written by Muslim or non Muslim, I believe it wasn't by Muslim. Yeah, well, you can tell because, you know, the mesh, the masajid find a way to have a theme. And that's part of the problem, right? Because there's a bunch of people who are non trained, non professional, sort of people who can step in for a hubba. But it really, you know, I think sheds light on all the other things that any man

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was expected to do that they really are, they feel it, or they feel the pain. It's really

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the most and it is a frenzy. I mean, honestly, you and I are in WhatsApp groups, we see the job descriptions that are thrown around. And I think at the same time that not only did miss did masajid wake up to the fact that a lot of people are leaving Islam.

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You know, to say nothing of the people who never come to the masjid like you've already covered but even the people that come to the masjid, a lot of the youth we're using, we're losing a lot of the youth, first of all, and a lot of masajid are waking up to the fact that it can't just be one

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person, right? Which gets into some sort of like expectations of what is the man position? What was it back home? What should it be here, et cetera, et cetera. So it's like those two things happening. All the sudden masajid artists, yeah, I we do feel a scramble, I feel the scramble, I see every week, you know, different job openings. I just got yesterday, like somebody

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of all the massage that I've toured, I think 70% of them just like to pull a random number, like, definitely over half of them have offered me a position. And I'm fully I'm more than fully, I'm 1.1 and a half employed. Right. So the need is dire, is dire is dire. But that doesn't necessarily mean because, you know, you and I are also in many, you know, circles and groups of stuff have to lobby elements, stuff like that other Imams, and a lot of folks, they're either turning up their nose.

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And that's not them that's like, just like, what it is like, they're, they're not impressed with the masajid what they're offering, first of all, don't see it as realistic. Or there's a lot of women or Imams that are trying to get out of it. You know, and I'm like, maybe half of one, like, you know, like, I sympathize with that, because of all the sort of institutional approach to what or confusion around what religious leadership should be. So as long as there is, you know, I used to remember being of those who parroted like we need, you know, better hot leaves, we need people who speak better English, and you know, not as much of an accent and all that is true, all that's true. But in

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hindsight, I remember the person who sort of looped me into the masjid was a person who could not speak a lick of English. It was just them being available for me with a little bit of like a language barrier, but And it reminded me the difference between like a preacher and a pastor, right, a pasture is people that think I'm sort of

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different doctrine. Yeah. The shepherd of humans. Yeah, exactly. So the pastor is the person who cares and goes out looking for people as opposed to just someone who's there if you come my way, I got something to say to you. Hopefully, you know, it tickles a good spot inside you. Big difference, right? I'm not the man was not just someone to share some charisma or the priest is not is someone who you come to for the confession, whereas the pastor is the one that goes out.

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You know, subhanAllah it got me thinking about the Hadith share have of the Prophet alayhi salatu salam when he he's speaking about the qualifications of an imam like just prior Imam right. He says, you know, most Quran, most sunnah, you know, first to make a joke, if not in the eldest of them seniority and age.

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And then he says at the end, and this sort of supersedes all he says whether your mana Raju Raju laffy Soltani, but no one is to lead in the domain of someone else. And so like the staple Imam, right, is the more entitled than even the guy with the nicer voice, or the guy with the more charismatic recitation, and that's profound, you find that right, you find that in massage and, you know, you find like a leader, you know, who's been there who's put in the work that has the sort of, you know, top dog sort of thing. And they're not they don't have the most grand memorized Yeah, they're not no, absolutely perfect. So why aren't there imams in that sense in the pastoral sense in

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massages so like if we are scrambling to find healthy herbs then we even have less everywhere we go everyone's offering job offers, I think yes, the massages are bleeding talent because they're not qualified to retain talent and we're gonna talk about that in in sha Allah in detail in this episode otherwise, but also the masajid

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I would say and I you can agree disagree or compliment because I know there's many reasons but the masajid also are misreading qualification. Oh big time. Right. Like you said you want someone there to gutted out the non glamorous role part or full time is far more important than someone who's going to

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you know, lose the crowd. I don't mean that in a derogatory way but who the crowd in a nice way momentarily and then disappeared? Yeah, right. Iman boosters are some people called vanity metrics, right? And there's even though now that we're in the age of social media, you know, some of the bigger massage, they look at stuff like how many followers you have, you know, how many, whatever subscribers you have on YouTube and things like that. And that's really really strange, right? Yeah, it shows I know we're gonna get there. So I don't want to jump the gun but like, what are all the different sorts of things that we're hoping out of religious leadership?

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Because reach is one thing. Yeah, right. But that's one thing among many things. You also need longevity sustainability. You know, you need somebody who, like you said somebody who's gonna go out to the people and somebody who's going to be there for people when they come in.

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And that's one reason, right? Yeah. One reason why there aren't enough.

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There isn't enough religious leadership and our massage it is because we are misreading qualifications. Yeah, definitely think it's settling, when in fact, that could be the more important factors, right, someone to that's in it for the long game willing to sacrifice themselves. Why or other reasons you think that you find massage is resistant to hiring or hiring faster, or even masajid that make it a priority to hire somebody who's going to stick around, don't always give an ecosystem where someone's going to stay around. Okay. And that's the other thing too, whether that has to do with empowering a leader, you know, it's famous that a lot of masajid, totally micromanage

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their religious leadership,

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but in to religious decisions, where they have no business talking about anything,

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you know, undermine sort of an even humiliate, like to be honest, like to some of the stories that I've been made aware of, like, actually humiliate the religious leadership, and then expect people to stay around, you know, that's like, it's just not gonna happen like that. You know, there's, and I could tell a lot of stories, you know, because, you know, just from the other Imams and the colleagues or that we have, you know, for example, there was one email. I know, that was in the Jamia with. And, you know, I'm not gonna say where they're, where they're at. But, you know, the expectations, first of all, are unrealistic, especially for somebody who has a family. Okay. So, you

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know, five prayers a day,

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six days a week, sometimes seven days a week. Okay? One morning, he is on his way out the door, to go to his car to get to a fetcher. Okay? And there are fire trucks, like the alarm in the fire alarm and his apartment building was like going off and fire trucks had come to the building. Okay, and the fire truck was blocking him from leaving. Alright, so I guess they'll mess you'd like, you know, 15 minutes later, whatever. They already prayed. You know, the director executive once he heard hears about it, because they usually don't go to ledger. That's another problem. You know, it sounds like Where were you? Okay, he explained to them, whatever, whatever. And then the response is, you

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should have left earlier.

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Right. Right. That's, that's typical behavior. Right, you've got other massage other talk with them. I know that are that are Imams. There is some, there's somebody in every community. And the thing is, you know, we have to stick up for each other. Because, for us, we take the spiritual training, and we're like, the law, and we're like, you know, yeah, I'm gonna take it and this is just my father and like, whatever. But then you don't, but then you don't fall out of the Masjid. Yeah, it's just, it's just very discouraging, or it starts having you look at the exit sign, right? Like, there's like, you know, and I've faced a little bit of this in my community, but I know somebody

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else who faced it way more, where somebody is just like, harping on every single religion, they just have, they think they know, and they like, are really just like not, they don't even have the tools to have an argument about whether it's a fifth opinion, or whether it's a decision that a man makes, you know, has to do with it within, like, his expertise, you know, and they're just gonna like hammer and hammer and Hound this person and Hound this person, and like office hours and text messages and emails and stuff like that gaslighting, and it's like, you know, at some point, when is the board's gonna step in for the mental health of the men? Right, and be like, You're out of line.

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This is our Imam he's entrusted to these things, he knows better than you do. So shut up. Right? How many massages? Do you know that would do that?

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Maybe, I don't know, count them on one hand, you know, but seriously, so it's like, so we're talking about an ecosystem, right? Because it's like and and there's there's several different ways in which it's an ecosystem, it's an ecosystem, that the Imam needs support, the Imam needs to be protected, the Imam needs to be able to have like, goals and aspirations and be facilitated towards those aspirations and grow, right, like mentorship and continuous learning and stuff like that. All these sorts of things. And so if what happens too often is the the messages you know, let's say they get there, you know, the, who they want with their qualifications, turn over the keys, like you're on

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your own discipline law, you're going to be sort of empowered sometimes, you know, empowered enough to get the blame when things go wrong, at least.

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You know, and then act surprised when he wants to move on. And in two or three years, it gets thrown to the ground or in burnout or things like that. So I I met a brother who's actually a consultant for nonprofits. It's like a childhood friend of mine actually, we crossed paths at at Mass Akena last December in Chicago. And

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I almost wish he didn't

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turned my attention to something. He said Mohammed, have you noticed? How stroll through the bazaar? Almost all the

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founders presidents of relief organizations are former Imams Allahu Akbar. Wow. And then I stopped for a second. And I ran them through my head. And I said, Oh my God, of course, this is honorable work. Yeah, of course. No, we need more of it. Right. But why did they take it up?

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Because they bled out of the massage, of course, the masajid just, I'm not productive here. Let me be productive somewhere else. And I was like, Oh, my goodness. Wow. And then I recall, I recall so many horror stories. And yeah, I know one. Mmm, I we should not mention too many of these stories. You're right. Let's move on, because you did touch on so many important points.

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He tried his level best 10 years ago, to

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insulate his community from divisive subjects. Arab Spring, 10 years ago, everyone sort of like map the firestorm was imported within these American Muslim communities right from the Middle East. And every time people would bring questions his way, he did his level best to not share his opinions. Till like, one time, a leadership figure in the masjid publicly calls him out and tells him is this president Muslim or not?

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And so he sort of had to gently what? How gently Can you dismiss the question?

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And so shortly thereafter, behind closed doors, among sort of a bunch of a handful of people, that same person asked the Imam to go make him a cup of tea. Oh, deliberate humiliation, right? Go make me a cup of tea. He's just, you know, making a point here. Yeah. And the man walked out, you know, I, I don't need to be here. I never wanted to be an imam. My whole life. I've been leading thought I was I was 12 years old. I have a master's degree in Islamic law. I'm an entrepreneur. I've been doing import export all over the globe for sort of things got complicated.

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And I think that's maybe to your point of

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what is the man like, yeah, who? Isn't he an employee? Yes, sort of he is an employee in the sense that he's on payroll, he better be on payroll, if you think that, you know, someone can sort of, you know, eat and drink is in a hadith, right? In the wrong sense of, I know, there's Hadith about the end of time.

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But that sort of hyperbolic misunderstood notion that defies laws cosmic order and doesn't respect, you know, the laws of nature. This is just ridiculous. Yeah. And no, they're accepting a salary because they're forced to accept the salary. Yes. And the brother, actually, the consultant said to me, you know, who stays in the massage and now, those who can't do anything else, and I was like, Ouch, that hurts. So all these people that are bleeding, it's because they know they can do better in Dunia and Dean, right. And so no health insurance No, like, whatever. Like most massage, like I'm accepting a lower salary. Yeah, right. And everything that comes with the job of chaos that we

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should get to in a second. That's part of empowerment, right? How do I empower to actually feel like because they believe in the mission, yes. You know, I don't want them to hop up or the hola Juan.

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When Abu Bakr became the Khalifa, the Imam right after the Muslims, he caught him in the market. He said, What are you doing? He said, the family of the Khalifa needs to eat.

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He said to him, the affairs of the Muslims and the affairs of the Khalifa his family can never be reconciled. And he forced him to take a salary so that he could dedicate himself freeing them up for the OMA and beautifully, of course, overcrowded lawan had, he slipped the festal and passed on what he had his estate dedicated elsewhere, in case he over, consumed those pennies he was getting, may Allah be pleased with him. But that's the idea, right? We're forced to take, we don't want to take so many of us it is really a passion. It's not a profession. Yes, yes. on payroll because it needs to be. But I am here for a mission. What is that mission cheerful, but, and I just gonna put out

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real quick if you look at the org chart, not the most masajid have org charts. But for those who do this are guitars so an org chart is supposed to give you a bird's eye view breakdown of like how like, what's the reporting? What's the structure? What's the hierarchy, like whatever closed workflows, all these sorts of things like so that's, that's a whole other problem about how, you know,

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incompetent might be a harsh word, but like, lacking competence, what's a little bit nicer for me?

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Okay, yeah, the most masajid are, but if you were to draw up like just a de facto org chart of most masajid, the man would be on the same level as the maintenance guy.

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That's how they're treated most most, you know, when it comes to like viewing them as an employee that needs more nuance than that. Yeah.

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Yeah, exactly. It's like so you know, and this happened actually, in our machine, right? It's like, the Imam doesn't know if he has a vote on the executive committee or what what his sort of leadership is. And a lot of times it's informal. Well, you know, whatever it's like, okay, well, let's like get some clarity here. And then someone will pipe up and say, well, he's an employee, just like the guy who takes out the trash, right? It's like, well, strictly speaking, legal, no disrespect to taking out the trash. No disrespect to him. Yeah. But it's like, you know, I thought that you wanted to hire that person, as a community leader and somebody who actually would guide,

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right, and you're saying you can't have to have a vote because he received some sort of pay for it. I mean, that's, that's a whole other issue. But it's structural. So it's an existential issue, right? Like, I want to structure my organization, right. If we have sort of management people listening to us, or Masjid volunteers or leadership listening to us, I want to structure my place based on the objectives of my place. What is the objective of this place? Is this place? What does existence mean, existentially. Is it a social center? Or is it sort of a religious institution or a religious institution? It has to be religiously informed? That's right. And so many farmers edges

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problems would get solved if they were religiously informed. Yes. Does Ardene not offer solutions? You know, you know, when I think of the

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the sisters issue, right, our sisters get the short end of the stick and so many massage. Yeah, right.

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This hadith actually has two benefits related to discussion that hadith of have is you have the Lavon. And buddy when longer Hadith she's asking him why the cabinet is a square, not a rectangle, she said in the coma Kitakata beam will never call your people. It's like they ran out of money. And so they they created the hedges to you know, account for the rest of the true borders of the cabin. So you make the offer on that for a full complete circling of the cab with off. But then he said she told him

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or he said to her and they raised the door of the cabin the reconstruction so that Quraysh could be a gatekeeper, and let into the kava, who they want and keep out of the cabinet exclude from the GABA who they want. And then he said, and we're your people, not recently, disbelievers. Oh Aisha, I would have tore down the kava, and rebuilt it upon its original parameters, original foundation, with Rahim Allah is set up. And so like in the one sense that he's informing how the cabinet should to be, yeah, you direct that.

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In the other sense. He's also the best. The religious leadership, though the inheritors of prophetic guidance. They're directing on how gradual the process should be what the priorities should be. See, but not right now. This is right and wrong. And we're going to pick our battles, because that's what the Prophet taught us, not a solo setup. But if you never open up to the Imam, what's the vision? What's the trajectory? Where should we be? What should it look like? Yeah, major plans strategic planning. That's the thing. And that's the other thing, too, is that, you know, the need is so great. I mean, we'll talk soon about, you know, the different expectations for any ma'am, quote,

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unquote, back home versus here in North America, you know, that, oftentimes, the need is so great, the programming needs are so great that the Imam is so engrossed in daily activities, that he has no opportunity even to look up and see, like, what's our three year plan? What's our five year plan? What's our 10 year plan? Where are we going within a strata management had empowered him theoretically, the overburdening of the workload doesn't actually allow that know. And that's where some masajid are starting to wake up, and they're starting to recognize that it does not, it's not possible that one person can perform this job that you need, you know, somebody, at least one person

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to handle sort of day to day execution and another person to be involved in strategic planning and sort of, you know, see the the roadmap and things like that. But the other thing is that, you know, I think a lot of masajid they have, they have trouble when it comes to their governance and their sort of executive leadership, stepping back once they do have like an email, because you know, a lot of times you have the scrambling massage, or whatever they make, do, they have their health leaves, and they have their processes and stuff like that. But then it's almost like they don't recognize that well, okay, if you've been thinking, well, we want to see man we want we want any man, then you

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get the man last time to step back. Right? If you trust them, if you did your due diligence, you did your homework, and the person is obviously respect needs to be earned, and all that sort of stuff. But, you know, a lot of times those structures that were sort of, you know, sort of stopgap solutions continue. Right. So now you have and I think that leads to a lot of emails being sort of undercut and undermine as well, because now you've got, you know, yes, the Imam should be involved in strategic planning and should have a say in, in what are the priorities of the organization? What are we fundraising for? Do we have any capital projects, like you know, all these sorts of things,

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you know, and if you know the leadership kind of understands it, well that's that's our terrain.

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Only right then. Okay. And maybe there's a situation what's his terrain only? Yeah, like that's I found that effective at least Yeah. I don't mean that in in sort of

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a rhetorical sense. I mean, fine. Okay, this is your job. Yeah. And I will have lesser involvement there as a religious leader.

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What is my job? Yeah, and you will have lesser involvement there as an administrative leader because there has to be sort of like a social contract between us every org is gonna have to figure out their own solution at every phase in their journey when I came to my masjid, and I don't mean that we have the ideal or anything, but I found it useful, that I stipulated for myself a condition and for them a condition I said to them, listen, on the administrative front. Anything that is not clearly haram, like categorically, you know, a matter of unanimous agreement between the scholars something, I will not touch it, I will not impose my my training, my legal training within a

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particular school of Islamic law on you. That's not my place. If they're all going to say it's wrong, I'm going to have a veto anywhere in the organization. This is a religious organization.

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And they accepted that and I said, I will stipulate for you.

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And I will stipulate for myself, that on the religious front, the pastoral educational front, I'm making those determinations. And unless it's like categorically illegal in the local laws, and I'm oblivious to that, right, or you guys all agree that there's going to cause a meltdown and sort of jeopardize the

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the longevity of the organization itself or its survival. You don't have a veto. Yes, not yours. If it's truly that dangerous, then you need another religious director. Yep. But so long as I'm here, you're gonna have to defer to me or else. I mean, this just sounds a business right? You don't hire smart people to tell them what to do. Right. So the administration is assumed to be smarter, or more available, or more competent to do the administration fine. Their religious leadership should be assumed and trusted as more competent and available and dedicated to to that front, you know, shift. I want to ask you about other reasons why people are not interested in hiring to begin with, and

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then we'll circle back if you don't mind to the empowerment factors. I've heard

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people openly say we don't want the headache of any mom. Like just meddling. Why do I want someone to come here and tell me how that and haram and all this other stuff and just let them come? I'll give him his gas money. Give your Michaels and just take a hike and you don't stop there? But well, a lot of people they want they also want the masjid back home. Right like they they consider that the machine is just for the prayers. Maybe a taffy some nostalgia? Yeah, and then that's like that's like all of this. You know, you start having too many young people making noise too many converts weird people were looking people off the street you know, open houses, things like that. People

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always complain right? They think oh, it's the machine like the machines are for a law he was you know, for Salah and there's there's a wedge there there's a point but a lot of people have a very very narrow understanding about what not a place for growth and change in education. Exactly. Because and we were talking about this you know, off camera is like what is the masjid in Medina or the masjid in in you know, Cairo or whatever, it's locked

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most of the day, and then we'll add then comes and opens it up. Except for the big big massager that people like you know, go for, you know, to visit but you know, the normal I the masjid is opened up for prayer time. And then the Imam rolls in and the comma sounds and the pray prayers. And after all, so he reads a hadith and then everybody goes home. And they rely on the sort of, you know, inheritance of culture and the extended family units and all the other things that people will take for granted, quote unquote back home to do the other stuff like that.

00:29:06 --> 00:29:37

Seen as the disrupter of what I'm used to and what feels good. They just don't see it as necessary. Yeah, they don't see the value that's added intrusive Yeah, it's like why would we want to be doing anything other than why have all this this sort of stuff in the message? The message is just a message feed and in reality is an Islamic and short sighted Yeah, how long is that going to last? Right? Very, very, you know, and that's why more people are waking up and more institutions are realizing that yeah, that's not going to work like as people flee from Islam or you know, leave Islam in droves. Let me

00:29:39 --> 00:29:43

represent for a second those who may be listening who

00:29:45 --> 00:29:59

are maybe earlier in their startup have religious institutions centers masajid who fear the cost of hiring any man I get this one a lot as well. Oh, sure. So again, oh, we kind of hired him right now and they will community grows a little bit. Um, we're gonna hire anyone.

00:30:00 --> 00:30:37

I build it and they will come. And that's, that's what it is right? It's like urine, the Imam is the one who's going to add the most value to your community. Personnel always right, like much more than having people will go out of their way to pray in a cramped Masjid where there's no space, they have to pray outside or whatever, if the hope was going to be good and relevant, and stick with them, and they feel like it's going to add value to their lives, if they can come to the Salah, and have a cathartic experience with their Creator and things like that. Like, that's what people you know, to use a phrase, it's not literally true, but we'll pay good money, right, and they'll vote with their

00:30:37 --> 00:31:16

feet. You know, and we saw this honestly, in Utica, because it's the it's important, the machine has to be professional. Right, the services have to be professional and professionalized. And the first thing that you have to professionalize the man position, because the level of football that you're going to get from any amo is going to be inferior, in general, to something that someone who was training is normal, right. And we've seen people like in our neck of the woods, like vote with their feet, you know, if there's, you know, once we started, like a week, we start getting a ton of people, right, just because, you know, if the HUD was going to be nice, gonna be relevant is going

00:31:16 --> 00:31:51

to professional, it's gonna be an English, the youth are gonna understand it, right? People show up, and people actually become attracted to it. And if the donors need to be convinced, and that's going to raise your donations, that's going to do all this other stuff. That's not necessarily the only reason why you want to do it. But there's nothing, you know, you're not adding value to anybody's lives. If you don't have a professional event. That's just the so what growth so even what growth you're waiting on? What growth are you waiting on to hire any amount? And here's the thing, too, it's like, hiring any man was like paving the roads? Right? If the government makes it a priority,

00:31:51 --> 00:31:58

they find a way to pave the roads. Yeah. If the government doesn't make it a priority, I'll always have an excuse to not do it.

00:31:59 --> 00:32:15

It's the same thing. You know, it's like, do you do you have? Do you ever, like, not buy food? Do you ever like not eat? No, it's a priority. So you find a way? Right? And that's what it is, you know? So to see it as

00:32:17 --> 00:32:34

crudely a generator of funds, the bottom line, right? Well, that was important paradigm shift for a lot of people. And I always tell them this that, you know, I are on the has money, let alone those who came here for the milk and honey, that rhymes

00:32:36 --> 00:32:58

let alone hear the American Muslim context, right? We have money, but there's a trust issue. There's a professionalism issue there is like where do I want to put my money where I see value? And that is why, you know, we in sha Allah will have a few episodes on, like, fundraising strategies and hacks and otherwise, but ABCs

00:32:59 --> 00:33:09

doing our cultivation, cultivate your donors, people donate based on relationship people donate because they were approached, they were asked they trust more than just, you know.

00:33:11 --> 00:33:28

There is a vision for the future, believe it or not, yes, an assumed promise about build it, and they will come and they will fund it. And they will, they will ask to. Yeah. It's extremely interesting. And so the cost calculation or cost hesitancy of hiring religious leadership?

00:33:29 --> 00:34:05

And you said that question or prioritize that you'll just do it. You're gonna tease me now into saying, who said hiring one religious leader now is is all you need? Yeah, I often tell people, have you ever seen a hospital run on one doctor? It's impossible. They'll find a hospital with no doctors. Listen, how quick do they find the money. For other things, that's just how the whole right like just look at that it comes to a facility, it comes to a building and it comes to a chandelier comes to whatever, you know, somehow, somehow they find the money. So it's just they're not prioritizing it. And it has to be a priority. And most of the time, people don't prioritize it until

00:34:05 --> 00:34:42

they have kids and their kids start to be teenagers, and they see them drift away from a SNAM. Now all of a sudden, they wake up, oh, darn, we need we need so I need someone who's going to relate to my kid is going to do it. And then you're behind the ball because your kids 1213 1415 And you're bringing somebody in hamdulillah finally, but it's too late. And now it takes time to develop programs at times. It takes time to build capacity, all these sorts of things. You know, you had to prioritize it from the beginning. And you know, your priorities you know, put your money where your mouth is taken, so let me not break my promise. Let's go back to empowering the Imams. We spoke

00:34:42 --> 00:34:56

about delineating for them, what is their jurisdiction and knowing where the employer is not to be wearing the employer hat right? Yes, you are paying the bait. That's fine. And

00:34:57 --> 00:35:00

we should have episodes on Imams and Imam salaries and all

00:35:00 --> 00:35:24

Let's start the calculation mechanism even from employers, I think laughable a lot of times average amount will make like 60k 60k without medical insurance, or without a retirement way below 60k. irrespective of where, you know, in the country and sort of the cost of living and that's just like another issue. But that's the employers job to figure out what makes sense to hire the right talent, you got to pay the right dollar. And, you know,

00:35:26 --> 00:35:53

but empowering them in other ways. How do we empower the Imam so that they don't feel like the sacrifice I'm making is fruitless anyway, so let me stop making it. Yeah, definitely. I mean, there's so many things. I think taking the emails mental health into consideration is a huge thing that most masajid don't do. And what does that mean? A few things. It means one that the masjid has to defend the imam from assailants and people who would and that's not just

00:35:54 --> 00:36:22

me about shooting me Yeah, it's not just physical assailants, but mental and spiritual assailants, because there are people and everybody knows it, like you see after Juma after the clip, but there are people that will just hound the Imam about men that yes, you know, this, that or the third, they have no principles, they have no edit, they have no manners or whatever there needs to be someone in every masjid, that's going to take the Imam said, Hey, there's a phone call for you, and escort him out of that room as quickly as possible and get him to a safe location. Right.

00:36:24 --> 00:37:04

In addition to everything else, like people, you know, office hours keeping regular hours protecting the Imams work life balance, right? Something that most of us don't have at all. Right? So it's like, when are you able to have time for your kids and weekend and time off and times where you can quote like, just completely shut down your phone, give them a work phone, give the Imam a work phone, give them a burner flip, we got those flip phones or whatever, give them one with a separate number. It's going to be on from nine to five or whatever. That's where you call for questions. Okay, you don't hit up the Imam on WhatsApp or on his personal number, right? These sorts of things

00:37:04 --> 00:37:31

people pass around the Imams number, like it's like, you know, hello, at the messages, like, you know, pass around sweets, you know, and then everybody's got a problem. Everybody thinks they're the only person on the problem. Yeah, there's 300 400 500 people with problems. Your marriage is falling apart. Your kid is about to is having doubts, your whatever Wallah, every single person is not possible. The man it's not even, it's not possible. We're pulling up to my best kid. Kind of recently.

00:37:33 --> 00:37:36

Great guy, great guy in case he hears this.

00:37:38 --> 00:37:39


00:37:40 --> 00:38:12

So many stories about like, You got to censor, yes, no, he really is a elder. He'll never hear this podcast in a million years. His kids might show too. But people and I say that really? Because people have such like a lofty regard. The average person for Imams, it's unrealistic. And they don't know what's unrealistic, right. I remember pulling up to my message I had just landed from somewhere, drove two hours to get to gym on time to scrambled hamdulillah got there in time. I give the whole book. I have to get home. Like, I have to get home.

00:38:13 --> 00:38:51

Exhausted, just need a shower. I just need to see my kids. I just so many things are behind. And he just comes at me in the head. And he's like, Chef, you need to come to my house right now. And I'm just like, why he's like, it's a big problem fight with my daughter and her husband. I really was considering as like, oh man. He's serious. Like, he's not that type. By the way. He's not the type that hounds. Yeah, I was like, oh, man, this is really serious. And then I was just like, what kind of problem is he saying, you know, they're not seeing eye to eye and so like, she left the house, and now he's sort of like taking the kids. And he's saying he's not going to bring them back on

00:38:51 --> 00:38:55

Monday in three days. For I'm just like, what?

00:38:57 --> 00:38:58

That's a police problem. Yeah.

00:38:59 --> 00:39:35

Like, if I go there, I'm gonna get beat up or arrested. Same thing happened to me. Oh, why would I even try? Yeah, someone canceled the assumption because of their fretting. Yes. Just yeah, no, it's true. Someone Yeah, that was someone. They didn't have a car. They got someone else to give them a ride, knock on my door. Right. My husband took the kids. He's not letting me see him. I said, Call the police call lawyer. I don't have any like executive powers. Illa Jonnie dua. Like I don't have any ability to help you right now. Yeah, like, but it doesn't compute, you know, and then times that by 300. You know, and that's, that's the so I have a theory sheet I want you to either like sign on

00:39:35 --> 00:39:37

or shut it down. Okay. So

00:39:39 --> 00:39:48

human nature. Yeah, people go to God, between rock and a hard place. When you're stuck. You rush back to God, even if you're not Muslim, right? Yeah. This shit

00:39:49 --> 00:40:00

is like the placeholder for God in the social sphere, right? He's sort of the guy who's going to tell me how to access God how to get say, Say say my prayers and God's gonna fix everything. So they

00:40:00 --> 00:40:08

They only come with the problems by the way. Yeah, that's true. Like, I know this one brother, he, like, I didn't snap but I really wanted to.

00:40:09 --> 00:40:22

He came to me he's had like, I just divorced my wife. And then we go through the motions, we figure it out with it. Then he disappears again. Yeah. Then he comes back as a chef problems. You know, I divorced my wife that

00:40:23 --> 00:41:00

and so we figure it out. Yes, it does count. You know, it goes home reconcile. You guys got to be careful and comes back. I was like, bro, you need to listen to me. Okay. First of all, you've approached me three times in two years. Okay. Yes. All of them after a divorce there. Yeah. Okay. That means you kissed and made up. I don't mean that literally. But yes, it's married people. And I'm still there like your job to fix his marriage? Yeah, I didn't get the memo that you guys are doing better. I'm doing horrible. I'm carrying it. Yeah. Emotionally. Of course. Well, oh, my God, what's gonna happen to the kids?

00:41:01 --> 00:41:11

And they're fine. Yeah. So you only came with the bad news? That's right. Because how many people have called you out of the blue to say, hey, Shay, you're doing a great job. I just appreciate you.

00:41:12 --> 00:41:16

It's funny, she asked me to sit in my seat. Of course. How many of you?

00:41:18 --> 00:41:50

But it's true, right? It's like they nobody, nobody tells you doing a good job. Not too many of you. One hand, maybe, you know, two hands Max. You know, it's just and I don't say that for me. I will never let anyone will say that for the man. Yeah, exactly. And we're talking to you, when it comes to us. Listen, we're, we expected to the best of ourselves. And we undergo not just legal training, but spiritual training, so that we can, we can bear more than most, right? And that's, that comes with the territory we got to save for the next guy. We got to save the next guy and we got to back each other up. Right, like sometimes, you know, like other things happen with other people. You

00:41:50 --> 00:42:26

know, people drag other people's names through the mud and they say, Hey, like, okay, don't defend yourself. I'm going to defend you. Right? Because you're my brother. Right? And I know what you're going through and other people have no idea. I know sometimes even better than a word of appreciation. Something I never expected never asked for. But it was just intelligent. It's just professional. My Masjid recently instituted just last year 2022 They instituted mandatory vacations, Allahu Akbar, right? No rollover allowed Allahu Akbar, you have to allow juveniles mashallah, you know, it's like, three weeks of the year mandatory. That's amazing. And that is actually the segue

00:42:26 --> 00:42:34

to the next thing I wanted to say, which was like, you know, okay, so there's like, protecting the man who has mental health, and, you know, work life balance and those sorts of things.

00:42:35 --> 00:42:54

And there's also, you know, yeah, like, like, the Imam cannot be isolated. Right? Like, when it comes to, whether it's professional development, whether it comes to a network of peers, and mentors and things like that, like how many Imams stops tolerable, and

00:42:55 --> 00:43:01

after the becaming maps, you know, how many actually forgot the Koran that they knew?

00:43:02 --> 00:43:43

Or some of it? Because the responsibilities have been? Because only the heart so affairs were Yeah, there's like so much of our training and so much of it, you know, just like rusts on the shelf, because are learning English or learning English? Yeah, we can talk all day, but you need to learn English, but when exactly what are they supposed to fit in? Yeah, exactly. So, you know, just paying this bill and who's carving out that time? Yeah. I mean, the, I think you would benefit even the leadership with massage, it's for you to share some thoughts on what the workload of the masjid looks like. Which means the Imam a lot of times if he's the only sort of dedicated personality or

00:43:43 --> 00:43:51

are most visible dedicated was like, what amount of things not just cycles of conflict, which are enough on their own, he's not a counselor, go through?

00:43:52 --> 00:43:56

Oh, my God, where do we start? So okay, depending on the messaging,

00:43:57 --> 00:44:21

start with the prayers. Okay. How many prayers is the email expected to lead per day? How many days a week? Okay, does he have people don't realize, you know, everybody shows up for their one or two prayers a week. Where's the email? Where were you? Where were you like throughout the week? Right? If you especially in a northern latitude where you have like winters you know, they come together very closely.

00:44:23 --> 00:45:00

If you don't even have a weekday where you're not responsible for all the prayers or something like that, when he's supposed to get stuff done when he supposed to go to the DMV, when do you be supposed to have a dentist appointment? Like Wait, you don't have any time grocery shopping? Like you know, these sorts of things. So the religious ritual Yeah, okay, well that's just one of them because then you also have Fridays Okay, well that ties down the Imam to he a certain way you guys prepare for Friday's you guys don't just switch it up pajamas and talks about not just yet. Yeah, right. Yeah. Come on. You just stand up and speak from the heart. No, I hear

00:45:00 --> 00:45:35

As I say, Okay, here's how, you know, back, you know, Joe Bradford gave me the great advice to read a book called planning your preaching. Before I started being any map, I have a year plan for my flip books. Okay, and now I don't implement it as I don't have the time to implement it as much, or plan as much as I would like to. But there's a general scheme, but the general scheme is there, I know, when I'm going to hit a series, that's going to go through like sorrows, 100 Dots, or, you know, whatever, these these, you know, characteristics of the pious or something like this, right, the year has panned out even the, the squish time where I'm just going to leave this one blank,

00:45:35 --> 00:46:07

because there's going to be some relevant topic that's going to come up that I can shift things around, whether it Philistine every year, you know, like, the Philistine comes up, because aggression, and or different things like that, like, this is something that actually takes planning. And this is part of ascent, right? Because if, if you leave, you know, like, If any man just gets up and talks about whatever he wants to, you know, that every single just Schutze their personality, they're going to gravitate towards their hobby horse, right, whatever sort of thing they're passionate about, or they're gonna, you know, just whip the same whipping posts, you know, every

00:46:07 --> 00:46:15

day. So you need a way to balance yourself and to have a plan is to balance yourself, right. So no, I don't think I've almost ever said this publicly. But

00:46:17 --> 00:46:24

May Allah protect us from from overconfidence, I know, some people appreciate listening to some people out there, everyone has their audience, I guess, right.

00:46:26 --> 00:46:49

And just like I say this about caffeine as well. So let me not even use myself as the example. People don't understand what makes your pain so appealing, right? They think is oh, we just, you know, hired a few, like researchers and volunteers. It is the what's on the back end? Yes. Right. So much preparation. Like maybe at one point, I took like a snapshot and mental snapshot of sort of the budget breakdown they had published out in their annual reports, and maybe what

00:46:50 --> 00:47:32

60% of it was engineering, which nobody sees graphic designers to what he sees marketing, marketing and not even selling anything. Just to get to reach you. Yeah, get your attention. All of this. Same thing with the Holtville. Yes. Like I sit there and say, What haven't I addressed? Yes. What do I address too much? Yes. Is this overkill? Am I gonna allow someone to get back, grab a slice of pizza and not get fired in time within that? 1820 minutes? This takes a whole lots of how do I respect the intelligence of my audience? Yeah, right. Yeah, I got doctors and engineers and professors. And yeah, moms who care about, you know, therapy, and more than I do, and how do I give them what they

00:47:32 --> 00:47:45

need in a way they want? It's like, it's a science, right? Yeah. No, it is? No, it's a real thing. I mean, rhetoric is an art, you know, in and of itself, public speaking is an art. And it's not just a ritual. Yeah. So if we want to just

00:47:48 --> 00:47:51

like the hand wave, because there's not I didn't mean, what

00:47:52 --> 00:48:30

I meant, will never end. Yeah, they'll never tell you. Right. And, you know, we were only talking about daily rituals, like, Listen, I don't know if you guys do like, Eclipse prayers and stuff like that. But if I had seven of me, right, we will be doing all the Eclipse prayers, right? If there's no rain in the summer is to Scott and like, stuff like that all the other sun on that we're probably not covering because we're too burned out already. And our plates are too heavy already. You know, so, you know, ritual worship is enormous. Then okay, there's pastoral care, okay, you have people in the hospital, people in ICU people who are at palliative care at the end of their lives. Okay, that

00:48:30 --> 00:49:05

leads you into janazah territory. Okay, what about when somebody passes away? Who's going to watch the body prepare the body? Who's going to pray over them who's going to be there at, like, 15 jobs? We're not even we haven't even cracked half. You know, it's like, you've got marriage counseling, divorce counseling, you got youth counseling, right? You've got we haven't even touched programming. That isn't even program. Right. It's like, now we also because every every mission, I think when they come around to the need for the Imam, they're thinking about all of the programs they want to have. And when they Well, we want to have a program for the youth. That's usually where they start

00:49:05 --> 00:49:47

thing and programs for the women. And he gets hit by a torpedo before he gets to the program. Yeah, exactly. It's like what what programs like, like, again, and this is why, you know, I try to tell people like nonprofit, nonprofits are a sector. It's an industry sector. Like any industry sector, if you're in medicine and engineering. It's a fun, it's a whole area, there are books, there are best practices, there are industry standards, there is a thing called capacity. And what happens is, our masajid do not understand the concept of capacity. And then you hire any man, and you expect the capacity to just come from the man. All of a sudden, we're going to be able to get everybody

00:49:47 --> 00:49:59

married. Get everybody a match, find some way to get married the first place. Keep that marriage together. Handle the divorce. Handle the death handle the births

00:50:00 --> 00:50:04

Run youth programs, run women's programs, run programs for the elderly.

00:50:06 --> 00:50:30

Right? So, social events, right and Dawa to the non Muslims around us or neighbors or open houses or things like that and local politics, the school boards and the city council and stuff like that and liaison with who we need to get the easements or the permission to make the event out loud or whatever, all these relationships that need to be built. Well, well, well, what shade I'm gonna send you an invoice for this therapy session. Yeah.

00:50:33 --> 00:50:36

Forgot that you have to take them to Hajj Ramadan. Oh, yeah.

00:50:38 --> 00:51:17

What is this, and sorry, sir Mohammed that will die live actually visited our community. And he's a very systems guy. And I just benefit so much from just sparking him and letting Him speak especially behind closed doors. And he says even guys think about this, like, all of the things you mentioned back home, are not done by the Imam. Why not? Because it's another person doing it. There's an entire government funded ministry behind it. Yes. Like education is not the message it is the education ministry, tax dollars or whatever. They get the money. Yeah. All right, Jen as a ministry, right, the Hajj and Umrah you go and apply and get your situated with your package through a minute.

00:51:17 --> 00:51:24

All this dovetails into the masjid. And if the masjid has an Imam, he's just going to be the go to.

00:51:25 --> 00:52:08

So let me not forget to ask you, how do we begin fixing this? How do we get some of this off the amount of shoulders, people, okay, the people in the machine to realize that it's about building capacity. And the Imam is only one ingredient and building capacity. And depending on the skills and the qualifications of the man, that the man might be even more of an asset when it comes to helping you build capacity than actually providing that capacity itself. Right. So when it comes to leadership, you know, leadership is not just about doing everything yourself. It's not about being the boss in the guy that's in charge. Leadership is about putting other people in places where they

00:52:08 --> 00:52:45

can succeed and develop. And so successfully man and a successful leader. And there's others that have you know, that know way more about this than I do. I'm just, you know, move Teddy. I'm just like, just starting like to educate myself about this sort of stuff. Is somebody who's going to delegate and cultivate people and recruit people and maintain people, right? They say for volunteerism, the three R's. What does it recruit, retain, recognize, right? Other people to build the capacity of the machine. They say in leadership books is like the 8020 rule, right? If somebody can do something 80% as good as you, then you have to delegate it to them. Because the Imam needs to

00:52:45 --> 00:53:14

be freed up to do those things that only that person can do. Somebody told me, I think it was I think it was Abraham, Hindi. When I was up in Toronto, and you were recently in Toronto, he told me of an email in Toronto, that missed a prayer in the mess gene, leading a prayer. Because he had to meet the mayor of Toronto for something that was happening with the Muslim community. And the messy was upset at him. They were upset or angry at the man for going to this instead of that.

00:53:16 --> 00:53:20

You know, like, who else would you have liked to meet the mayor?

00:53:21 --> 00:53:53

If you're talking about delivering a message, who knows, now we got all this crazy stuff coming through the schools with the curriculum and stuff like that we've got we're trying to get our Eid recognized as a holiday, we're trying to, you know, angle for real things that are going to affect the lives of Muslims. Who do you want there, who's the only person that can do it? If if the Imam you should have the Imam spending their time and the things that only he can do? And then it comes to everybody else. Geneticists washing the bodies, like, you know, whatever, even marriage counseling, mostly men, we're not we're not qualified to counsel. We're not counselors, we didn't

00:53:53 --> 00:54:33

have any training for that most of us, right? It has to be somebody else. And even if we did, we're gonna have to choose between being this or that, yeah, unless you're gonna pay for two salaries. Right. And it's like, we don't have the, you know, the, the capacity or the or the time, or the energy or the whatever, to be able to do all that stuff. So you need to now look at it as building capacity and personnel. And your raw material is all the people in your community who can step up to do the work, right, and do a good enough job and take instruction and take, you know, be managed, right, like by the email, and by the border, whatever, whoever's running this stuff. It's got to be

00:54:33 --> 00:54:58

everybody. So we've got to recruit, retain, recognize and recognize, so we have to say thank you. Yeah, you do. Yeah. But recruiting. I mean, there are a lot of people out there. One of the interesting things I noticed, just through personal experience is that there are people out there that want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They have deep love for not just sense of accomplishment, but just for the deen as well. And there were some misfires actually in the beginning.

00:55:00 --> 00:55:05

Because I remember asking one brother, he hates me for always repeating this story.

00:55:06 --> 00:55:18

One of my inner circle closest brothers, I asked him to help out with civic engagement, social welfare, and feeding him pantries and things, I guess, for two years straight. And he was always busy, and he was genuinely busy.

00:55:20 --> 00:55:25

And then COVID happened, and we had to go virtual. And so he created

00:55:27 --> 00:55:40

these episodes that were very well done with like just snippet clips for for our community. And I just when I started noticing the quality, I was just like, bro, how long did it take you to make these episodes? He was making them on his phone on some. Right?

00:55:41 --> 00:55:43

He would come record me with two phones.

00:55:45 --> 00:55:56

I swear. So how long does it take, you make it up? And he says about 12 hours a day. He made the time he was running on fumes. And so I think part of recruitment is that people out there

00:55:57 --> 00:56:35

want to help if you just do the process and and did right? If not this, may Allah give you interpretive skills, more if you're good, you know, in the judicial, you know, domain, I will Hurayrah you know, you got time and you have memory and I'll make an extra two out for you. And don't forget anything I say, recruiting the right way for the right thing, spend a little bit of time, it'll be such a relief for everybody now, and then you retain them by making sure you actually let go of the steering wheel a little I was gonna say that's where it actually the mission is to take a step back, and either let the man handle it or somehow get out of the way. Because what

00:56:35 --> 00:57:05

happens a lot of times the the masajid micromanage the volunteers, like they micromanage and no one wants to be a cog in the engine. No, of course. Exactly. And we, you know, every every committee has had that problem. You have volunteers, you finally get them to show up. It's confusing. They don't know what they're supposed to do. There's mixed messages, whatever. And then they don't feel like they had any impact. Yeah, well, if you show up and you actually dedicate your time, it's like, you know, like machines are not like businesses. But there's a couple important ways in which they are like businesses. If you show up to a business, let's say like, you get your coffee at some place,

00:57:05 --> 00:57:36

you go there and the door is closed, and it's locked. Even though it said it was supposed to be open, your chances of going back to that place are much reduced, which is why I'm such a huge proponent of like, keep the message open, especially during the daytime, right? And then but even that costs money shift without diversity, right? Again, secure priorities, again, priorities, right? If it's a priority, if you make it and I'm just highlighting that you don't mean that and sort of like just keep it open, right? No, it has to be done properly with safely and we have our women that might be in there, things like that. But it's like you're saying do whatever it takes do what it

00:57:36 --> 00:58:12

takes to do it resource keeping it open. Yeah, of course. And, and the same thing with volunteers, you know, it's like, you'd get somebody you finally break through and you get them out of bed, get them to the place, you know, at the time and ready to do the thing, and then they have a bad experience, you know, they're not going to come back. Most of them, most people won't. So that's retain and then recognize, recognize, you know, whether he is just, you know, we have our community events in our city, like whether it can be a million ways to do it, you know, at the mall out to a donor dinner, or lunch or coffee or whatever could be, you know, even an invite over the house. You

00:58:12 --> 00:58:45

know, like, there's so many ways to do it, just a little bit of thought. And that's the thing that matters. It's not about you know, like, cash prizes, like whatever I'm getting sort of like, whatever. It's just the the like to note that it's the thought that counts. The fact that somebody took the time and we can't hide behind that, well, you sort of just done it for a law and like whatever. Okay, yeah. But also, you know, whoever doesn't take the people doesn't take a lot, you know, so you know, you have to make the person realize that you thought about them, and you appreciate what they what they offer. So that'll free up in sha Allah the capacity or grow the

00:58:45 --> 00:58:59

capacity of the community, and free up the Imam to be able to do what only He can do and was trained for. Let me try to ask you to be a little bit introspective here. Oh, yeah, sure. To close out.

00:59:00 --> 00:59:03

Where should we

00:59:04 --> 00:59:08

ask the Imams to self regulate? Both in terms of

00:59:09 --> 00:59:45

not the power graph, but how much influence they should expect to have? Yeah. As masajid begin to grow? Because I was telling one brother recently, like, he's like, how did I know X or Y or Z? I was like, F is the sign of a growing Masjid. Yep. That there's going to be things that even I don't know. Yeah. Right. And so where are you responsible versus accountable versus consulted versus informed just like everyone else? Right. Right. Right. Because sometimes there is I believe, unjustified. It's a two way street, right. Even from the live religious leadership. grievances. Yeah, maybe because there's so many legitimate grievances that wholesale this one gets picked up as

00:59:45 --> 00:59:51

well. And even personally, not just in terms of the the power and influence that the Imam should

00:59:52 --> 00:59:55

wield, but self regulation, how much they should

00:59:57 --> 00:59:59

ensure for themselves that they don't

01:00:00 --> 01:00:03

Don't burn out. They don't walk out. Yeah.

01:00:04 --> 01:00:32

I'll leave that to you. Yeah, no, it's a huge thing. I mean, and that's why having a peer network is so important. You know, and I've benefited from, you know, my peers and mentors tremendously. But you know, even even then, you know, like, I had people like coaching me through the contract process and stuff like that. Here's what you asked for, here's what you need, like, et cetera, et cetera. And that helped tremendously, however, still wasn't enough. Like there's, there's some things that I was looking at looking back on it. Yeah, it's like, the one mistake I made was letting people have my phone number.

01:00:33 --> 01:00:59

Everybody has my phone number. And I just stopped taking calls. I don't answer the phone anymore at all. If somebody texted me. Hmm, you too. Yeah. No at all. And then people are upset at you. And like I even had, like some brothers say you, you broke my heart. I said, I'm sorry. Like, I'm not gonna respond to every single call. Every single it was like, either you or my wife. Yeah, no, seriously, have you been so you can be brokenhearted? I'd rather have you broken harder than my wife brokenhearted. Like, I am so sorry. Please know.

01:01:01 --> 01:01:38

I caught someone pointed out this nuance. It was so amazing. So the Quran, Allah said to those calling out from behind the walls, right? Yeah. What happened to him? Sabado. If they were to just wait, it had that. Roger until you came out. He didn't say came out, he said came out to them. So even if I'm visible, if I'm accessible, even if you have my number, but I'm not available for you right now. Don't be the SU deceived by my perceived. Yeah, access. Exactly. And then even with the with the prayers, you know, there was a time you know, where like, I would be discouraged from coming to the masjid. Because I knew I was going to catch it from somebody, you know, somebody who's

01:01:38 --> 01:01:44

going to bother me about a particular issue, or they have like, whatever. And so it's like, you don't even want to come to the machine. SubhanAllah.

01:01:45 --> 01:01:46

You know,

01:01:47 --> 01:01:50

I know a brother in Louisiana. You know, I'm there who said to me,

01:01:51 --> 01:02:26

I live across the parking lot from the Masjid. So I can't not pray at the masjid on my day off to the office one days. He said what I refuse to lead on my day off? I don't think I agree with him. But I understand the sentiment, ya know, there have been times where I just say or leave town, tell them this is my day off. Yeah, I'm so sorry. Exactly, exactly. No, I mean, something about boundaries. Like, that's the the idea and those particulars of it, you know, are going to look different from place to place. But yeah, it's like, you know, if I, if I come into the machine, on a day off, or even on a, on a particular day, people assume when they see you that they have access to

01:02:26 --> 01:03:04

you, like, that's just what comes with the territory isn't the man. And then people drag you into either debates or problems or whatever. And then, you know, as Imams, we hope that we're a little bit conscientious, right, and like, sympathetic, you know, you have some people who are converts, and some people were were, but being able to distinguish a true emergency, from a not so emergency situation. And to be like, you know, you know, at this point, like, at this particular time, I have to go, I don't have time to stay, like you can follow up with so and so or whatever, you know, or if there's somebody else to delegate, it's like, if you're looking for this, you know, like, either

01:03:04 --> 01:03:12

liaison with the new convert or something like this, somebody needs the ABCs or whatever. It's like, we have brother so and so here's how you can reach him.

01:03:13 --> 01:03:43

Or, you know, the other thing is a lot of people come to the men complaining about stuff that he has no control over when it comes to like the administration or things like that with the machine, the parking lots and whatever, and fire escapes or whatever it is. And it's like, okay, that's an issue for the administration, you can talk to the administration. And I said, you know, definitely wish I had done a better job of drawing those boundaries when I first came, and I had to swing swing to the other side, you know, in order to kind of hastily erect some boundaries. Yeah, there's some fences or brick walls or whatever.

01:03:45 --> 01:04:16

Yeah, I actually got like a new phone, new sim, like, whatever. So now, my old numbers like my work number, and I haven't gotten graded yet. But I'm gonna get to the point where I actually just like, turn it off, like when I'm not working. So it'll be on when I'm on when I have the second phone. But I'm still struggling with the pivot. I'm pivoting. Yeah, I'm in that transition phase as well. I mean, you reminded me of a few things. I'll share them quickly. And then I'll ask you to close us out with any final thoughts. And I mean, in case any of the amounts are spying on this episode,

01:04:17 --> 01:04:18

there's blueprints episode.

01:04:20 --> 01:04:59

I don't counsel anymore. Yeah, I stopped, right. So what I do is I give them one session. And my whole objective from the session is to convince them that these are symptoms. These are not the core issue. You need a counselor to actually fix it. Here's a list because you know, there are taboos and stigmas and all that. That was the first thing. The second thing is I learned seeing some of the busier religious leaders of the country, when we asked them to consult them on certain charity projects and otherwise throughout the years we were doing or conference projects. He said yeah, absolutely Metro service. Then he we sat down he said listen, this meeting will end in 60 minutes

01:04:59 --> 01:04:59

from the get go

01:05:00 --> 01:05:09

Yeah, so that puts the onus on you now to trim the fat. Yeah, right, you need to get to your priorities, because I'm giving you 60 minutes of my time. And I was very useful actually.

01:05:10 --> 01:05:53

Maybe the third and last thing is when I did a little bit of marital Council training, I went to a crash course. And, you know, it wasn't even like a certificate program or anything. One of the coolest things he said to us is, I know you feel the pressure as a caretaker of your community, that when someone comes to you panicking, I have to sympathize. I have to figure it out. Now, he says, Unless there's clear and imminent danger, that's called 911. He says, you actually will never succeed when they're emotionally charged at helping. So get rid of the guilt of answering the call. Allahu Akbar. That's nice as great advice. I got to help them you will never help them. If they're

01:05:53 --> 01:06:12

calling you eight times in a row. That means they're not they're in the right state of mind. Yes, yes. Yeah. So don't feel guilty calling them back in three days. How's the call? Man? That's wonderful. Thank you know, a little thing. I've benefited from shakey Asha, he said, Yeah, sure. I guess a bit. Yes. He has like it's literal and figurative. I said, sometimes you just have to push the tissue box across the table.

01:06:13 --> 01:06:46

I've heard him say that. And I was like, Yes. Like that's, that's true. He said, I used to cry with. Yes. And then after a while, just like tissues. Yeah, here you go. No, I mean, it's your thing. But that's a matter of taking notes. Yeah, no, but that's a metaphor for the whole orientation towards it. Because I think I like to think that as Imams green emails, we first came in, you know, we want to save the world. We want to save every soul, we want to save every person. And that's just not possible. And it's not sustainable. Not like that. You know? So sometimes you have to what do they say, you know, in the everybody says the, the, when you take a flight, you know, the mask drops.

01:06:46 --> 01:07:32

Save yourself first, so that you can save others. And, yeah, it might be a crisis with a lot of Imams like you know, you have to save yourself first, if you want to help anybody else. What about the power factor? Power? Where should you recognize where you're not drained? Yeah, I mean, I think hamdulillah in my experience, I haven't seen too many Imams power tripping. i My experience is that most the Imams are very conscientious people, which is good. We don't we don't want to have the other problem. The Deen should produce that on some level it should, right. I think, I think where Imams, and you said half of it overstep from most of what I see is with the counseling aspect, we're

01:07:32 --> 01:07:37

not trained as counselors, most of us, so don't touch it, you know, to be honest, refer to a professional

01:07:39 --> 01:07:49

and politics. You know, and that comes with both speaking and advocating, you know, if you don't know about politics, shut your mouth.

01:07:50 --> 01:07:55

I'll say that, just because we're feel relieved for the time being. Yeah, why don't make

01:07:56 --> 01:08:32

your thing don't make, like my first my first agreement isn't, is in political science. And there's people now it's 2023. There's people now that are that are coming out and apologizing and saying, you know, it's whatever, because, you know, they probably shouldn't have been talking about certain political issues, alliances with this group in that group or whatever. And now there's no damn, you know, it's like, you didn't have any training in politics, you didn't understand what politics were. But I can sympathize as an Imam, you're pushed into this thing where people are looking to you unfairly expecting, but you got to know yourself, you got to know yourself. And if you don't have

01:08:32 --> 01:09:00

the training, it's not like, you know, everybody has an opinion about stuff. That doesn't mean like this is offense, you know, it's its own sort of thing. And if you don't have the training, just be you know, like, be like me trying to, you know, talk about medicine, I have absolutely no clue about anything, like with medicine or things like that. It's like I will, I'm not even going to walk through that door. So politics is the same, you know, I read for one of the setup. Of course, this was set in the context of, of, of piety,

01:09:01 --> 01:09:04

but found that you just extended it to so many other domains.

01:09:06 --> 01:09:07

He said,

01:09:09 --> 01:09:15

the most ignorant person is the one who forgets his certainty about himself

01:09:16 --> 01:09:18

due to people's assumptions of him.

01:09:19 --> 01:09:36

So you need to know where you stand and self aware self cognizance, very important as far as like luckily for your time, so much it's all gone and inshallah the following episodes will close out some of these gaps and forgive us if we've taken from your time or you found

01:09:38 --> 01:10:00

impromptu with this. This was wonderful, wonderful opportunity and may Allah make it a source of benefit for ourselves as a reminder and for the massage Inshallah, may Allah use us as instruments of his plan for something that pleases Him Inshallah, you know, it was like a little late on the team, the podcast team, everybody was coming out early mornings and late.

01:10:00 --> 01:10:04

Nice to making this happen let's make this heavy and may find the compensation for it

01:10:05 --> 01:10:12

in your lives and your afterlives and your family and your loved ones alone I mean solo solo water kind of being on it was a dream

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