Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One may wonder what roles and functions the mosque assumed subsequent to the institutional decentralization in the Islamic society, which, after all, was unavoidable. The truth is that the mosque continued to play the role of a community center, but some of its roles and functions had to be modified, adjusted and even scaled down, some roles and functions being more affected by this modus operandi and others less. Nonetheless, all this was deemed natural and ordinary, as well as intrinsic to the dynamic evolution of Islamic culture and civilization, in general, and the mosque phenomenon as a nerve center of the former, in particular. Nobody is known to have objected to this inevitable process which was unfolding merely according to the encoded laws and norms of the development of human society, to which the Muslim society was not an exception. People knew very well that they first, and then the mosque institution (the epitome of Islam and its struggle), stood at the heart of the process, influencing it and also being influenced by it. People knew, furthermore, that the whole course of the evolution of Islamic society and its institutions was about them and their own holistic transformations and progression. The institutions were there just to accommodate, facilitate and further stimulate the growth and fruition of people and their cultural and civilizational agendas and undertakings. In other words, the Islamic institutions, as both concepts and sensory realities, signified the means, while the total wellbeing of Muslims and the realization of their life mission signified the ultimate goal towards which every Muslim initiative and endeavor, both individual and collective, was directed. The only critical issue that was preoccupying the Muslim mind, firstly during the process of the institutionalization of the mosque’s diverse roles and functions, and then during the process of the partial institutional decentralization, was how best to oversee and regulate the ongoing social processes and how best to harmonize between the “mother” mosque institution and the other outgoing social, educational and religious institutions which originated from the former. This was so because the inevitable ongoing processes were intended to be dealt with sensitively and to be put in people’s good stead. They were meant to be cultivated into a great societal advantage and an asset, rather than their prospects and challenges to be taken lightly, or to be mismanaged, and to thus evolve into a societal hazard and liability. And finally, they were meant to be a source of Muslims’ strengths and not a source of their weaknesses.

After the institutional decentralization, the mosque institution continued to play the role of a community center, but such occurred in a different set of circumstances to which the mosque had to respond approvingly, and as a result of which it had to make some necessary adjustments in some of its performances. As a matter of fact, there was no original role or a function of the mosque that has completely broken free from it. Nor was there any of its original roles and functions, with a great many protagonists associated with them, that was inclined to doing that. Generally speaking, the overall roles and functions of the mosque institution under the new scenario were three-fold. Firstly, there were roles and functions which were conducted exclusively within the mosque’s domains. Secondly, there were roles and functions which the mosque shared almost on an equal footing with some other novel institutions. And thirdly, there were roles and functions which were effectively separated from the mosque’s realm, but still let the mosque play several auxiliary, consultative and supervisory roles.

In matters pertaining to various forms of individual and collective worship (‘ibadah), the absolute reputation and roles of the mosque could never be doubted or probed, let alone substituted.

In matters pertaining to learning, education, government and people’s welfare, on the other hand, although there were many separate and self-governing institutions that catered to the people’s swelling needs, yet the mosque as the symbol of Islam and Muslims, and as the ultimate source of their strength and identity, as well as of the legitimacy for all of their tasks and activities, the mosque was still able to offer much in terms of public education, state administration and people’s welfare, so much so that it remained on a par with all the new and specialized institutions concerning the impact they all were able to generate on people and their lives. Hence, it stands to reason that there was no madrasah, or a governmental agency or a body, or a khanqah, or a hostel for the poor or any other welfare institution, which in its contributions to people was able to eclipse the mosque and its own roles and contributions. The mosque was and remained an unsurpassable learning center, a welfare center, and a seat of Muslim governments. The mosque with the community’s religious leadership was and remained the backbone of the Islamic society. It was and remained its soul. Besides, there was no new institution or establishment which was able to exist and operate without an authorization and endorsement from the mosque and from the mainstream of the Muslim community which patronized it. It was only the mosque as the embodiment of Islam and the religious leadership who in the name of God and Islam wielded the right to award legality and a required level of authority to the new emerging institutions and their operations.

Even in matters pertaining to lawful recreation, detention and rehabilitation, and healthcare, the mosque was not to be left behind and its roles and contributions downplayed. It offered so much as regards people’s spiritual and mental leisure, regeneration, rehabilitation and healthcare, through a range of its activities and programs which aimed at a holistic refinement and development of people. This was so because Islam views man and existence at large from a universal perspective, thus furnishing man with a universal outlook firstly on his self and then on the rest of ontological realities that surround him. Those critical roles of the mosque in the fields of leisure, regeneration, rehabilitation and healthcare were supported and supplemented in a collaborative rather than an antagonistic or a rival mode by the equally critical contributions of the new separated and specialized institutions many of which, however, even though did not disregard the ethical, spiritual and mental dimensions of people, had to make their focusing on those human dimensions secondary to the human physical development. Furthermore, once the new social institutions came into being and then separated themselves from the mosque institution, the mosque continued to play both advisory and supervisory roles with the former. This was to make sure that the new institutions with their visions, missions, programs and leading players remained faithful to their genesis, inherent characters and purposes, that is, to be faithful to what they really were and what they have always meant to be from the days of the Prophet (pbuh) and the first Muslim generation.

Having said this, it goes without saying that, barring some atypical and rare cases and circumstances, the mosque institution and the other independent institutions supported and collaborated with each other towards the common goals. They were allies towards a mutual good, rather than adversaries conspiring against each other, or attempting to outdo each other in the process of attaining their respective and particularized goals. The case of Islamic institutions thus was akin to the case of Muslims whom the Qur’an addresses with the following words: “…And help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil).” (al-Ma’idah, 2)

“Verily, man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of patience and constancy.” (al-‘Asr, 2-3

“The believers are but a single brotherhood. So, make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” (al-Hujurat, 10)

The Prophet (pbuh) said about the nature of cooperation and mutual love and care among all Muslims: “Don't sever relations of kinship, don't bear enmity against one another, don't bear aversion against one another and don't feel envy against the other and live as fellow-brothers as Allah has commanded you.”[1]

“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him...It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth and his honor.”[2]

“The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”[3]

Finally, the Prophet (pbuh) also said: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet (pbuh) then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that).[4]

So, therefore, if this is the case with Muslims and their mutual dealings, the same is true about their institutions because those institutions exist only because of Muslims and for Muslims. It is those institutions that accommodate and facilitate the needs of Muslims. The conditions and moral fiber of Muslim institutions are the mirror of Muslims’ spiritual disposition and their cultural and civilizational direction and accomplishments. Since the two exist due to each other, and for each other, they too are always bound to commence and rise as well as degenerate and fall together. The fate of either one is the fate of the other. Hence, for example, the goodness and integrity of Muslims denote in equal measure the goodness and integrity of their institutions. Likewise, the distortion and failure of Muslims denote in equal measure the distortion and failure of their institutions. Muslims and their institutions make up only one world and have only one orientation and purpose. Comprising two or more worlds, and having two or more orientations or purposes, is a perverted course of action and so is fervently opposed.

Thus, after the institutional decentralization, the mosque was still accommodating and carrying out scores of religious, educational, socio-political and welfare programs and activities. Aside from their regular as well as sporadic individual and collective religious rituals and practices, intensive religious and intellectual circles (halqahs) and classes were conducted for both men and women of all ages in mosques. Even reciting and teaching poetry retained its place and role in many mosques.[5]Judges appointed by the government were handling judiciary matters there at fixed days and times. Many rulers were using mosques as Dar al-Mazalim, which played the role of courts that served as tribunals of administrative law where the public directly appealed to the ruler or his deputies against the abuse of or failure to exercise power by other authorities, as well as against decisions made by judges.[6]People were socializing in mosques as part of their both official and unofficial meetings that were vastly dissimilar in character. Various needs of the destitute, homeless and travelers were still catered for in mosques both by the government and the public. And since the Prophet (pbuh) did not prohibit doing business around the mosque, bazaars kept clustering around mosques in every Muslim city, often on as many as all four sides of a mosque. Into bazaars all the gates of a great many mosques opened. This was applicableespecially to such businesses as did not generate any damage or harm to either people or property, and did not entail any negative implications for the proper functioning of mosques. What is more, those businesses and bazaars even enhanced mosques’ reputation and performances as community development centers.

Above all this, there was Friday with its Jumu’ah prayer which was attended by all male adults, except a few who had some strong justifications such as poor health and traveling. As a rule, the Jumu’ah was attended by the ruling elite and other notables as well. Moreover, the mass Jumu’ah prayer, which includes a sermon, was normally led by a member of the ruling class, if not by the caliph or the sultan himself. Friday and the Jumu’ah prayer occasion was a weekly general assembly of almost all male adult Muslims in a place. It was an opportunity for regularly conducting a critical assessment of the performances of the government, its bureaus and agencies, as well as the performances of the entire community, and even the performances of the mosque, following which improvements could be instantly pursued and put in place. Everyone enjoyed the right of freedom of expression before or after the communal prayer and its sermon. Everyone had a right to rightfully complain to or criticize anybody, and to put forward a proposal or a suggestion to a relevant person or a commission.

In other words, the mosque was and remained the center of the Islamic society’s operations. Everything originated from it. Everything pointed to and led to it, from a near and from a far, seeking its inspiration, guidance, assistance and patronage. The community and its people, as the actual owners, clients, sustainers and soul of mosques, spearheaded by the religious and intellectual leadership -- even though many of the mosques might have been built by the rulers -- they signified the only source of legitimacy for everything that was transpiring inside as well as outside mosques, i.e., at every level of the Islamic presence and its social contexts. There was nothing that could become a new trend, a norm or a phenomenon in the Islamic community, including the creation of new institutions, without a prior authorization and approval from the authority of the mosque (Islam) and its clients, that is, the community with its religious and intellectual leadership. Everything, including the ruling elite, was subjected to that authority. The ruling classes, as well as the newly emerged social institutions, were merely the servants of the heavenly paradigm which the world of the mosque exemplified. Truly, the mosque was one of the greatest gifts from God to people, a gift which everyone cherished and nurtured to the fullest knowing that no adequate man-made substitute to it could ever be conceived and established. The mosque was people’s orientation and asylum, as it was the end of their hopes, aims and cravings. Whatever a person did, and wherever he went, a contact with, or just a reference to, a mosque in all probability was always made. The world of the mosque stood at the core of the world of every Muslim, albeit to some Muslims more and to others less.

For example, while describing the city of Shiraz in Iran, Ibn Battuta said that its people were very pious and upright, especially the women. He said: “Every Monday, Thursday and Friday they meet in the principal mosque to listen to the preacher, one or two thousand of them, carrying fans with which they fan themselves on account of the great heat. I have never seen in any land so great an assembly of women.”[7]

Also, when Naser Khosraw, a 5th AH / 11th AC century traveler from Iran, visited Cairo, he observed about the mosque of Amr b. al-‘As, the first jami’ mosque in Egypt, as follows: “The mosque is held aloft by four hundred marble columns, and the wall that contained the mihrab (the praying niche) is all slabs of white marble on which the entire Qur’an is written in beautiful script. Outside, on all four sides, are bazaars into which the mosque gates open. Inside there are always teachers and Qur’an-readers, and this mosque is the promenade of the city, as there are never less than five thousand people – students, the indigent, scribes who write checks and money drafts, and others.”[8]

Al-Maqrizi recounted that before the year 749 AH / 1348 AC in the mosque of Amr b. al-‘As in Cairo there were forty religious and intellectual circles or halqahs for teaching mainly the Islamic sciences. There were also eight zawiyahs for the teaching of law and hadith (the Prophet’s traditions).[9]Zawiyah, linguistically, means an angle or a corner where some people used to retreat from the hustle and bustle of mundane life for learning and worship. Later, Zawiyahs emerged as independent learning and religious institutions mostly affiliated with Sufism and the Sufis.

In terms of education, so active were the jami’ mosques in Cairo – as well as elsewhere in the Muslim world – that some researchers felt tempted to call such mosques rather as madrasah-jami’s. To them, the primary function of a lot ofjami’ mosques was education. They served, secondarily, as Friday mosques. This helps explain why in Cairo – and in many other Muslim cities – eventually there emerged so many jami’ mosques, so much so that the call for prayers (adhan) from one mosque was well within the earshot of another mosque.[10]Such mosques, then, might have been meant since their inception for a double purpose: for both education and collective worship, both purposes in terms of their social importance standing on a par with each other. Many mosques were also known to have been the lodging place of ascetics, in addition to serving as a resting place for wayfarers and the destitute. Professors leading ascetic lives were also known to have lived in the mosques in which they taught.[11]

Moreover, when Ahmad b. Tulun (d. 271 AH / 884 AC), the founder of the Tulunid dynasty in Egypt, built his massive jami’ mosque,it was one of the biggest and most important mosques in the history of Egypt. Later, most probably during the early Ayyubid administration in the second half of the 6th AH / 12th century, the mosque also functioned, among other things, as a sanctuary for travelers from the Muslim West, most probably from Morocco. They lived inside the mosque, holding regularly their own religious and intellectual circles and sessions in it. Having accorded them an extraordinarily kind and caring treatment, the government allocated monthly stipends for them. They were even exempted from most of the state’s rules and regulations. Instead, they were allowed to choose from among themselves a leader whom they held in high regard and whose decisions and rules they greatly respected and devotedly followed. They were reputed as very well-mannered and pious people. Hence, they found in the government the best supporter of their cause.[12]Ibn Jubayr, having been told of those people’s account while in Egypt, said that he had found their story very unusual.[13]During the same time, not only the mosque of Ahmad b. Tulun, but also the other jami’ mosques in Cairo, and elsewhere, represented the sites – among several other sites and institutions -- where systematically educating orphans and poor children was taking place.[14]

The main jami’ mosque in Baghdad, also known as jami’ al-Mansur, furthermore, had a “dome of poets” in the 5th AH / 11th AC century. The dome, or the qubbah, was an earmarked location in the mosque where the poets of Baghdad used to meet every Friday to recite poetry to each other. Poetry was taught there as well. A noted poet of the same period is reported to have taught his diwan, or collection of poems, in the same jami’ mosque, conducting classes on Fridays.[15]Despite the existence of a number of madrasahs in Baghdad, the jami’ mosque of al-Mansur in Baghdad in the 5th AH / 11th AC century was a venue for methodically teaching almost all Islamic sciences, including the relatively novel science of ilm al-kalam. Sufis too had their own spiritual and intellectual circles. Generally speaking, as a small digression,jami’ al-Mansur in Baghdad, shortly after its founding by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur, became one of the most well-known educational centers of the Middle Ages.[16]It managed to preserve its estimable reputation for long, even after the emergence of a number of other educational institutions in the city. When Imam al-Shafi’i (d. 205 AH / 820 AC) visited Baghdad and its chief mosque, approximately half a century following the latter’s construction, as many as forty or fifty permanent religious and intellectual circles are said to have been present and operational in the mosque.[17]In an even more astounding account, it was reported that in the jami’ mosque of al-Rusafah, one of the sprawling neighborhoods or settlements outside the walled city of Baghdad to the northeast, a scholar of hadith (the Prophet’s traditions) used to report and teach hadith. His educational sessions were purportedly attended by around 100,000 people. The scholar died in 221 AH / 836 AC.[18]Furthermore, a minbar, or a pulpit, is said to have been built in the jami’ of al-Rusafah for another scholar to teach hadith in the mosque. The minbar was built especially for this scholar by the order of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (d. 247 AH / 861 AC). The jami’ of al-Rusafah was much bigger than jami’ al-Mansur which stood in the heart of Baghdad.[19]

It was a routine that in the 5th AH / 11th AC century every Friday or jami’ mosque in Baghdad served other purposes besides that of teaching one of the various Islamic sciences and their ancillaries. Some of those other purposes were the issuing of legal opinions, holding regular sessions of disputation and debate, a combination of both of the above, delivering academic sermons, and conducting both disputation and academic sermons.[20]

In the great Umayyad jami’ mosque of Damascus too, there were tens of regular religious and intellectual sessions some which, however, eventually bordered on becoming institutions of their own, and tens, perhaps even hundreds, of teachers and professors who were responsible for the numerous and hectic teaching assignments in the mosque. Unlike the jami’ mosques in Baghdad, where the teaching sessions and gatherings revolved primarily around the halqah (circle) concept and style, the great Umayyad jami’ mosque in Damascus boasted several technical terms for its numerous and diversified teaching and learning assemblies. George Makdisi in his work The Rise of Colleges enumerated and duly explained four of such terms and concepts as were available in the 10th AH / 16th AC century.[21]

In this context, similarly, it should be highlighted that there were more than a few institutions of different types which regularly adjoined principal mosques. With their physical locations and function types vis-à-vis the dynamism of the mosques they abutted, those institutions were in effect sections or annexes of the mosques’ vast complexes, occasionally even sharing the same walls. As a few examples, according to Ibn Battuta, the jami’ mosque of the city of Mosul in Iraq had right in front of it a public hospital.[22]The first hospital in Egypt, which was opened in 259 AH / 872 AC, also stood close to the jami’ mosque of Ahmad b. Tulun.[23]Furthermore, the jami’ mosque of the city of Aleppo in Syria, according to Ibn Jubayr, had on its western side a splendid madrasah in support of the Hanafi madhhab.[24]The madrasah was attached (yattasilu bihi) to the mosque, which might indicate that the two in fact shared a wall, the western wall of the mosque being the eastern wall of the madrasah.

So, therefore, since the mosque was an institution which hand-in-hand with other societal institutions and establishments spurred Islamic society towards a cultural and civilizational ascent and excellence, there must have existed the highest level of mutual understanding, cooperation and support between the mosque and the other institutions and establishments in society. For the most part, and barring some anomalous cases and circumstances which were exceptions rather than rules, that exactly was the case between the mosque and the other evolving institutions and establishments in the state of Islam, firstly during the institutionalization of the mosque’s diverse roles and functions, and then during the partial institutional decentralization. The mosque and the other institutions stood and worked together in ranks as if they were a “firm and compact structure”. They formed an institutional coalition which was held together in unity and strength, each part (institution) contributing strength in its own way, and the whole held together not like a mass but like a living organism.[25]

Indeed, the success of the Muslim society, in any time and space, depends on the success of the functions of its major institutions and establishments, the mosque institution leading the way, and how closely they collaborate and support each other in achieving the unified goals of society. Conversely, the breakdown of a society is linked with the breakdown and lethargy of the functions of its major institutions and establishments, the mosque institution again leading the way, and how far they are alienated from each other in terms of their societal commitments and responsibilities. If there is a dichotomy, or a conflict, either at an ideological or a practical plane, in the services which those institutions and establishments render to society and its people, that connotes that such a society is one without a clear orientation, purpose, vision, system and strategy. In such a society, the hardly procured, and sometimes very scarce, resources, energy, skills and competence tend to go wasted and abused. Because they are used for a set of different, often conflicting, objectives and agendas, with differing and incompatible protagonists in the game, they, at best, fail to generate the impact that was anticipated, or that would definitely have been generated if the valued resources, energy, skills and competence were utilized for a unified purpose, by the unified and concerted efforts and strategies of the diverse state institutions and agencies, and at the hands of compatible, truthful and dedicated individuals.

            This means, for example, that there is something chronically wrong in a Muslim society where the purpose, mission and functions of the mosque institution are not in the vein of, or worse yet, are at odds or clash with, the purpose, mission and functions of the educational, political and business institutions of the same society. Truly, the same code applies to all the segments of society, including the mass media, leisure, entertainment, government, economy, science, technology and the domestic life. That means, furthermore, that there is something fatally wrong if Muslims in their societies in their mosques are exposed to, taught and made to duly subscribe to the worldview of Islam and its system of values and moral principles, but no sooner do they step outside from the domains of mosques and subject themselves to the direct influences of the domains of the other sectors of society, than they become exposed to and are aggressively bombarded with the promotional or actual elements of other alien-to-Islam worldviews and life systems. In other word, people become painfully torn between the message of the mosque and the contradicting messages, partly or completely, of the other institutions and establishments. People become torn between the true and intrinsic message of Islam and some other fraudulent messages belonging to some alien ideologies and philosophies which the institutions that oppose the mosque (Islam) have embraced.

Indeed, the God of the mosque is the God of everything else. People live and act in accordance with the requirements of their life purpose and mission, which encompasses both this world and the Hereafter, not only in the mosque but also everywhere else. Muslims cannot worship Allah in the mosque and then, outside it, like in the arenas of mass media, entertainment, fashion, politics, commerce, science, technology, domestic life, etc., they turn to worshiping or glorifying some other gods, deities or idols. Similarly, Muslims cannot propagate and hold supreme the worldview, principles and values of Islam in the mosque, but outside it they advocate and hold supreme other sets of worldviews, principles and values. Muslims cannot be believers and servants of Allah in their mosques, but outside them they are, for example, secularists in politics, materialists and self-aggrandizers in commerce, hedonists in leisure and entertainment, fraudsters and fibbers in mass media, extreme careerism seekers in education, and individualists and narcissists at home. In Islam, life in its totality is to be seen as worship and the whole earth as a mosque. In all the terrestrial pursuits of his, a Muslim is to view himself as no more than a servant of his Creator and Lord, Allah. Being a servant of Allah is what every person has been creator for and what everyone ought to be very proud of. The greatest people who had walked on the earth, that is, holy prophets and messengers (peace be upon them all), were merely Allah’s servants too, finding it most rewarding, gratifying and uplifting.

The children, one of the main targets of our religious, educational and development efforts, and the future standard-bearers of society’s development, are more than anybody else gullible and susceptible to falling prey to this perilous state of affairs. If they are taught or trained something in the mosque, but outside it they are taught, trained or aggressively exposed to something else, which, however, conflicts and is incompatible with the former, the children’s fragile, subtle and embryonic mind will suffer. Although they will be able, hopefully, to distinguish between the truth of Islam and the falsehood, remaining faithfully committed to the former, the free existence, coupled with a freer deceptive propagation, of quite a few types and manifestations of the falsehood alongside the banner of Islam, all vying against each other for an ultimate triumph, supremacy and dominance, would prove too much to bear for so many nascent minds. Many will eventually crack, albeit inadvertently, under the strain of being persistently targeted by the agents of diverse, but contradictory, ideas, philosophies and dogmas. Widespread confusion, cynicism, indifference and mediocrity, and occasional cases of outright perdition, apostasy and blasphemy, on the one hand, and frequent cases of deadening religious formalism, bigotry, fanaticism and extremism, on the other, are some of the chief psychological and spiritual disorders that Muslim societies will have to suffer as a result of the mentioned institutional ideological dichotomy, if such is allowed to be established and to thrive. In short, Islam in mosques alone is not enough for completely transforming, correcting and bringing forward Muslim societies, especially if there is a powerful active presence of some anti-Islamic forces inside the societal spheres other than the mosque’s sphere. An institutional ideological harmony, cohesion and collaboration, rather than a conflict and dichotomy, is the key for the progress of Muslims and their societies, with the mosque institution playing a markedly decisive role in the process – as it always did.

It goes without saying, therefore, that the best and most ideal scenario would be that the quintessence of what the Muslim children in Muslim societies learn and are exposed to in mosques, is the quintessence of what they learn and are exposed to in schools, shopping centers, through the media, on the street and other public spaces, at home, etc. Striving towards making this scenario a tangible and total reality, in point of fact, denotes our striving towards the dutifully discharging of our duties towards the children whom Allah has entrusted to us. To do otherwise would mean but a betrayal of Allah’s trust upon us, and the betrayal of the faith that children have placed in us in matters pertaining to their growth and maturity: physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual.

Finally, the institutional ideological dichotomy, which is here strongly repudiated, is by no means synonymous with the impartial and scientific exposure of the Muslim youth to other ideologies, religions and worldviews, which, as a matter of fact, is highly recommended to be promoted and integrated in Muslim educational systems. That is for the sake of enriching and broadening the minds of the Muslim youth, as well as for the sake of instilling in them a sense of understanding, tolerance and respect for others, which, at the same time, is bound to cause them to become far better grounded in Islam and more understanding and appreciative of their own Islamic religious experiences. They will then become more pragmatic, sensible and productive. Their genuine contributions not only to the cause of Islam and Muslims, but also to the universal causes of mankind, will considerably increase too. Indeed, an institutional ideological harmony warrants a success to Muslims at all the planes of their existence. The opposite, i.e., an institutional ideological dichotomy, warrants a failure and hopelessness, also at all the planes of the Muslim presence.



[1] Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Hadith No. 6217.

[2] Ibid., Book 032, Hadith No. 6219.

[3] Ibid., Book 032, Hadith No. 6258.

[4]Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 43, Hadith No. 626.

[5] Munir-ud-Din Ahmed, Muslim Education and the Scholars’ Social Status up to the 5th Century Muslim Era, (Zurich: Verlag Der Islam, 1968), p. 119.

[6] Oxford Islamic Studies Online,

[7] Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa, translated and selected by H. A. R. Gibb, (London: Darf Publishers LTD, 1983), p. 92.

[8] Naser Khosraw, Book of Travels, translated from Persian by W. M. Thackston, Jr., (Albany: Bibliotheca Persica, 1986), p. 53.

[9] George Makdisi, The Rise of Colleges, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981), p. 20.

[10] Ibid., p. 20.

[11] Ibid., p. 22.

[12] Ibn Jubayr, Rihlah Ibn Jubayr, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2003), p. 43.

[13] Ibid., p. 43.

[14] Ibid., p. 43.

[15] Munir-ud-Din Ahmed, Muslim Education and the Scholars’ Social Status up to the 5th Century Muslim Era, p. 119.

[16] Ibid., p. 115-119.

[17] Ibid., p. 116.

[18] Ibid., p. 120.

[19] Ibid., p. 120.

[20] George Makdisi, The Rise of Colleges, p. 13.

[21] Ibid., p. 20.

[22] Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa, p. 103.

[23] Al-Maqrizi, Al-Mawa’iz wa al-I’tibar bi Dhikr al-Khitat wa al-Athar, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1998), vol. 4 p. 267.

[24] Ibn Jubayr, Rihlah Ibn Jubayr, p. 197.

[25] Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and the Commentary, see the commentary of the verse no. 4 from the al-Saff chapter (surah) (Commentary No. 5433).

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