Masjid library initiative in Pakistan

Why not?

The Masjid is the central point of congregation for Muslims and is known as the abode of the Almighty. In Islamic culture, Masjid holds a profound significance among the Muslim ummah. History reveals that the Masjid was a central point for the Muslims to share religious knowledge and spread the wisdom of Allah.

It is a place to preach the knowledge of the Almighty and teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). A place of communal cohesion and social interaction. A place where people of common interest come together, pray to Allah, interact and ask about the wellbeing of others. The masjid is undoubtedly a real place for education, religion, ethics and manners.  It holds a revered position in Islam.

People of today’s era consider the Masjid to be the only place of worship. Interestingly, masjid is a true place for community engagements, intellectual enlightenment, social interaction and spiritual growth.  History witnessed that the Masjid has been pivotal in fostering spiritual knowledge, religious teachings and societal harmony. Let me quote the example of Baitullah and Masjid-i-Nabavi which are together a nucleus for the entire Muslim ummah. where they come together and seek forgiveness from Allah, and endow their lives for the preaching of Islam. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared the Masjid a vibrant hub of Quranic and hadith teaching and a source of learning for commerce, social cohesion, harmony and code of Islamic ethics. The Masjid is pivotal in promoting justice and societal issues and instilling a sense of significance among Muslims. It is the centre of gravity for the Muslim to promote spiritual and intellectual growth.

As mentioned above, In the past, masjids were charmingly small, crafted from mud, and served as versatile spaces for various community activities. In today’s era masjids are designed with a proper ventilation system, are places of calmness, decorated with beautiful marble and costly carpets. Nowadays, the Masjid occupy more area than that of earlier periods.

History has witnessed that Muslims of the earlier days have declared masjids as a knowledge gateway. the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a great admirer of knowledge and encouraged both genders to seek knowledge. A library is a place where you can explore a world of knowledge, find peace and quiet, and dive into countless books and resources. Libraries and Masjids are parallel places that educate the people for the noble deeds.   The core objectives of Masjid and libraries are to develop a sense of the acquisition and disseminating of knowledge in diverse disciplines. Masjids and libraries share a common ethos of serving humanity in fostering community harmony and promoting learning capabilities. Establishing Libraries in Masjids means bridging the gap between religious devotion and intellectual pursuits and creating holistic spaces for the Muslims’ social, educational and spiritual needs.

A Masjid library is an inspirational idea for the community of Pakistan. Let’s ignite this initiative by starting with our local Masjid and fostering a culture of learning and growth. Ostensibly, No society can thrive without the support of joining hands. Let’s promote libraries in every Masjid to elevate our collective knowledge and growth. 

There is a growing recognition of the Masjids in contemporary times. In today’s information era, libraries play tremendous roles and are a counterpart of every organization, whether research institutions, academia, or business occupations.  Library in the Masjid would be a place of great communal enrichment and intellectual growth, libraries align with the core principles of Islam in more sophisticated ways. Masjid and libraries are a central place for the entire community to promote literacy rate, civic engagement and intellectual curiosity.

However, the question arises: Who can establish the libraries in the masjid? Does it require a strategy? The answer is yes. It requires a concrete measurement and comprehensive plans while planning a library; a few worthy steps include community engagement, where people of common interest come together to solicit book donations and raise the importance of masjid libraries. The second option for the masjid library is to formulate a committee comprising volunteers, educationists and religious scholars to manage the library for goodwill. Similarly, in every society, people of different government missionaries come to pray in the Masjid; they should be convinced to promote library donations.

Another question is about book acquisition. Initially, the people of the surrounding community can share their extra books instead of selling them as scrap. The library committee should collect cash from the donors to acquire new books. Another good idea to make the library successful is a social media platform, where people of different spheres should be motivated to donate their books. Infrastructure development is yet another question.  Initially, a corner room inside the masjid would be established with a few shelves. Usually, some people have extra shelves in their homes, they should donate these shelves for this cause. Organizations like publishers and local community libraries should be contacted to donate their extra books.

Similarly, local publishers should be contacted to provide them with books at lowest prices. The library should be ventilated with normal temperature in both summer and winter seasons. Management and maintenance of the library is yet another question, it is imperative for the  library committee to  take necessary care of the books and other reading materials. There should be proper organization of books, and a devoted person should keep records for charging and discharging books.

A Masjid library is an inspirational idea for the community of Pakistan. Let’s ignite this initiative by starting with our local Masjid and fostering a culture of learning and growth. Ostensibly, No society can thrive without the support of joining hands. Let’s promote libraries in every Masjid to elevate our collective knowledge and growth.

Abid Hussain
Abid Hussain
The writer is a library officer at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. He can be reached at [email protected]

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