This article collates some suggestions following discussion with Masjid leaders about how to retain and engage Muslims who have filled the masaajid during the blessed days of Ramadan. The suggestions have been based on consultation with 80+ attendees to taraweeh and discussions with Imams and committee members. If you have suggestions or practices you would like to share, please comment or contact us.
- Islamic studies | 30-45 mins: many who have frequented a masjid in Ramadan recognise the importance of general guidance on day to day living as a Muslim which does not require much pre-requisite knowledge and is similar in nature to a jumuah reminder which many are not always able to make in time. Content should focus on contemporary issues which are driven through questions and interaction with attendees as well as common themes of discussion or news which the majority of people, young and old, can relate to. The topics may be based on fiqh scenarios or hadith explanations with high levels of interaction.
- How to reconnect with Allah(SWT) through salaah | 30 mins: The main distinguishing feature of a Muslim and the first thing we will be held accountable for is our salaah (prayer). This session should address the practicalities of wudhu and salaah covering both the correct actions based on the Prophetic example and the spirit of salaah that would help the mind focus and reflect on this intimate moment with Allah(SWT). Where possible, use demonstrations and encourage open questions and answers.
- Entry level Qur’an | 1 hour: It seems increasingly common that many adults have forgotten how to read the Qur’an or feel ashamed to read it in Arabic for fear of making mistakes. To remove the stigma associated with struggling with the Qur’an its important that this is is an absolute beginners course which assumes no previous knowledge of the Arabic script, either in recognition or recitation – this way there is no fear of embarrassment in trying to learn. Digital tools and listening resources should be used to support learning – remember the Prophet(SAW) never learnt how to read the Qur’an from a written text.The Qur’an is a direct and personal message from Allah to each of us so its important to share reflections on the meaning and regular encouragement to attendees who Allah(SWT) has specifically chosen to speak to through the Qur’an.
- Intermediate Qur’an | 1 hour: Its more than likely that those who frequent the masjid on a regular basis will be familiar with Arabic reading and therefore this session should focus on learning tajweed and encouraging regular reading of the Qur’an. At the same time, it should not be a dry recital session, rather it should include insight into the Qur’anic message so the attendees grow in connection with Allah(SWT) and progress in reflecting on the Qur’an and embark on a journey of further learning.
- One minute madrassa | 1-5 mins: Based on the concept of the popular One Minute Manager book (Amazon), this is a short reminder after salaah which acts as a motivation and bite-size piece of advice to encourage daily spiritual growth.
- Qur’anic reflections | 30-45 mins: This is a weekly session which walks through the Qur’an based on classical and contemporary tafseer (explanation of the Quranic meaning).
- Page-to-page reading of the Qur’an in English | 1 hour: One of the commitments many make in the month of Ramadan is to actually read the Qur’anic translation although this can be difficult to sustain alone. The masjid can host or facilitate a weekly reading of a portion of the Qur’an – perhaps a quarter, half or complete juz reflecting on the key lessons and sharing the reading amongst the group.
- Pray and play | 1.5 hours: Using the masjid as a key meeting point for salaah prior to a sports session is a great way of establishing a positive relationship with the masjid and a weekly pray and play session is an opportunity for parents to spend time with their children in a fun, social context as well as get to know their peer group. Football and swimming are quite popular play activities for large groups but there are also opportunities to connect through badminton, squash, table tennis or a whole host of other sports.
- Storytime | 1 hour: The Qur’an, Prophetic Sunnah and Islamic history are filled with amazing anecdotes and stories which captivate the mind and deliver powerful and inspiring lessons for all. Storytime is open to young and old and can be an excellent forum for families to attend together and socialise with some tea and biscuits too. Storytime sessions can be also led by parents who are well informed and articulate.
- Community service | 1 hour: Giving back to our local communities through worthy causes is a great way of living our Deen. You can arrange a street cleaning session, neighbourhood watch or youth programme. Alternatively, contact charities in your area to arrange volunteering opportunities such as your foodbank, hospice or local council fostering care team.
- Professional development | 1 hour: Arranging masterclasses or short programmes (public speaking, careers advice, healthy nutrition, programming 101, parenting sessions, speaking to the press, media production, website design 101 etc.). Alternatively focus on a 3-6 month project e.g. fundraising initiative, resource development, implementing a masjid broadcast facility (online/podcasts) etc.