Performance of preachers to be evaluated for quality Filed on June 3, 2005

DUBAI The performance of the Muezzin (the one who calls for prayers) and the Imam (the prayer leader) and preachers in all mosques of Dubai will be soon evaluated by the Dubai Islamic Affairs Department to ensure quality of service.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Saif Al Jabri, Head of the Guidance Section of the Department, said that the department under the instruction of Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General, would organise three committees comprising religious scholars to evaluate the performances of the Muezzin and the Imams to ensure the best service for Muslims in the emirate.

He stressed that the evaluation will be conducted on the performance of all those who provide religious services regardless of the their nationalities or ethnic backgrounds. The first and the foremost basic right of Islam is the right to live and respect human life, where all human beings shall be equal and none shall enjoy a privilege or suffer a disadvantage or discrimination by reason of race, colour, origin or language.

"In one of his sayings, Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Nor does a white man have any superiority over a black man, or a black man over a white man. You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay.' Thus all Muezzins, Imams and preachers from various countries including Arabs would be subjected to evaluation in all the mosques in Dubai. The department is responsible for choosing the most qualified Muezzin and Imam who can perfectly read, recite and understand the Holy Quran. There are so many Asians who can read the Holy Quran and call for prayer more perfectly than some Arabs whose mother tongue, Arabic, is the language of the Holy Quran. Here in the department we look for the best and most qualified reader who could pronounce Arabic words in the proper manner that will not make the verse lose its true meaning," Dr Al Jabri said.

He explained that the fundamental requirements of reading the Holy Quran or 'calling for prayers' is to perfectly pronounce and understand the verses of the holy book. When Arabs and Asians apply for the Imam or Muezzin's position the department gives priority to the best one who is capable of reciting and understanding the Holy Quran.

The applicants are required to appear for interviews and tests conducted by qualified Islamic scholars at the department. The panel of experts selects the distinguished applicants who pass such interviews and tests. Dr Al Jabri said that the interviewer would ask the applicant about Islamic teachings and discuss with him various Islamic issues to ensure that he had enough knowledge about the religion. He would also be asked to read verses from the Holy Quran to test his pronunciation and quality of reading as well as ways of calling for prayer to examine his tone.

He said that the department was supervising and inspecting all the mosques from time to time to ensure better performance of its employees. It also prepared monthly and annual reports on the performance of the employees to help the department reward those who have done well and punish those who make mistakes by terminating their services, if the situation required.

Dr Al Jabri said that the evaluation was aimed at developing the performance of the preachers and mosque Imams as they played a significant role in raising religious awareness among citizens on several social and religious issues and in spreading Islamic teachings and values.

Afkar Abdullah

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