As I write this, I hope no one accuses me of blasphemy and atheism, and labels me as a non-believer without knowing the reason for what I am about to say.
I have previously also written on this topic in the hope that some things can be set right in the interest of this beloved country.
According to official statistics, the Sunni and Jaafari endowments administrations manage 1,320 mosques and 632 ma’atams, and their numbers are increasing.
In spite of that, there is now a proposal to build 22 more mosques in Hamad Town and Al Lawzi areas, which will eventually replace the nearly 40 unauthorised structures that are already serving the purpose.
The Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry is taking legal measures to correct their status and is being assisted in this endeavour by several philanthropists with good intentions.
The question, however, is do we really need so many mosques and ma’atams in Bahrain which has a small area and a small population?
It is also a matter of concern that some so-called well-wishers have taken it upon themselves to contribute to the building of these mosques to serve their own personal gains, keeping in mind their intention to contest elections in future.
As is said, whoever wants to pray will find a place to do so; and whoever searches for good will find it regardless of the circumstances. This is at the core of Islamic culture which says that if one finds a mosque, one prays there and if one does not, he prays on the floor – anywhere. And the place where he prays becomes a mosque!
The conclusion is that whoever wants to pray should not give an excuse that he was unable to do so since there wasn’t any mosque around. Everyone these days has different modes of transport so there is no need to make flimsy and unacceptable excuses.
Our Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever builds a mosque for God, God will build for him a house in Paradise like him.”
This does not mean that we build more and more. And I believe that the reward will be the same if the benefactors and philanthropists build a centre for orphans, the blind, the infirm, or people with special needs, establish a health centre, donate medical equipment, provide monthly aid to destitute families, or material support to poor patients to receive treatment abroad. The list is endless.
There are many Bahraini families that have contributed to building pioneering and necessary projects that serve all citizens and residents alike, and they have never built a single mosque. Would these people not get homes in Heaven?
A large number of Bahraini families have moved away from densely populated areas and mosques and ma’atams are in disuse because these areas are now inhabited by non-Muslim expatriates. Maintaining a mosque and a ma’atam requires an operating budget, not to mention salaries of imams and other logistics.
I hope that clear standards will be set in a scientific way, away from courtesy, affirmation and concern for the general interest of our dear country and our loyal people.