By Jennah Adam
06 March 2017
Imam Imraan Husain is the leader of the Gold Coast Mosque at Arundel, Australia, where
around 1,200 Muslims attend the congregational prayer weekly. Previously, he
was the Imam at Nurul Islam Masjid Johannesburg, South Africa for 12 years,
taught at Darul Ulum Mu’eenul Banaat (an academy for Muslim girls in
South Africa) for 6 years, and taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at LMS Lenasia
for 6 years.
After moving to Australia, he taught Arabic
and Islamic Studies at AIC Perth Australia for 7 years and is now an Imam at
Gold Coast Masjid since the year 2005. His love for Australia and determination
to show the people in his country what Muslims are really like led him to lead
by example on the soccer field.
Salaam Alaikum, Imam Imraan, it’s a
pleasure to meet you. Many people who want to be more involved in their local
sports teams usually have time, health, age, or work as excuses to hold them
back. As a 57-year-old leader of a large mosque, you have proved such excuses
invalid. You even ran the 10km Gold Coast Marathon while fasting during the
month of Ramadan. What drives you to get out on the soccer field and track
despite being very busy with your duties as an Imam?
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Having
a balanced life is necessary as Islam has encouraged us not to go to extremes
in any of our affairs. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly is
important; knowing what to eat, when to eat, and how much, are all part of
It can be difficult sometimes to include my
passion for sports in my hectic daily schedule, but it’s important to make the
time for it. The Australian climate, the built sporting facilities, and
pedestrianised areas make it easy to engage in sport. It’s also an opportunity
for me as an imam to interact with the local community in an accessible and
friendly way. In all aspects of life, the ability to meet goals is possible
provided one has the zeal and energy to achieve them.
What does an Imam of a mosque do as part
of his job? Have you shouldered any additional responsibilities in your local
Being an Imam can be challenging as it’s not
only leading the 5 daily prayers and giving sermons as many people assume, but
there is a whole host of other duties and responsibilities, especially for
imams in Western countries. People in Muslim communities often look up to their
imams because they regard them as figures of authority and sources of religious
I carry out educational programs for
children and adults, visit schools and organisations, provide support and help
for converts, visit the sick, fulfil the passages of rites for birth, marriage,
and death, resolve marriage disputes, speak at functions, perform Islamic and
civil marriages, and so much more.
Other additional responsibilities in the
community include taking part in Australia Clean Up Day, working at the local
hospital as a spiritual carer, working as a Justice of Peace at the court,
volunteering at sporting events – especially soccer carnivals, and answering
questions about Islam that people may ask me via email or phone.
The community’s expectations of an Imam are
that he is on duty 24/7. Therefore, I plan my time and set up appointments and
also delegate work so I am able to accommodate my sporting passion.
Have you been successful in reaching out
to the younger generation? How does participating in sports help with that?
I have been able to engage with the youth
primarily as a teacher and mentor in madrasa (Islamic classes). An interactive,
fun community and madrasa is an investment for the future. Without it, one
risks the wellbeing and positive Islamic identity of the future generations in
the West and the rest of the world.
Over the years, I have been working to
achieve that goal in various ways Insha’Allah. For example, we use
interactive videos and activities that give young people opportunities to
express themselves and channel their creativity in expressing the beauty of
Islam. This may be done through prayer, Nasheeds (Islamic songs),
creative projects/performances, and conversations that address real-life
challenges young people face (such as being confident in being Muslim at the
same time as being able to engage in wider Australian society in terms of
excelling at education, sports, healthy living, and having Halal and productive
relationships with family, friends, and the wider community).
Sports activities such as soccer are great
non-formal ways of connecting with young people about their concerns and
aspirations. It teaches the youth confidence, trust, dedication, and teamwork.
These are important life skills and are critical to helping young Muslims
achieve balance in matters of Deen and Dunya (religion and the
Why do you encourage Muslims to be
actively involved in their communities? How do you think this would help
promote harmony among Muslims and non-Muslims?
A dialogue between communities and
interacting with one another helps break down myths and creates understanding.
It is always good to be open-minded and honest. Apart from the indigenous
people of Australia, we are all migrants and share this land. Being isolated is
harmful, as it leads to distrust from both sides. Australians are friendly
people and being connected with them creates a more beautiful world to live in.
I love to start a conversation with
everyone I come into contact with and just feel happy as they can feel that we
Muslims are no threat, but a blessing. Our Lord instructs us to love and care
for humanity, so we need to display this in practice and not just speech.
Jennah Adam is an aspiring artist and novelist. She lives a quiet life
with her family in the American suburbs accompanied by her fantasies, which are
many and vivid.