The Literature, Culture and Society of Singapore

People Behind the Mosque

Ustaz Jalaludin bin Hassan, 2001


There is no priesthood in Islam and so any male who is pious, well respected and learned in religious matters can be the imam to lead the congregation in prayers. All mosques in Singapore generally appoint their own imams. The job of an imam is not just to lead the daily prayers they also provide advice, help and teachings to the jemaah (congregation). There are around 80 full-time imams in Singapore. They would usually have been educated at local or regional madrasahs (religious colleges) or Islamic universities such as the famous Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

Fresh from Al-Azhar University is Ustaz Jalaludin, who represents the new breed of young Islamic graduates who join mosque administrations and Muslim religious organizations.

"I discovered upon taking on the job (as an imam) that the role is bigger than what I expected."

Ustaz Jalaludin's responsibilities include providing counseling services, answering queries on religious topics, administrating divisions of inheritance (faraid), giving religious classes at night, and leading two of the five daily prayers in the mosque. In addition, he is appointed by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) to help administer the imam and khatib (a person who delivers the Friday sermons) body in Singapore, and to participate in the committee responsible for writing the Friday sermons (khutbah).

Exhibition is on at the Asian Civilisations Museum till 31 December 2002. This document is part of a joint project of the Asian Civilisations Museum and the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore. The image and accompanying text appear here with the kind permission of the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Asian Civilisations Museum University Scholars Programme

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Last updated: February 2002