Articles

How to run an Islamic Society

Overcoming Challenges Encountered by Islamic Societies

Guidelines on how to run a successful Islamic Society

Compiled by

FOSIS Islamic Societies Coordinating Committee

Introduction




It is often said that “the friends you make in university are the friends you’ll have for life”. This highlights the important role that universities often play in defining a person’s life and shaping his or her character. It is therefore important that the services offered to students are always based on good Islamic values.

The aims of Islamic Societies are to provide the correct environment in which Islamic values can be encouraged, so that students are able to fulfil their Islamic duties with ease. Islamic Societies are there to promote the unity of Muslims, and strengthen networks between Muslims, non-Muslims and the community. They are also there to encourage working for the sake of Allah, by providing opportunities for its members to learn more about Islam.

Islamic Societies consequently have a large responsibility in ensuring a good Islamic experience for its many members. But with such a large task, challenges are often encountered, that can become large hurdles if not tackled promptly. This document aims to provide basic guidelines for running a Society, inshaAllah reducing difficult challenges.

The Executive Committee

The strength and integrity of a Society depends upon its executive committee, and in particular how well the executives cooperate in working for the sake of Allah.

The vision

§ A united vision is extremely important for ensuring all members work towards the same goal.

§ Strive always to act in accordance with the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah, and remember that all work is done only for the sake of Allah.

§ Ensure that the Islamic Society Constitution is clear in its aims and objectives.

§ Define clear roles for each committee member.

§ Develop a list of aims and objectives for the forthcoming year, and how they will be achieved.

§ Brief all committee members of the successes and failures of events held over the past year.

The executive committee members

§ Ensure that the executive committee represents the members of the whole Society. For example, if the majority is made up of home students, do not have international students as the majority in the committee.

§ Keep a balance between the number of brothers and sisters in the committee.

§ Ensure that all members attend training days offered by the Student Union and FOSIS.

Meetings

§ Begin each meeting with an Islamic reminder.

§ Keep meetings professional.

§ Maintain segregation between brothers and sisters, keeping interactions between them at a minimum.

§ Ensure confidentiality.

§ Have clear agendas available.

§ Set time limits and be considerate of those that have responsibilities outside the Society.

Handover from the old to the new committee

§ Each new committee should have an Ex-Officio, a person who was present in the previous year’s committee and is very familiar with how the Society is run.

§ Old executive members should train and mentor their successors, passing on all relevant information and paperwork.

Islamic Society Members

The Islamic Society is designed to aid all members in having a beneficial university experience, and not just the committee members. Therefore plenty of consideration is required in recruiting and providing services to the general members. Students will not blindly sign up for a society just because they happen to fall into a particular religious category, and so it is important that they are aware of exactly what their Islamic Society has to offer.

Islamic Society Publicity Leaflet

§ Aims and objectives of the Society.

§ Events to be held.

§ Successes of the previous year.

§ Committee members and their contact details.

Recruiting members

Set up a stall at the Freshers Fayre:

§ Have at least one brother and one sister present at any time.

§ Include Society Publicity Leaflets in the Freshers’ Pack.

§ Make suggestion forms available for members to fill in on the spot.

§ Visually and verbally advertise forthcoming events.

§ Provide directions to the mosque/prayer rooms.

§ Provide prayer timetables.

§ Have free gifts.

§ Approach individuals - it is often personal contact that encourages a person to join.

§ All committee members are representatives at all times, so manners should always be in check.

Awareness of the Islamic Society

Hold a general meeting at the beginning of the year:

§ Ensure that the venue is outside the mosque to encourage all members to attend.

§ Outline the aims and objectives of the Society.

§ Introduce the committee.

§ Hold committee elections if a new committee is to be chosen.

Hold a general meeting at the end of the year:

§ Present the Society annual report.

§ Review successes and failures of the Society.

§ Hold a session in which committee members discuss outcome of their roles last yea'.

§ Hold committee elections if a new committee is to be chosen

Keep an updated website:

§ Include the same details as those in the Publicity Leaflet.

§ Display a continuously-updated calendar of events.

§ Advertise events well in advance.

§ Display a prayer timetable.

§ Incorporate a discussion forum

Have a permanent notice board in the mosque dedicated to the Society only:

§ Include the same details as those in the Publicity Leaflet.

§ Display a continuously-updated calendar of events.

§ Advertise events well in advance

§ Keep the notice board clutter-free

Organise a dawah stall on a regular basis:

§ Set up a stall at least once a month.

§ Locate the stall in an area of high traffic, such as outside or inside the Student Union building.

§ Aim to run the stall at peak hours, such as from 11am to 2pm.

§ Have at least one brother and one sister present at any time.

§ Display Society Publicity Leaflets as well as free literature and gifts.

Islamic Society Events

The events held by a Society are one of the key reasons why people join. These events need to reflect the qualities of the Society, being in line with Islamic values.

Types of events

§ Educational – lectures, workshops, halaqahs, dawah training etc.

§ Social – dinners, barbecues, picnics, trips to theme parks etc.

§ Sporting – football, badminton, bowling, horse-riding, archery, canoeing, nature walks etc.

Planning events

§ Regularly brainstorm for events to be held over the year.

§ Have only one person head each event.

§ Have the aims and objectives clear to everyone.

§ Plan each event with structure, and to great detail.

§ Know your audience, and tackle issues that may directly affect them.

§ Don’t hold all events in the mosque – not everyone is comfortable in a mosque environment.

Recruiting volunteers

§ Define very specific tasks and deadlines.

§ Place a volunteer sign-up sheet on the notice board.

§ Approach volunteers personally to ask for help.

§ Tell them about the importance and rewards for volunteering

Publicity

§ Posters, flyers, email.

§ Student Union newspaper article.

§ Friday announcements.

§ Word of mouth.

§ Personal invitations.

Running events

§ Ensure that all committee members are present and punctual on the day.

§ Ensure the organisers and volunteers are easily visible, either by name-tags or customised t-shirts.

§ Prepare back-ups for delays such as the late arrival of a guest speaker. For example prepare a fill-in speech or flash presentation or play nashids.

§ Ensure that there are enough people to tidy up after the event.

§ Make clear who the point(s) of contact are, and ensure that all bases are covered.

§ Provide refreshments.

Events post-mortem

§ Hold a committee meeting after each event to discuss successes, failures and possible solutions.

§ Write a report of the event and submit it to the General Secretary so that he/she can compile it in an annual report.


© Federation of Student Islamic Societies 1963-2014