Your masjid's or Islamic Center's bylaws provide a structure
for group activities. They also form a written agreement among
the members of the community or organization. When we sign an application form we
agree to do certain things in a certain way. To violate the bylaws
is to break the agreement one has with the other members.
As we know, Allah (swt) has told us to put things in writing
and to honor our agreements. Your organization's bylaws represent a shura and
an agreement. To honor this is implied by all who become members
of your group
Unfortunately, it appears as if few members of our communities know
or understand the need for bylaws. This includes those who hold positions
of responsibility in our communities.
This failure to know and follow bylaws is, in my opinion,
one of the main reasons why so many Muslim communities are inactive and
ineffective within a swirl of hurt feelings amongst members of the community.
If you are a member of some kind of Islamic Center or other organization
it is your duty to know and follow its bylaws, and to hold
the other members of your group accountable to them. It
is part of what you agreed to do when you became a member.
One set of bylaws I have seen were based on the following organizational structure. By means of these four main structures members (and even non-members) are enabled to act on behalf of the whole membership. Each structure has particular responsibilities. With responsibility comes accountability. (Accountability has been sorely lacking in our organizations. A situation that would never be tolerated at a place of employment is tolerated in our efforts to establish Islam!)
The Ad Hoc
Committee structure is the means by which individuals are authorized
to actually engage in activities on behalf of the members of the
AHCs are formed by the Executive Committee in a Memo of Assignment
that is then posted on the bulletin board. The Memo contains the
names of the people doing the activity, a description of their
duties, a completion date and any budget restrictions. AHC is
the structure by which we can do things such as: research a problem
and come up with solutions, plan things like picnics and Eid prayers,
engage in long-term activities such as publishing a newsletter,
engaging in organized da'wah, etc. The AHC Memo of Assignment
lets everyone clearly know WHO is doing WHAT and WHEN it should
be done. The AHC members are then, of course, accountable to the
whole membership for carrying out their duties.
One reason your organization is not as effective as it could
be is that your Executive Committee does the things
that should be done by Ad Hoc Committees.
Don't be surprised if you find Muslims in love with power fighting the implemenation of bylaws.....