Message from the Mosque: A praiseworthy project by Mashal – by Awais Masood

The question regarding the root causes of religious extremism, fundamentalism and Talibanization holds a central position in our contemporary discourse. Is religious extremism, a product of abject poverty and impoverishment? Or is it an outcome of modernity? Is it the struggle of rural poor against the exploitative socio-economic structures? Or it is mainly the disenchantment of middle class with the radical changes taking place in the society? How much role is being played by foreign intervention in aggravating this volatile situation? How much do sectarian and theological differences contribute in creating an intolerant environment?

These questions form a significant part of our discourse yet there have not been much serious attempts to analyze the situation with concrete statistical data that can help researchers in understanding the current changes that are taking place within the society.

Friday Sermon (Jumma ka Khutba) constitutes a key cultural and religious role within Pakistan. Friday is considered a special day of worship in Islam and Muslim believers attend Friday prayers in large gatherings. Before the prayer, religious leaders (Imams/Khateebs) deliver sermons which may relate to anything ranging from contemporary politics to religious morality. A detailed analysis of the Friday sermons delivered in different parts of the country may help us in understanding the true nature of the problem.

Mashal is a non-commercial and non-profit organization located in Lahore, Pakistan which promotes and conducts educational and social activities, and publishes books in Urdu on women’s rights, education, environment, science, philosophy, and contemporary issues. To understand what fuels major cultural and social change in Punjab today, Mashal has undertaken a project, ‘Message from the Mosque’ which presents, in their original form, a large number of speeches delivered in various mosques. Researchers can access the audio, its transcription into Urdu, and translation into English, all with just a few clicks.

Researchers may access the project page by clicking at the following link:

Mashal official website could be accessed at:

Source: First published at Secular Pakistan



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