Prophet (SAS) said, “Everyone is born on fitra or with correct belief. It is the parents and the surroundings of a child which divert him from the correct belief and make him a Jew or Christian or any other”. Hence Islamic teachings are exactly opposite to the prevalent Christian faith that every person is born with sin and Jesus was put to the cross to wash off the sins of the Christians.
It is because of the presence of this very correct belief in Allah, (SWT) embedded in the conscience of the people, that they accept the guidance sent to them through prophets. Allah (SWT) guides towards this light whosoever He wishes. Where do you find such people? These people are generally found in the houses of Allah (SWT) or Masajid, establishing Salat and engaging themselves in the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
We must, therefore, show a great deal of respect to masajid.
An-Nur # 36-38
In houses (mosques) which Allah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is remembered [i.e. Adhan, Iqamah, Salat (prayers), invocations, recitation of the Quran etc.]. Therein glorify Him (Allah) in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings, Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the Remembrance of Allah (with heart and tongue), nor from performing As-Salat, nor from giving the Zakat. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection). That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.
Narrated by Anas, (RU) Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whosoever wishes to love Allah (SWT), should love me. Whosoever loves me should love my companions. Whosoever loves my companions, should love the Quran. Whosoever loves the Quran, should love masajid. Masajid are houses of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) has ordered us to respect them. Allah (SWT) has blessed these places and those who are in them for legitimate use. Allah (SWT) protects these masajid and their occupants. These occupants establish salat in these masajid. Allah (SWT) fulfills their needs and wishes. Allah (SWT) protects their belongings while they are in the masajid.”
There are many characteristics of masajid which elevate their position over other places. Abu Omama (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whoever starts off from his home for a masjid with ablution will have a great deal of reward. His reward is equivalent to the reward of a person who departs from his home with Ihram for Hajj. Whoever departs from his home for a masjid with ablution for Salat is rewarded equivalent to the reward of an Umra. If this person stays in the masjid after Salat and waits for the next Salat, his name will be written in Illuyeen.” (Muslim)
Burada (RU) narrated that Prophet (SAS) said, “Whoever goes to the masjid in pitch darkness, convey him good tidings of ‘total light’ on the day of judgement”. (Muslim)
Abu Hurrairah (RU) narrated that Prophet (SAS) said, “Praying in a masjid is better than praying at home or elsewhere.” In fact, when a person starts off from his home towards a masjid with ablution and with the sole intention to pray there, then his level is raised with Allah (SWT) higher and higher with his each step till he reaches the masjid. When he is waiting in the masjid for the congregational prayer, he receives reward from Allah (SWT) as if he is offering his Salat. Angles will keep praying for him during this waiting period as long as he maintains his ablution and does not harm anybody. Angels request Allah, ‘O Allah, (SWT) please shower your blessing on this person and forgive his sins’” (Muslim)
It is narrated by Hakam bin Umar (RU) the Prophet (SAS) said, “Stay in this world as if you are a guest here. Consider Masjid as your house. Make your heart soft and responsive to the call of Allah (SWT). Ponder a lot about the bounties of Allah (SWT) bestowed upon you. Cry a lot with consciousness or fear of Allah (SWT). Don’t let worldly attractions lead to build huge mansions in which you may not have even a chance to reside. Be careful not to accumulate wealth beyond your needs. Don’t try to be carried away by wishes which you may never attain.” (Qurtubi)
Abu Al-Darda (RU) advised his son to consider masjid as his house since he heard Prophet (SAS) saying, “Whoever will consider a masjid as his house, Allah (SWT) guarantees peace of mind for him and will make the crossing of the ‘Bridge Sirat’ easy for him on the day of judgement.” (Qurtubi)
Prophet (SAS) said, “In later ages some people will sit in various groups in the masajid and will be engaged only in worldly talk indicating love for the worldly life. Don’t sit with them, since Allah (SWT) does not need such people in the masajid.” (Qurtubi)
Saeed bin Al-Mussayib said, “Whoever is sitting in the house of Allah (SWT) he is sitting in the company of Allah. He should only engage himself in beneficial and good talk.” (Qurtubi)
Scholars have described at least fifteen items regarding the respect for the masajid.
1. On arriving in the masjid greet the occupants with Salam if they are not involved in Salat or recitation of Quran or remembrance of Allah. If nobody is there, you should pronounce, “Salam be on us and on the God-fearing people” Of course, angel will answer your salam, if no person seems to be there.
2. Offer two rakat Salat for respect of this place (called Tahayyat-ul-Masjid, as long as it is not one of the three prohibited times for salat. Those three times are at the rising and setting of the sun and when it (sun) is exactly above your head at noon time.
3. Don’t engage in business dealings inside the masjid.
4. Don’t take out sword (weapons) there.
5. Don’t make announcement for lost items.
6. Don’t raise your voice in the masjid.
7. Don’t engage in worldly talk.
8. Don’t quarrel with others.
9. Don’t squeeze yourself between two persons in a row if there is not enough space for you.
10. Don’t walk in front of a person who is offering his salat.
11. Try not to spit or clean your nose inside the masjid.
12. Don’t crack your knuckles.
13. Don’t play with any part of your body. (Especially when listening to Friday’s Khutba).
14. Observe cleanliness and don’t try to take very small children or a mad person with you to the masjid.
15. Engage yourself there in remembrance of Allah (SWT) excessively. (Qurtubi)
In verse # 37 of An-Nur the characteristic of those men who always inhabit these masajid are given. The word ‘men’ in this verse points out that masajid are actually for the use of men. The salat of a woman is better in her home than a masjid.
Umm Salma [ narrated that Prophet (SAS) said, “The best mosque for a woman is the interior part of her house”.
(Musnad Ahmad and Bahiqi)
It means that it is better for a woman to pray at home for more reward. She may, however, pray in masjid if there is a suitable separate area for the women to pray. Women should, be encouraged to go to a masjid if there is some educational activity going on in the masjid. Education is very important and unfortunately women have very limited opportunities to receive it. There has to be, of course, suitable and separate seating arrangement for women.
In the above verse # 37 of An-Nur the characteristics of men who mostly occupy these masajid are described very precisely.
a). Trade and shopping does not divert their attention away from the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
b). They establish salat.
c). They pay Zakat.
d). Their hearts tremble with the thought of the Day of Judgement when hearts and eyes will be overturned due to the horror of the Day of Judgement. Hence these occupants of masajid do not brag about their various forms of worship of Allah (SWT). They rather humble themselves more in seeking the bounties of Allah (SWT).
At this time, following will be a good question to ask, who should run the affairs of a masjid? Answer to this question is given in
The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the last Day, perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), ang give Zakat and fear none but Allah. It is they who are on true guidance.
Hence characteristics of those persons who should run the affairs of a masjid are as follows:
(a). They believe in Allah (SWT).
(b). They believe in the Day of Judgement.
(c). They establish salat.
(d). They pay Zakat.
(e). They do not fear anybody except Allah (SWT).
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “You should be witness to the faith of a person if he comes to the masjid regularly. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
Salman Farsi (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whoever comes to the masjid he is like a guest who intends to visit Allah, (SWT) and Allah (SWT) honors his guest.” (Mazari)
The word “yaamoro” in verse # 18 of At-Taubah means:
(a) To build masajid. (b) To maintain masajid. (c) To run the affairs of masajid. (d) To make use of masajid for remembrance, salat and education.
In doing so, it is wrongful to forbid other people to make use of a masjid for remembrance of Allah (SWT) and salat. Al-Baqarah # 114
And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah’s Name be glorified and mentioned much in Allah’s mosques and strive for their ruin? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah’s Mosques) except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter.
Hence discouraging people for the use of a masjid is very sinful. According to a Hadith, one of the signs of closeness of the Day of Judgement will be that the masajid will be very decorative and elaborate but attendance of people in each masjid will be very low.
Ali (RU) said that there are six important things to show a respectable and humanistic behavior. Three of them are to be observed when we are in our homes and the other three when we are on a journey.
1. To recite the Quran.
2. To visit masajid regularly.
3. To organize a group of people who help in the path of Allah (SWT).
4. To share our meal with the poor.
5. To display good manners.
6. To treat travelers cheerfully while keeping ourselves within limits of Allah (SWT).
May Allah accept our salat and other forms of worship performed in a masjid, and make us a regular visitor of His house (masjid). Ameen