Mosques: their importance & the respect due to them

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1. The prophet (saw) has ordered the building of mosques in each town or village. He has also directed that mosques be kept clean and that they be perfumed every Friday. (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah) Hazrat Umar (ra) used to prevent the buildings of a second mosque through fear of disunity. Otherwise, a second mosque may be built where required in a given area.

2. Hazrat Umar bin Al Khattab (ra) used to arrange for the mosque to be perfumed every Friday. (Ibn Abi Shaibah). Abdullah Al Mujammir used to perfume the mosque every Friday with Bukhoor. Bukhoor is a package mainly of Ouds wood and also other types of wood which burn to produce a perfumed smoke. The mosque may also be perfumed with the fragrance of Itar or even Musk or Zaafraan. (Sharhe Mishkaat- Qari)

3. It is recommended to build a large mosque and to decorate it well. (Muslim)

4. It is recommended to enter the mosque with the right foot first and to leave it with the left foot first.

5. The holy prophet (saw) has prohibited that (Houdood) corporal punishment be inflicted within the mosque area. He has also forbidden that the mosque be often used as a place for singing poems. (Abu Dawood, Muslim)

6. Within the mosque, it is forbidden to engage in conversation about business, transactions or matters relating to property or wealth. It is not permitted to engage in a salaried occupation within the precincts of the mosque. (Tirmizi)

7. It is forbidden to raise one’s voice within the mosque except for salah, talks, khutbah, Islamic teachings, zikrullah, taleem or Qur’an recitation. (Tirmizi). However, individual actions should not disturb any other person. Thus, one should keep away from the mosque those who do not respect the silence of the mosque: small children, mad men and people with loud voices.

8. It is unethical to introduce bad smells into the mosque through one’s breath or one’s clothes. It is very much recommended to perfume oneself and to clean one’s mouth before entering the mosque. Bad smells create difficulties for angels as well as other Musallis. (Ibn Majah)

9. One must be in the pure state (having had ghusal) in order to enter into the mosque. It is therefore prohibited for menstruating ladies and those who are in a state of major impurity (requiring ghusl) to enter the mosque. (Abu Dawood, Muatta Imam Maalik)

10. It is not permissible to use the mosque as a passageway. It is recommended to perform two rakaahs of Tahiyyatul Masjid whenever one enters the mosque, except at prohibited times.

11. One is not allowed to carry double-edged weapons or pointed tools, which can hurt people, in a mosque. In case of need, they should be placed under a cover, or covered with the hand. (Bukhari)

12. Janaazah prayer should not be performed in the mosque. (Abu Dawood). It should be performed in the courtyard or outside the mosque.

13. It is prohibited to sit facing the qiblah or with the back in its direction when using the toilet. (Bukhari). It is also prohibited to spit towards the qiblah. (Abu Dawood). In fact, one should not spit on one’s right side. Within the mosque, in case of need, use a handkerchief or tissue paper and spit on one’s left side. One is also not allowed to extend one’s legs towards the qiblah. (Bahr ur Raiq)

14. It is prohibited to make announcements within the mosque regarding lost or retrieved items. (Muslim). Rather make use of a blackboard in the courtyard.

15. It is virtuous act to clean the mosque. One is rewarded (with sawaabs) when one removes rubbish from it. By the way, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) used to clean the Masjid Al Haram themselves. Hence, one should feel oneself privileged to clean the mosque partially or fully.

16. It is recommended to make the intention of nafil itikaaf when entering the mosque.

17. One may sleep in a mosque if one is a traveler or a mu’takif. Hence, with the permission of the mutawalli, and after making the niyyat for itikaaf, the muballighs (those who propagate the deen) can sleep in the mosque.

18. It is makrooh (detestable) to paint or place writings on the mihrab or the wall facing the qiblah which could divert the attention of musallis. (Ahmad, Shami). It is also makrooh to make use of musallas with pictures which affect the concentration in salah of the musallis. Otherwise, it is better to make use of plain carpets without any pictures.

19. It is also makrooh (detestable) to wear clothes with pictures or writings which can distract the musallis’ attention. It is also makrooh (detestable) to perform salah with short sleeved garments. (Shami). In actual fact, Allah Ta’ala enjoins us to wear dignified and presentable clothes during salah and when going to the mosque: “O children of Adam. Wear presentable garments in each place of worship (salah).” (surah 7, verse 31)

20. It is unethical to place the Qur’an at a level lower than the musallis sitting on a chair. Rather, one should place it in a rack at some three feet from the ground.

21. It is prohibited to walk before a musalli in salah. The mosque must be equipped with sutrahs, a kind of low partitions which can be placed in front of musallis. The prophet (saw) has stated: If the person walking before a musalli in prayer knew the seriousness of that act, he would have preferred to wait up to one hundred years. (Abu Dawood, Tirmizi)

22. It is makrooh tahrimi and almost haraam to leave the mosque after the azaan has been given, except for a reason which is valid in the shariah. For example, it would be valid in the case of an imam who has to lead prayers in another mosque. (Shami, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood)

23. It is blameworthy to crack one’s fingers in the mosque without reason. (Shami)

24. It is important to observe silence in the mosque and to avoid leaning one’s back against the wall facing the qiblah. (Musannaf Ibn Abdur Razaaq)

25. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: When prayer has started, do not run, rather walk normally and silently (to join it). Join the prayer jamaat in a dignified manner and complete what you have missed in the prayer. (Bukhari)

Note: If the carpet or mat of the mosque has been soiled by some impure matter, it will need to be washed with water and drained dry. This act must be repeated twice and it is only on the third time that the carpet or mat will have been purified and become usable again. (Bahr ur Raiq)

PRINCIPLES TO BE OBSERVEDFOR ROWS OF PRAYERS (SAFF)

1. It is important to perform salah when the imam is in front and at the centre of the congregation. Whoever comes in afterwards must ensure a balance in the row (saff). The first musalli must stand on the right side of the imam; the next one must stand on the left side of the imam. There should be an equal number of musallis on either side of the imam. The prophet (saw) has stated: “Keep the imam in the middle and fill in any vacant space (in the saff). (Abu Dawood)

2. It is makrooh tahrimi (almost haram) to perform the salah in a row in the rear when there is still empty space in the row which is in front. (Abu Dawood, Shami)

3. If you are alone in the last saff, then better wait for another musalli to turn up. In principle, it should be possible to arrange for a person in the preceding saff to join you if you are alone. However, if nobody turns up and the imam is performing roukou, better begin your salah even if you are alone.

4. The musallis must begin by standing in the centre, behind the imam. One cannot forsake the saff to take a position in a corner. This applies to a musalli who is sitting on a chair also. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: Whoever keeps himself aloof from the row will incur Allah’s punishment. (Abu Dawood)

5. One is permitted to walk before a musalli in order to fill an empty space in the preceding row. (Tabrani)

6. If, during the salah, you see an empty space in the preceding row, then you can walk to fill that space. However, if the empty space is in two rows before yours, then do not walk. (Shami)

7. Do not climb upstairs as long as the lower floor of the mosque is not completely filled in.

8. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: “The best person among you is he who is gentle and mild as regards his shoulders in salah.” (Abu Dawood). Hence, do not thrust yourself in a narrow space to create an inconvenience to the other musallis. However, if the available space is enough for one person, then fill it.

9. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: “Stand in a straight line in a row, because straightening of rows is part of a complete salah.” (Muslim). He has warned us: “Straighten your rows, otherwise Allah will create discord and quarrel among you.” (Muslim)

10. One must yield space in a row to an Alim or a person well versed in Islamic knowledge who, by standing behind the imam, will ensure the correct performance of the salah.

11. Children who are underage must stand behind the last row of adults. In the time of Rasoolullah (saw), the saff of children used to be behind the rows of adults. (Abu Dawood)

12. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: “Complete the first row, then complete the rows that follow. If any row has to remain incomplete, it should be the last row.” (Abu Dawood)

13. It is better to place the heel of the foot on the line of the row rather than the toes, as people’s feet have different sizes.

14. It is makrooh (detestable) to allow the legs of one’s pants to fall below one’s ankle whether in salah or outside salah. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: “Allah Ta’ala does not accept the salah of any person whose trouser’s leg falls below his ankle.” (Abu Dawood)

15. The holy prophet (saw) has prevented musallis from sitting in a semi-circle on Jummah day before the khutbah. (Abu Dawood). Hence, before khutbah of jummah, one must sit as in the saff. During talks or other occasions, one may, as is recommended, sit in a semi-cirlce. (Bukhari)

16. In congregation, the first saff is the most virtuous. It has been narrated by Bukhari that the prophet (saw) has stated that, if people knew the rewards to be obtained by giving the azan or by sitting in the first row in salah, they would then have rushed to accomplish those acts, and if drawing of lots were necessary for being selected to accomplish them, they would have done it.

17. One is not authorized to separate two persons sitting next to each other in order to sit between them. (Bukhari)

18. One is not authorized to cause a person to leave his seat in order to sit there. (Bukhari). One is not authorized to have a particular place reserved for oneself in the mosque. If you have to leave the saff and then return to it, better leave a shawl or marker there to retain your place. (Abu Dawood)

19. It is prohibited to step over the shoulders of people already sitting in order to find a place ahead of them. (Ibn Majah). However, if there is an empty space between people who are seated then you can walk forward to occupy that place ahead of them.

VIRTUES OF THE MOSQUE

The mosque is the place which Allah likes the most on the earth’s surface. (Muslim). The respect of the mosque starts with the answer to the azan which requires that we attend the mosque regularly. Ibn Hibban has reported in his Sahih that the prophet (saw) has stated: “When you see a person going regularly to the mosque, then you can bear witness to the fact that such a person has Iman. Because Allah has stated: “It is only those who believe in Allah and the Last Day who will fill the mosques.” (Surah 9, verse 18). The holy prophet (saw) has stated that when the end of the world will be near, the mosques will not be frequented and people will visit the mosques like museums. (Shu’ab ul Iman). Among the signs of Qiyamah as foretold by the prophet (saw), there will be people who will raise their voice and speak about matters of the world in the mosque. (Tirmizi, Hakim). On the Day of Judgment, there will be no shadow except Allah’s shadow. Among the seven groups of people who will be under Allah’s shadow there will be the person whose heart was attached to the mosque. When he leaves the mosque, he grows impatient to return to it. (Tirmizi). The holy Prophet (saw) has stated: Give the good news to those who walk in the dark towards the mosque that, on the Day of Judgment, they will enjoy a perfect light. (Abu Dawood). Whoever remains seated in the mosque with wudhu at the very place where he performed salah, will have dua being asked in his favour by angels in this way: O Allah! Forgive him. O Allah! Have pity on him. (Bukhari). Whoever remains seated with wudhu waiting for the next salah will be rewarded as if he was during all that time in salah. (Bukhari)

After the salah, whoever waits for the time of the next salah is like a horseman defending the frontiers of Islam in Allah’s way. (Ahmad). By remaining within the precincts of the mosque, one’s heart becomes softened and one draws closer to guidance. (Abu Dawood). Whoever has been to the mosque for a short time either in the morning or in the afternoon obtains Allah’s protection. (Ibn Hibban). Allah Ta’ala welcomes and wishes well to the person who leaves for the mosque and that welcome starts as soon as he leaves his house. (Hakim)

MASJID UL BAIT OR HOME MOSQUE

It is recommended that every Muslim reserves a space at home where sunnah and nafil salah can be performed. (Shami). The sahabah (ra) used to provide some space at home for salah. Bukharin has in his Sahih reported that Itbaan bin Malik (ra) had invited the prophet (saw) to perform the opening ceremony of his Masjid ul Bait – Mosque of his house. It is recommended to keep that area clean and to perfume it like mosques area. (Shami). Ladies can perform all their salah and itekaaf in that place known as Bait il Masjid. In actual fact, such an area will serve to remember Allah, to perform zikr, tilawat, etc. The menfolk can use that area for their sunnah and nafil salah. Of course, they must accomplish their faraz (obligatory) salah in congregation at the mosque of their locality. However, the Masjid ul Bait does not enjoy the same value as a Masjid has, it can be disposed of along with the house when the latter is sold.

SALAH PERFORMANCE ON A CHAIR

1. Whoever has health problems which prevent him from accomplishing hi salah standing can sit on the ground and perform rukou or sajdah in the normal way. And in case he cannot perform rukou and sajdah in the normal way, then he may sit down and spread his legs or cross them, without the feet being in the direction of the Qiblah. (Bahr). The sajdah must be performed in a position where the body is more bent than in the rukou. In such a case where the sajdah cannot be performed on the ground, it is better to accomplish the whole salah sitting on the ground, in spite of the fact that one can stand up.

2. Where the person cannot sit on the ground, he may perform his salah on a chair. The chair must be placed on the line of the saff so that its rear legs are on it. It is better if that person accomplishes his whole salah on the chair, in spite of the fact that he may stand up. (Shami). Again, the sajdah requires that the body be more bent than in the rukou.

3. The holy prophet (saw) has stated: Do not leave empty spaces between you for shaitaan. Whoever has joined the saff will be privileged by Allah (he will obtain His blessings). And whoever has gone away from the saff, will be deprived by Allah (of His privileges and blessings). (Abu Dawood). That is why the musalli on the chair should join the saff, while at the same time taking care so as not to create any difficulty for other musallis.

4. Where a sick person cannot sit on a chair, he should then perform his salah lying down on his back with the help of pillow to face the qiblah. For that purpose, the pillow can be placed behind this neck or back. However, he should slightly raise his legs so that his feet do not point to the Qiblah. (Shami)

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