The literal meaning of the Masjid is “a place for prostration.” A special sanctity is attached to the masjid (mosques) because they are the “…houses (mosques), which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His name is remembered. Therein glorify Him (Allah) in the mornings and in the evenings.” (An-Nur: 36)
The masjid could also serve as an educational and community centre but the actual prayer area (Musalla) is meant to be a tranquil place where we worship Allah – the Most deserving of being remembered, the Most deserving of being worshipped, the Most deserving of being thanked, the King with no partner or associate, the Self-Sufficient Master, the Most High – where we seek spiritual solace and derive spiritual rejuvenation. Therefore, it deserves to be treated with honour, respect and given its due regard.
When entering the masjid, a person should take off his shoes and enter with the right foot while reciting the following du’a: “I take refuge with Allah, The Supreme and with His Noble Face, and His eternal authority from the accursed devil. In the name of Allah and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me.”
Tahiyyat-al-Masjid (Salutation to the Mosque)
Once inside the masjid, the greetings of salam should be extended to the people around and two rak’at (tahiyyat-al-masjid) should be performed immediately because the Prophet (SAW) instructed us that, “When one of you enters the mosques, he should pray two Rak’at before sitting down.” (Agreed upon)
No business transaction
The sacredness of the masjid is emphasised when Allah (SWT) says: “And the mosques are for Allah (Alone): so invoke not anyone along with Allah.” (Surah Jinn: 18)
Therefore, no form of marketing or business transaction should take place in the area designated for the prayer. The enormity of this offence is further demonstrated when the Prophet (SAW) said, “If you see someone buying or selling inside the mosque, say: May Allah not make your trading profitable.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Likewise, the facility of the Masjid should not be used for personal purposes such as charging mobile phones and anything similar to this.
No noise or distraction
The prayer area (Musalla) should be characterised with quietness, serenity and peacefulness. A person inside the Masjid should speak quietly and only when necessary, so as not to disturb other people praying. The Prophet (SAW) emphasised this by saying, “Whoever hears a man crying out in the mosque about something he has lost, he should say, ‘May Allah not restore it to you’, for the mosques were not built for this.’” (Muslim)
In addition, it is disrespectful to walk in front of or otherwise disturb or distract other people praying. It is also not permissible to harm another Muslim in the mosque, therefore fighting, quarreling should be avoided generally and particularly in the mosque.
Keeping it clean
There is a great reward attached to keeping the masjid clean and tidy. This is reflected in the way the Prophet (SAW) hastened to pray on the woman who used to sweep the floor of the masjid when he (SAW) heard that she had died.
The masjid should be kept free from all kind of dirt and offensive smell. Spitting, vomiting and activities such as cupping are also not allowed. Likewise a woman in a state of impurity is forbidden inside the masjid except if there is a desperate need for her to be there. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Spitting in the mosque is a sin and its expiation is burying it.” (Agreed upon) Similarly, he (SAW) further commanded that, “Whoever ate from this plant (i.e. garlic) should not enter our mosque” (Bukhari) because it makes other people uncomfortable and it harms the angels.
For those who turn a blind eye when they see dirt in the masjid, they should know that they are missing out on a great reward and parents who bring children to the mosque should be more observant and clean up after their children.
Leaving the Mosque…
This should be done with the left foot first, while reciting the following du’a:
“In the name of Allah, and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, I ask you from Your favour. O Allah, guard me from the accursed devil.”
The duas mentioned can be found in “Fortress of the Muslim – Invocations from the Qur’an & Sunnah” by Darussalam.
Umm Haneefah has a MSc in Technology Management and a certificate in counselling. She tries to find a balance in her life between learning about the Deen and volunteering in community projects.