Decorum to Visit the House of Allah

Masajid must and should be an integral part of a muslim’s life. They are the houses of Allah (SWT) and a muslim’s heart must cling tightly to them. Any devout or a practicing person visits a masjid atleast five times a day to pay his obeisance to Allah, the great with no bias and prejudice, showing the most inviolable bond of brotherhood. It is not only a place meant for worship alone, but it also is a joint where the members of the community come together cheek-by-jowl, share their thoughts on issues and carry out activities that benefit the community. masjid2 Masjid is an Arabic word which means any place that a muslim prays upon the earth. In Islamic terminology it is referred specifically to a mosque. Islam has mentioned some etiquette for us to consider before such a gathering. Allah says, “O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your best clothing] at every masjid,” (Al Quran; 7:31). The prophet (PBUH) taught that masajid have etiquette and rules that should be learned and upheld by every Muslim. We must learn these rules first then teach them to our children and other fellow muslims.

  1. There should be a love for mosques in our hearts. A man whose heart is attached to the mosque (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque) will be given shade by Allah on the day when there will be no shade except His. (Bukhari)
  2. A person should not consume something that has an unpleasant smell before coming to mosque. This is because the angels attend the prayers and also our fellow muslim brothers who gather to pray might dislike the smell. The Prophet (PBUH) said that “the angels get annoyed by what the humans get annoyed,”  (Bukhari, Muslim) The Prophet said, “Whoever eats garlic or onion should keep away from our mosque or should remain in his house,” (Bukhari).   Imam Muslim reported that Omar (RA) used to say while he on the Pulpit: “I saw the prophet (PBUH) when he found their smell (garlic, onion) from a man in the Masjid, he ordered him to be taken out.” then Omar said: “If you must eat them, then cook them well.”
  3. A person should walk towards the masjid with total calmness and not rush or create a mess as witnessed in markets. Abu Qatada said, “While we were praying with the Prophet (PBUH), he heard the noise of some people. After the prayer he said, ‘What is the matter?’ They replied ‘We were hurrying for the prayer.’ He said, ‘Do not make haste for the prayer, and whenever you come for the prayer, you should come with calmness, and pray whatever you get, and complete the rest which you have missed,” (Bukhari).
  4. A person should not sit in the masjid unless he has prayed atleast two rakath. This prayer is known as ‘Tahiyyatul masjid’ (meaning ‘in respect to masjid’). Albeit he might sit if he has prayed any other prayer like the dawn prayers etc or the obligatory prayers. This salah is only after entering a masjid (and he wishes to sit) and there is no prayer at that time. (This prayer is sunnah moakkadah and not wajib)
  5. The masjid is not a marketplace. There should be no trade inside the mosque. The prophet (PBUH) said, “If you see someone who sells or buys in the mosque, then tell him, “May Allah not let you yield profit from your trade” (Tirmizi). There should also be no announcements regarding lost items. The prophet (PBUH) said, “He who hears a person announcing a lost material should say to him May Allah not return it to you because the mosques are not built for this,” (Muslim). Mosques are not built for worldly matters, but there are some exceptions that are mentioned in the ahadith like eating, drinking, saying Islamic poems, training the army, talking and sharing thoughts about issues concerning people.
  6. A person should not leave the mosque after the azaan has been pronounced. Abu Hurairah (RA) said “that one who has done so has disobeyed Abal Qaasim, a teknonym of Prophet (PBUH),” (Muslim).

While entering the masjid, we should enter with the right leg first and say, “Allahumma iftah lee abwaba rahmatika” and while exiting we should come out with the left leg first and say, “Allahumma innee asa’luka min fazlika” This dua is mentioned in the book of Abu Dawood. There are some other duas but this is short and easy for memorization.

There are many other rules concerning the masjid, some are especially regarding the women while the other talk about the prayers offered in mosques. Some speak about the virtue of construction of the mosque. But we have restricted only to the major etiquettes which are mostly not followed in our society and many of us are unaware of them.

Toilet Etiquettes

Islam directs us appropriately in all walks of life. The greatness of Islam can be described well when we find that there is no good, that it has not commanded us to do. Likewise there is no bad, from which it has not asked us to refrain. It is perfect and complete in all aspects. A polytheist said to Salman AlFarsi (RA): “Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to defecate!” Salman said: “Yes, he forbade us to face the qiblah when urinating or defecating” [Tirmidhi, also reported in Muslim and elsewhere]. Islamic sharee’ah teaches us some manners regarding answering the call of nature, to name a few:

(1) Reciting the dua when entering or leaving the toilet. Our Prophet (PBUH) taught us that when entering the toilet, we should say: اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الخبث والخبائث (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from male and female devils).” When leaving the toilet, we should say: غفرانك (I seek Your forgiveness). [Reported by various]

(2) Not to face the Qiblah when urinating or defecating. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “When any one of you sits down to answer the call of nature, he should not face the Qiblah or turn his back towards it.” [Muslim]

(4) The Sunnah is to answer the call of nature sitting, making oneself close to the ground, because this is more concealing, and makes it less likely that spray from one’s urine will come back on one’s body or clothes, making them dirty.

(5) A person should be concealed from the sight of others when answering the call of nature. The Prophet (PBUH) used to prefer to go behind a rise in the ground or a garden of date palms [Muslim]. If a person is out in an open space and can find nothing to conceal him, he should move far away from the people around him. Al Mugheerah bin Shu’bah RA said: “I was with the Prophet PBUH on a journey, when he felt the need to answer the call of nature, so he went far away.” [Tirmidhi]

(6) A person should not uncover his private parts until after he has squatted close to the ground, because this is more concealing, as Anas (RA) reported: “When the Prophet (PBUH) wanted to answer the call of nature, he would not lift his garment until he had squatted close to the ground.” [Tirmidhi]

(7) Not to touch the private part with the right hand when urinating. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “When any one of you urinates, he should not hold his private part in his right hand or clean it with his right hand; and (when drinking), he should not breathe into the vessel.” [Bukhari] Rather, one should use his left hand for it. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “When any one of you cleans himself, he should not use his right hand, he should use his left hand.” [Ibn Majah]

(8) He should be careful to remove all impurity after answering the call of nature, because the Prophet (PBUH) warned us saying: “Most of the punishment of the grave will be because of urine.” [Ibn Majah]. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) passed by two graves, and said: “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for any major thing. One of them used not to protect himself (i.e. keep himself clean from) his urine, and the other used to gossip.” [Bukhari]

(9) He should cleanse himself with water. If unavailable, he may use stones. He should not use bones or dung to clean himself or wipe away the impurity. Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that he used to carry a vessel for the Prophet (PBUH) to do wudoo’ and clean himself after answering the call of nature. Whilst he was following him, he (the Prophet) asked, “Who is that?” He said: “I am Abu Hurayrah.” He said: “Get me some stones I can use to clean myself, but do not bring me any bones or dung.” So I brought him some stones, carrying them in the hem of my garment, and placed them by his side, then I went away. When he had finished, I came back and asked him, “What is wrong with bones and dung?” He said: “They are the food of the jinn.” [Bukhari].

Uwaym bin Saida (RA) said that: ‘The Prophet (PBUH) came to them at the mosque of Quba’ and said, “God, exalted be He, has praised handsomely the way you purify yourselves in the story about your mosque, so what is this purification which you perform?” [Referring to the verse: Do not stand [for prayer] within it – ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves [Al Quran; 09:108)] They said, “By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, all that we know is that we used to have Jews in our vicinity and they used to wash their behinds after defecation, and so we began to wash in the way they did”. According to one hadith, they said: ‘We use stones [to scrape off remainings] and follow this with water’; to which he (the Prophet) said, ‘That is the way [for proper purification]. Let this be your way’. [Al Bazzar]

(10) A person should not urinate into stagnant water, because Jabir RA reported that the prophet PBUH forbade anyone to urinate into stagnant water [Muslim]

(11) A person should not urinate by the roadside or in places where people seek shade, because this is offensive to them. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Fear the two things that bring curses.” They asked, “What are the two things that bring curses, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “When a person relieves himself in the road where people walk or in the place where they seek shade.” [Abu Dawud]

(12) One should not greet a person who is answering the call of nature, or return a greeting whilst one is answering the call of nature, out of respect to Allah by not mentioning His name in a dirty place. Jabir bin Abdullah reported that a man passed by the Prophet (PBUH) whilst he was urinating, and greeted him. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to him: “If you see me in this state, do not greet me, because if you do, I will not respond.” [Ibn Maajah]. The majority of scholars say that it is makrooh (disliked) to speak in the restroom unnecessarily.

These are few of many etiquettes related to the topic. We should think that if the sharee’ah has paid such minute attention to the details of such a mundane matter, what has it got to say about more important issues? We should be grateful to Allah for guiding us to such a beautiful religion with such splendid laws.