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. 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.
- 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)
- 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.”
- 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).
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.