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.


Virtues of Congregational Prayers

As Salat is a compulsion on a believer so is its offering in congregation. Islam is a religion which does not entertain individualism at any level. Be it in war or peace, offering of Salat or payment of Zakat. The prophet of ALLAH taught the ummah to reside in group rather than solitarily, perform the duties of Islam in assembly rather than individually.

The Salat, a foremost obligation on a Muslim, is to be offered in congregation. Just to drive the people towards congregation ALLAH has promised more reward in congregation rather than performing in isolation. In one hadith Prophet PBUH said “Offering the prayer in congregation carries 27 times greater reward than offering it alone individually.” (Bukhari, Muslim). This reward rises exponentially if the person offers Salat in Makkah (Masjid-e-haram), Madinah (Masid-e-nabawi) and Jerusalem (Masjid-e-Aqsa). Similarly there is another hadith in which Prophet PBUH said “If the people come to know of the great rewards and benefits of the congregational prayer, they would never stay back but would rush to the masjid for it. The first row merits the highest reward. Two persons praying together get greater rewards than the same praying individually, the rule being that, the bigger the congregation the higher it’s worth in the sight of ALLAH.” (Abu Dawud)

Abdullah ibn Maktoom, a companion of the Prophet PBUH who was blind, once came to the messenger of ALLAH and asked him, “Oh Messenger of ALLAH, I am blind, live at a distance, and do not have someone to guide him to the mosque, so can’t you give me consent to pray at home?” He said “Do you hear the call (adhan)?” Ibn Maktoom replied “Yes”. The Prophet PBUH then said “I cannot find an excuse for you.” This clearly proves when a blind was not given consent to pray at home then one who is physically blessed and with no abnormalities, can ever think of abstaining himself from congregation.

The wrath of staying away from congregational prayers could be best understood by this hadith. The Prophet of ALLAH said “Nothing is harder on the hypocrites than the Isha and Fajr prayer; had they known of the great rewards that ALLAH would bestow for those prayers they would never had missed them even if they had to come to the masjid on their knees” Then he said, “I wish I should tell a Mua’dhin to pronounce the iqamah and appoint someone as Imam in my place, and I should myself go and set fire to the houses of those who do not come out even after hearing the adhan. (Bukhari, Muslim). This should be sufficient for us to understand the gravity of leaving the congregation.

Mentioned below are collections of few traditions of Prophet PBUH which reveal the rewards of congregational prayers

  1. Narrated Anas, Prophet PBUH said: “The person who offers his prayers continuously for 40 days without missing the first takbeer, is granted a two-fold immunity by ALLAH: immunity from Hell-fire and immunity from hypocrisy. (Tirmidhi)
  2. Narrated Usman, that he heard the Prophet PBUH saying “The person who observes the Isha prayer in congregation, will have the reward and blessings of staying up half the night in prayer, and the one who observes the Fajr prayer in congregation will have the reward and blessings of staying up the whole night in prayer.” (Tirmidhi)
  3. Prophet PBUH said “Give good news to those who go to the masjid in the darkness of the night to offer the prayer in congregation that on the Day of Judgment they will be provided with a perfect light.” (Tirmidhi)

The prophet PBUH said: “O Muslims! ALLAH has prescribed paths of right guidance for you, among which, is the offering of the daily prayers in congregation in the masjid. If you start saying your prayers individually at home, as so-and-so do, you will be forsaking the Sunnah of your Prophet, and if you forsake the Sunnah of your Prophet, you will certainly be going astray.” (Muslim).