Tuesday 18 June 2024

Etiquettes " آداب " of Masjid

Masjid is a place of worship, thus a very scared place the sanctity of which must be maintained by all those coming to offer As Salat / prayers. It thus requires of us to adhere to certain etiquettes (Adab -  آداب) of the masjid to maintain order and sanctity for proper use of this place of worship. 

However it is generally seen that many a worshippers do not adhere to any norms and etiquettes of masjid right from entering till after leaving the masjid. Thus the concept of discipline that Islam teaches to the believers is nullified. I am jotting down some of my personal observations and that of some friends who confided me their observations with regard to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere inside the mosque for any distraction, like the mobile ringing, or talking loudly before the prayer starts that distracts others who are offering voluntary cycles / rakat of sunnah. 

I have divided this post in three portions; namely general / pre masjid preparations / etiquettes, etiquettes of entering the mosque and post prayer etiquettes.

General  / Pre masjid preparations / Etiquettes
  • Purity and Cleanliness:
    • Cleanliness: Ensure cleanliness of body, clothes, and place of worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Purity is half of faith." (Sahih Muslim).  There are people who do not wear a vest under their clothes specially in summers, which makes their clothes wet from perspiration and smelly. Thus it should be ensured to wear clean clothes free of smelly stains. and preferably a vest worn under the shirt.
    • Dress Modestly: Wear appropriate and modest clothing. Both men and women should dress in a manner that reflects respect for the sanctity of the mosque. Allah says in the Qur'an: "O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid." (Qur'an 7:31).
    • Performing Wudu (ablution): It is recommended to be in a state of wudu (ablution) before entering the mosque. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The key to Paradise is prayer, and the key to prayer is wudu." (Sahih Muslim). Since at the time of the prayer, there is rush in the masjid, it is recommended to do ablution from one's home so as not add to the waiting time and allow others to do ablution.
  • Timings: It is better to arrive the masjid well in time to get settled down as forward as possible inside the masjid to allow space for the follow up worshippers.
  • Parking: Coming well before prayer time allows one to park one's means of transport properly, allowing well kept space for those still coming in.
  • Removing Harmful Items: It is not only the job of the masjid administration to keep the masjid and its immediate surrounding clean and free of obstacles or objects that may hinder easy movement of the worshippers. Therefore. ensure the masjid is clean and free from harmful items. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity." (Sahih Bukhari).
  • Taking of Shoes:  Since shoes are not allowed inside the prayer halls, these are generally taken off at the entrance of the masjid. However, the casual taking off shoes makes a very ugly scene at the masjid entrance and it looks like as a crowd as ran away leaving behind their shoes in a hurry. It should this be ensured that shoes are taken off, not stacked over shoes already present, and kept facing outward for ease of wearing when leaving the masjid.
Entering the Masjid: Once we enter the masjid, every care should be taken to care for  other worshippers for there are no VIPs in the masjid as everyone stands in submission to Allah as humble as possible. Herein under are some etiquettes of entering and sitting in the masjid:
  • Switch off Mobile Phone: The ringing of mobile phones while the prayer is in progress is really annoying. As a courtesy not to disturb the prayer of others, one must switch off the mobile phone or put it on airplane mode or at least swatch off the ringer. Normally, the Imam asks everyone before commencing the prayer that all should switch off their mobile phones. Yet despite the request, one can hear mobile phones ringing during the prayer.
  • Entering with the Right Foot: Enter the mosque with the right foot and say the supplication: "Bismillah, Allahumma salli ala Muhammad, Allahumma iftah li abwaba rahmatik" (In the name of Allah, O Allah, bless Muhammad, O Allah, open for me the doors of Your mercy). (Sunan Ibn Majah).
  • Do not run to join the prayer if already started: Narrated by Abu Huraira: Heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "If the prayer is started do not run for it but just walk for it calmly and pray whatever you get, and complete whatever is missed. "
  • Ablution in Masjid: It is better to do ablution from one's home. However, if it is to be performed in masjid following points to be adhered to:
    • One should not perform ablution in a hurry, specially when the prayer has started . Because in this case, one is likely to properly perform the ablution. There is a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in which he has cautioned against men who rush the ablution and run to join the prayer with their heels dry, that is water not run over these. [Read our previous post on this at Do not run to the Masjid with dry heels (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: Hadith 165)]
    • It is generally seen that while doing ablution, people open the tap at full speed wasting lot of water. It must be ensured that the tap is opened with lowest possible level so as not to waste water.
  • Greetings: Greet those in the mosque with "As-salamu alaikum" (peace be upon you). The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged spreading peace through greetings.
  • Tahiyyat al-Masjid: Perform two rak'ahs of Tahiyyat al-Masjid (greeting the mosque) upon entering, if it is not a time when prayer is prohibited. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When one of you enters the mosque, he should pray two rak'ahs before sitting." (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).
  • Maintaining Silence and Respect: Speak softly and avoid unnecessary conversations. The mosque is a place for worship and reflection. Loud conversations and disturbances should be avoided.
  • Sitting Etiquettes
    • When entering the prayer hall, sit as forward as possible so as to make space for those yet to come in. Remember there are no RESERVED spaces for anyone. A friend once narrated me an incident that he came earlier had sat at a chair for he could not sit on the floor due to his ailment. In the meanwhile another man came and demanded of him to vacate the chair as he sat at that chair every day. Upon his refusal to do so and telling the man to sit on one of the many chairs in the masjid, the man refused and a loud commotion resulted in the masjid. Now this is insane. No place or seat is reserved for anyone and if one has been sitting on a particular chair/space, he should sit another place, respecting the right of the worshipper already sitting. 
    • Sit calmly and engage in dhikr (remembrance of Allah) or read the Qur'an while waiting for the prayer. Avoid sitting in a manner that may distract or disturb others.
  • Respecting Others
    • Avoid passing in front of someone who is praying. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If the one passing in front of a praying person knew what (sin) there is upon him, it would be better for him to wait for forty than to pass in front of him." (Sahih Bukhari). 
    • One should never try to jump over the shoulders of those already sitting to go to the front roes. In the first place, no space should be left in the rows so allow space for those following. But at the same time, one should not jump over the others. One can stand for a while for when the prayer is called, spaces are created at the back automatically for those standing.
  • Observing the Rows: Straighten the rows during congregational prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the importance of aligning the rows: "Straighten your rows, for indeed straightening the rows is part of perfecting the prayer." (Sahih Bukhari).
  • Leaving the Masjid:
    • When the prayer behind the Imam is over, there are many in the masjid who just stand and start praying their sunnah prayers. This restricts those wanting to leave the masjid after fard prayer and case inconvenience. People may be i hurry for the their job or wanting to leave early  for they may have parked their car behind someone's and not wanting to case delay in clearing the way for other car owners. Instead after the fard prayer, a minute or so be given to others to leave masjid and then one should start the sunnah / voluntary prayer.
    • Those who have parked their cars behind cars of others blocking their exit, must leave the masjid as early as possible after the fard prayers so that inconvenience is not caused. Non adherence to this etiquette usually creates sad scenes when two people start fighting on the issue. This not only nullifies the spirit of brotherhood, but also hinges upon respect of rights of others. 
Huqooq ul Ibad is the duty we owe to mankind, the rights of every Muslim on the other Muslim. A Muslim who fulfils the Huqool ul Allah will also fulfill Huqooq ul Ibad, these are two different things but still intertwined. In Quran Allah has mentioned His Rights and Rights of fellow beings together in many verses.

I will add some more etiquettes in time. But for now, let all of us adhere to these listed etiquettes and try to offer salat in as peace atmosphere as possible, for own sake and for sake of others. 

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

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A comprehensive article on the etiquetees /manners of praying in mosques.I have personally experienced some of them particularly on Juma congregations.we must educate ourselves and others on this aspect as it involves Huqooq ul Ibad issues as well.My appreciation to the writer addressing an important Subject.JazakAllak Khairon.

Thank you very your support. It is my humble effort, pray that I may continue with it

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