Posted by: Dawud Israel | June 15, 2010

Masjid Etiquette 101

Bismillah, alhamdulillah, wa salat wa salam ala Rasulullah

“…and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that.” (Quran 59:9)

Personally, I think every masjid should have door-greeter like Wal-Mart has a greeter at the door, or people who are in charge of making the masjid a nice experience for new visitors. But maybe we should all be like that at the masjid?

There is no shortage of Muslims who visit the masjid, with an attitude that they are there to be served, or that they are entitled to something. There is a ‘dog-eat-dog attitude’ of getting a place to pray, of quickly finding ones shoes, and of leaving quickly, or of disturbing others that may be praying. There are countless Islamic horror stories that tell the tale of the masjid as a place of irritation, of Muslims praying strangely or dressing inappropriately or being harsh with clueless non-Muslims. When you are in the company of the Believers, take the attitude of the Ansar mentioned in the verse above, have ethar and prefer others to yourself. When you have ethar, and prefer others to yourself, then Allah prefers you over others, and shows you more ways to do good to others, and thereby earn more hasanat that few would have been granted.

Ethar is crucial because one needs to consider how masajid are changing in recent times. In some Muslim countries, nation-wide announcements on health checks, vaccinations and social services are given immediately after the khutbah. Nowadays, you may even see blind people in the masjid, either with a walking stick, or a guide-dog, or believers in wheelchairs. If Muslims consider that, then we may think twice about that bad parking job that upset the neighbors and other worshipers, or think twice before letting our cell phones ring away during Salah, because the focus is not on myself, but on others and Allah. Inshallah we will find a break from the masjid being a place for me, but rather for us.

Here is a list of some masjid etiquettes worth considering:

-try not to eat too much before you go to the masjid, lest you burp in salah and bother others
-while driving to the masjid be aware other drivers around you are also heading to the mosque, so drive carefully because you are being watched!
-offer brothers rides to the masjid if you can tell they are headed that way
-if you are early in attending the mosque, park as far away from it as you can, and walk there, so others have an easy time parking.*
-don’t slam your shoes on the ground after you take them off, set them down easily
-always try and give salam to the imam and whoever you pass by
-sit with your legs up to your chest, hands wrapped around them. This is a sunnah way of sitting, and is called the “Arab’s wall” because there are few walls in the desert, this is considered a comfortable position.
-just because you go to the masjid 5 times a day, don’t think you have any special right over other worshipers; and because of the frequency of your going to the masjid, don’t treat the masjid like it’s your backyard
-maintain the feeling of grandeur of Allah in your heart at the masjid, have humility, don’t let anything else compete in your heart for that, and being still in salah is part of khushu
-don’t raise your voices or talk about worldly concerns in the masjid, give others spiritually uplifting reminders; INSPIRE!
-give people hasanat in helping you ask for religious advice that is easy, even if you know it, ask them: “Where is the mosque?” What time is the prayer? Or ask them to help you search out a hadith, that may actually end up being a reminder they need. You need not be straight-forward and direct, but be gentle, use subtle ishara
-talk to people like the adhan speaks to the heart
-when you speak to people observe not their faces, or their words, but their hearts.
-sit in tight spots in the masjid and leave open areas for others–just make sure you aren’t inconveniencing others by siting in those tights spots, and they are also comfortable
-if someone takes your spot, then make dua they be granted reward for their eagerness
-Remember the Sahabi, Abu Dumdum, who would give people who said bad about him, their hasanat back. Such was his generosity and love of the Muslims.
-don’t look down on non-Muslim visitors to the masjid, be very friendly to them, show them generosity. Also if you didn’t know they were non-Muslim and then are told they are just learning, then don’t treat them strangely. Be patient with them and their questions! This may be the only impression of Islam in there life! And don’t attack their lifestyles, because in reality, if you took away the pubs and bars from this country, people would go insane, since this is the only solace they have.
-similarly be aware of the diversity inside the community- the different schools of fiqh and other groups
-the most regular of attendees to the masjid just maybe, the undercover spies, so be very careful whom you judge to be the best or the worst and be careful of talking about political nonsense.
-consider the neighbors of the masjid- if you make a ruckus near the masjid, the property value of the houses around it will go down and your neighbors will resent Muslims, and possibly mistreat us.

Remember: The Prophet salalalahu alayhi wasalam would often describe certain believers, “Verily, I know nothing of him, except good,” and he was the most honest of men.

The masjid is where baraka meets the Earth! So make it a place where the baraka is reflected in your adab!

*Remember that walking to the mosque for a prayer you are late for is like being in prayer, so walk slowly. And remember the hadith transmitted via Abu Hurairah: “Should I not point you to that which Allah wipes away errors through and by which He raises one numerous ranks. 1) Making wudhu completely when disliked, much walking to mosques, waiting from one prayer to the next. And that is your ribat (fortitude), that is your ribat (fortitude). (Sahih Muslim)

Related readings:

Fatwa allows guide dogs into mosques

Mosque plays role in raising awareness of Hepatitis C

A funny thing happened on the way to the mosque (a non-Muslim’s strange experience visiting British mosques)


Responses

  1. Bismillahii. Rahmanir. Rahim, assalamah lakum. Being a muslim(a believer) in america is unamerican. Being muslim in a family of christians is lonely. Being a muslim is how i choose to die inshallah…Being is a struggle enough…How can i be relevant in the ummah? Assalamah lakum wa rahmantuallah wa barakatu.

  2. […] …or ‘transported’ to a particular place for the purpose of ‘educating’…this is Masjid Hassan 11 in Morocco, beautifully illustrated by a very talented Yusuf, JazakumuLlahu khaira…may Allah Ta’ala guide him to use this gift in the best way to benefit others, Ameen…so with a Masjid as the background the learning could be about the Fiqh of children in the Masjid…or the etiquette of the Masjid… […]


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