SOME NOTABLE ETHICS OF MOSQUE By Abdullah Al-Junayd Ibn Ogungbemi
Mosques are sacred places for Muslims mainly to worship and to invoke Allah SWT and also to make supplications. However,mosques can also serve as a place for lectures and other Islamic activities like teaching and learning of the Qur’an.
But it is very saddening that Muslims do go against some injunctions regarding the use of the mosque. This has raised a big concern, thereby the need to create awareness of some ethics and common mistakes we make in mosque is essential.
It is worthy and essential to note that our mosques belong to Allah alone and hence nobody is to be invoked except Allah SWT. This is in accordance with the word of the Almighty that goes thus:
Surah Al-Jinn, Verse 18:
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah.
It is also important for the mosque to be looked after as everyone looks after their private houses, in terms of good arrangements and absolute comportment. The house of Allah even deserves more!
Now let’s look into the following ethics.
Supplicating prescribed dhikr (remembrance) while entering and exiting the mosques is one of the ethics. Muslims are obliged to start everything they do by invoking Allah. The book; Hisnul Muslim (citadel of the believer) can be consulted for supplications before entering the mosque and other supplications that has to do with our daily activities like eating, sleeping, traveling ectecera. This is an important point we must take note.
Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) states in Al Adhkar: ‘It is Mustahab to recite the following:
A’uzu billahil ‘azim wa bi wajhihil karim wa sultanihil qadim minash shaytanir rajim, Alhamdulillah, Allahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad, Allahummagh fir li dhunubi waf tah li abwaba rahmatik
Then a person should say ‘Bismillah’ and enter with his right foot.
When exiting, A person should exit with the left foot and read the same du’a. However at the end of the du’a one should read ‘abwaba fadhlik’ instead of ‘abwaba rahmatik’ (Refer: Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1649, Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 465 and Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 772)
Imam Hakim (rahimahullah) has recorded a narration in his Al Mustadrak which proves entering the Masjid with the right foot and exiting with the left foot. (Al Mustadrak, Vol. 1 pg. 218. Also refer: Sahih Bukhari and Fathul Bari, Hadith: 426)
Furthermore, it is unethical to exit the mosque after the adhan (call to prayer) has been made without any tangible reason. It’s equivalent to disregarding and neglecting the call to success. However, it’s permissible in some cases such as attending to an emergency issue or call to nature. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us: “If you are in the mosque and the call to prayer is given, none of you should leave until he prays.” (Classed as saheeh by Shu’ayb al-Arna’oot in Tahqeeq al-Musnad).
Consumption of things like garlic, onions which causes emission of bad odour from the mouth is also prohibited in and when coming to the mosque. The prophet (PBUH) said anyone who eats garlic or onion should not come near our mosques.
Al-Bukhaari (806) and Muslim (870) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever has eaten of this plant (i.e garlic), let him not approach our mosque.”
This indicates that it is highly prohibited. Onions and garlic are not the only food prohibited before coming to mosque but all foods that render the mouth odourful are also prohibited. For anything that harms the mankind harms the Angels, if it harm believers who come to mosque, how much more will it harm the Angels whose Abode is the mosque. Owing to this, Muslims are enjoined to brush their mouth or to chew chopstick (Al-mishwaak) before going to mosque especially before Fajr prayer.
Hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Siwaak cleanses the mouth and pleases the Lord.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari , 2/274, Ahmad, 6/47, and al-Nisaa’i, 1/50. Its isnaad is saheeh, see al-Irwa’ 1/105).
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my Ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/299 and Muslim, 1/151). According to another report narrated by al-Bukhaari, he said: “…at every time of making wudoo’.”
Also, it is pertinent to avoid bringing our kids who bed-wet to mosque with the same cloth they slept with.
Another ethic is to avoid making announcement of lost item(s) in mosque. Glaringly, mosques are not built for that purpose. So we must try to avoid making announcement of lost items in mosque, though they can be made outside the mosque. The blessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that we should tell anybody that announces his lost object inside the mosques that Allah would not return it to him for mosques are not built for that purpose. This is found in Saheeh Muslim (568), that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever hears a man making a lost property announcement in the mosque, let him say: May Allah not restore it to you, for the mosques were not built for this purpose.”
Commercial activities like transactions or negotiations in any form are also prohibited in mosques. Buying and selling in mosques is now very rampant most especially among the females. This should however be discouraged because prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘tell anyone who sells or buys in mosque that the trade will be void of blessings’.
This hadeeth states that this blameworthy deed is disliked, because the mosques are not built for such a purpose. Allah commanded that mosques should be built to remember Him and to conduct prayers and acts of worship and obedience to Him, such as I’tikaaf (retreat, seclusion for devotion and worship), and different kinds of dhikr such as circles for reciting Qur’an and seeking knowledge.
Singing, drumming and dancing is totally forbidden in the mosques. It’s even forbidding when not in mosque let alone when in the house of the Almighty Allah. The house where the five daily prayer takes place. Such nonentity is totally disallowed in the mosque. Similarly, raising one’s voice in mosques is also prohibited. For it is forbidden to disturb other mosque users when we are in the mosque.
Another ethics is performing two ra’kat of salat before sitting in the mosque after entering. It’s a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to observe this prayer especially when the prescribed salat is not ready yet. The Prophet (PBUH) said ‘when one of you enter mosque, do not sit down unless you have prayed two unit rak’at.
Lastly, it is important to approach salat with calmness and tranquility. You don’t rush and unknowingly push or step someone just because you want to catch up with the prayer. One will be held responsible for any injury or harm inflicted on himself or another person while rushing to catch up with a particular ra’kat of the salat despite the fact that he did it not to miss a ra’kah in the salah.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said “If the prayer started, then do not join it running, and join it walking and quiet, and pray whatever you caught up with, and make up for what you missed.
These are not all the ethics of mosque as there are still innumerable ethics associated with mosque usage but these are the only few discussed in this write-up. May Allah SWT count us among the inherents of Jannah and overlook for us our sins and shortcomings. Aamin
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