I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And the Masaajid (Mosques) are for Allaah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allaah.” Q72:18
In last week’s edition, a brief introduction of the beginning of the construction of Masjid in Islam was highlighted while putting the spotlight on the architecture of an ideal Masjid, the reward of those who build it and a peep into the purpose of Masjid in Islam. In this second and last part of the series, it is pertinent to introduce or rather to remind the Muslim world on some of the activities meant for Masjid and those that are not meant for it.
Masaajid (Mosques) during the golden generation of Islam (the generation of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ ) was/is a place of worshipping Allaah (Alone), in essence, whatever activities carried out in them agreed with the ideals of Islam. There was neither indulging in acts not approved in Shari’ah (such as innovations and shirk) nor was it a sort of rendezvous for political (worldly gains), commercial, social or fashion display. The Masjid was simply a spiritual centre, a learning centre where knowledge was imparted on others through words and actions. A place where Muslims found solace through humbling themselves in a submissive way to the dictates of Allaah (Alone).
In simple terms, the believers in the Masjid (and by extension even outside the four corners of the Masjid) are always in awe of Allaah having no time to indulge in frivolities or chit-chat. It is a place where the scholars distribute the inheritance of the Prophet ﷺ among the students. Once the famous Sahabi Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) passed through the suq (Market) and saw some people naturally engrossed in the business of buying and selling and he mentioned to them that: “You are here while the inheritance of the Prophet ﷺ is being shared in the Masjid will you not go and take your share?” They left their merchandise and rushed to the Masjid, but they only found a group of people learning. So they returned to Abu Hurayrah and said: “We went and did not find except a group of people learning” Abu Hurayrah said: “This is the inheritance of the Prophet ﷺ. ”
The Masjid was also the administrative nerve centre of the Muslims where the Prophet ﷺ and the four rightly guided Khalifs (successors AbuBakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali; may Allaah be pleased with them all) prepared the Muslim army, sent and received envoys, appointed ministers and governors to various cities. A good example to illustrate this was the famous incidence of sending Abu Musa al-Ash’ary and Mu’adh bin Jabal to Yemen as found in Sahihul Bukhari and Muslim.
Of importance to note also is the fact that the Masaajid (Mosques) are not for buying, selling or earning money. In a narration graded as hasan (good) by at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet ﷺ said: “If you see someone buying or selling inside the Masjid, say: “may Allaah not make your trading profitable.” By extension they are not to be used for advertisement of companies, schools or anything else except announcement for lectures or seminars according to the Fatwa (legal verdict) issued by Shaykh Abdulazeez ibn Abdullah ibn Aal al-Shaykh in Mujallat al-Da’awah.
As for turning the Masjid into a begging arena, this also is discouraged by the scholars. Shaykh ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Fataawah said: “I do not know anything wrong with that but the beggars should be stopped from stepping over people’s neck and walking between the rows.” While another contemporary scholar Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “As for the beggars who stand outside the doors of the Masjid, there is nothing wrong with giving them if they are genuine, but is not allowed for them to do that inside the Masjid, and they should be stopped and told, “Go and stand outside the door.”
In addition it is also not consistent with the concept of Masjid in Islam that announcements for lost items be made inside it as it is customary today. The prohibition for this is due to the evidence found in the authentic narration of the Prophet ﷺ in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that: “Whoever hears a man making an announcement about lost property in the Masjid, let him say, “May Allaah never return it to you for the Masaajid were not built for that.”
Imam An-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim (commentary on Sahih Muslim) said the prohibition is perhaps also for raising of voices in the Masjid. Because, announcing lost items in the Masjid will lead to voice being raised and the Masaajid of Allaah was erected for remembrance and not for announcing lost items.
Another point to reiterate here is that, the Masjid is to be kept clean, keeping it tidy is a praiseworthy act. Imam al-Suyooti said: “Allaah has commanded us to venerate the Masaajid and cleanse them of idle talk (chit-chat) and impure things.” Tafseer al-Qaasimi. Also the users are not to contribute to littering it. The Prophet ﷺ said in a narration in Bukhari and Muslim that: “Spitting in the Masjid is a sin and its expiation is burying (cleaning) it.”
Finally, when the Muslims of today revive the role of the Masjid in their lives and they understand and appreciate their roles in the Masjid, they will be more spiritually correct and will love one another the more.
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