Although the foundation of the first mosque started when Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) laid the foundation of Masjid Al-Haraam, but the history of first mosque in the lives of Muslims goes back to days when the Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) set out on emigration from Makkah to Madina. While He was on His way, people said Takbeer, greeted and cheered for Him near Madina, and finally He stopped at the tribe of Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awfand built the very first masjid of Muslims, i.e. Quba, where He stayed for about two weeks. After reaching the centre of city, He established Masjid-i-Nabawi, where Muslims used to pray regularly under the Immamat (leadership) of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT.
“The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided.” [Quran,9:18]
There is a great significance of a masjid in Islam. It gives true believers the opportunity to remember the Almighty regularly, ask for His mercy and bounties, and get closer to Him. Apart from a place of congregation, it promotes unity and brotherhood among the Ummah (followers) of the last Prophet (PBUH). It also serves as a source of getting acquainted with the numerous Islamic teachings and one can know about various aspect of daily and social life.
Since, Masjid is commonly known as “House of Allah”, so it is essential to follow some manners in its respect, as illustrated below:
Prior to entering Mosque
1. The rights of this Holy Place apply even before one has actually entered it. Muslims are advised by the Apostle (PBUH) of the Creator of everything to keep clean, not only wearing hygienic clothes, maintaining proper bodily sanitation, but also having no offensive odor coming from their mouth.
“Whoever eats garlic or onions should not attend the masjid.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
Unfortunately, majority of us do not take care in this matter, and visit mosque right after having done lunch or dinner, smoked cigarettes etc. without having got rid of awful odor coming from our mouth. So, we should be wary of this delicate subject and brush out teeth preferably with miswaak. It has bigger implication of not harming other others surrounding us than maintaining good odor just for the sake of it, as the dreadful smell could result in causing disturbances in others` prayers.
2. We are repeatedly told about remaining calm and patient in our matters. Same applies when setting out for congregational prayers. Most of us run and try to reach masjid as fast as possible with a view to join the Rakats with Imam (person leading the prayer). Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) did not like this action, and advised us all to march serenely for prayers.
“If you hear the call to prayer you should walk to the masjid in a calm, peaceful manner, and do not rush. Whatever you catch (from the prayer), then pray, and whatever you have missed, you should complete it.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
Due to the delicacy of this matter, we are permitted to link with whatever Rakat is being carried out, and avoid taking haste.
3. Since, Muadhin (caller to prayers) has a very special status in context of masjid, so it is necessary to reply to every line He says.
“When you hear the call to prayer, say similar to the Muathin.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
This act serves as acknowledging the fact that one has been called to remembrance of Allah for its own benefit.
Supplication between Adhan and Iqama
There is no doubt the fact that Allah Almighty is the most Merciful, and the most Beneficent, and one can ask for His mercy and guidance at any time, but there are some moments at which prayers are readily accepted, and one of those instances is the time between the first call to prayer and the call to congregation? Anas (R.A) reported the Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) saying as:
“A supplication made between the Adhan and Iqama is not rejected.” (Abu Dawud)
Since, listening and answering the call to prayers and one`s desire to offer Namaz brings one closer to Allah, the Exalted, so it could also result in acceptance of one`s prayers quickly.
While entering masjid
After fulfilling the initial responsibilities, one should say a Dua` (supplication) while entering the mosque. Since, the bigger implication of praying is seeking forgiveness and blessings of the Gracious God, so we are directed the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to plea to Allah as narrated in the following Hadith:
“If one of you enters the masjid, he should say: Oh Allah! Open for me the doors of Your mercy! Allahuma Iftah lee abwaab rahmatika.” (Muslim)
The word Rahmatika refers to “compassion”, and the above saying of Muhammad (PBUH) shows that one should ask for Allah`s mercy and tenderness even before starting Salah.
Sitting in the first row
The meaning of being seated at the front in a mosque is highly stressed by the Apostle (PBUH) of Allah Almighty, Who regarded this act as a gateway towards achieving immense prizes from the Gracious Lord.
“If the people were aware of the tremendous reward obtained for answering the call to prayer, and praying in the first row, they would draw straws to seek a place in the first row.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
It has been seen that those who are sitting behind, normally cause problems for those who enter masjid afterwards as they have to pass through them to move forward, which is also a disliked action according to the Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH). So, another consequence of sitting in front could also be that it prevents causing any hurdles for the new arrivals.
Causing no disturbances for others
To avoid any kind of annoyance for fellow Muslims brothers, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has advised us to perform individual Rakats at a convenient place, like behind a barrier to leave some space for others to pass by us.
“When one of you prays, he should stand behind a sutra and he should pray close to it. This is in order to prevent the shaytan from disturbing his prayer.” (Abu Dawud)
One should also avoid crossing in front of the performer of Salah, as it is considered as a satanic act, because it bothers the attention of others who are praying.
Apart from the above manners and responsibilities regarding mosque, one should avoid talking about worldly or private matters, as one is sitting in the house of Allah SWT, which demands high level of reverence. One should also take advantage of gatherings which promote knowledge of Islamic instructions after Namaz, as, besides being a place of worshiping the Almighty, it is also a grand source of seeking wisdom.
These are some of the foremost manners and etiquettes which one has to keep in mind and act upon to pay the true homage to the place of eternal guidance and mercy. May Allah Almighty give us the desire to adhere to these fundamental rights of the mosque! Aameen!