Do's and Don'ts while at the Mesjid!
As-Salamou Alaikoum Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Insha-Allah, in this article, we will talk about 'Mesjid Etiquette' we should follow when visiting a Mesjid to perform any of our 5 prescribed daily prayers, including but not limited to the Friday prayer.
Mesjid Etiquette should be followed not only while being inside the Mesjid, but also outside!
Please understand that, no matter how small the rule/conduct might seem, its importance and rewards are greater than we think! We all know that Islam is not just a religion, but also a way of life.
The Quran and Ahadeeths (the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him) provide us with a plethora of simple rules to exercise that are a sure way of pleasing Allah (SWT), and have a harmonious life with our family, friends, neighbors and people of other faiths and religious traditions.
Allah (SWT) loves us and understands that we are weak against our sworn enemy, Satan (Shaytan), but he (Allah - SWT) gave us tools and means to erase any bad deed(s) we have accumulated throughout that day. Those tools will help us turn those bad deeds into good deeds. This shows us, or should be a proof that Allah (SWT) loves us and wants all of us to attain Jennah (Heaven), and NOT Hell fire!
Let us love and please Allah(SWT) by following the Mesjid Etiquette!
Things to remember before heading for the Mesjid!
- Attire (Clothes) - Muslims should wear clean and appropriate clothes before coming to the Mesjid! Wearing a 'Tank top' at the Mesjid is not appropriate and will nullify your prayer!
- Food - Muslims should avoid things that have offensive smell such as eating raw garlic, or onions! If you are planning to eat a dish that has garlic, or onions before coming to the Mesjid, make sure that they are well cooked as to reduce their potent smell, and not offend others!
One more thing please... Understand that I am not a scholar, nor trying to pretend to be one! I am merely trying to share what I learned from the Quran and Ahadeeths of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS), and I was taught as a child by my parents!
Now, let us explore the 'Mesjid Etiquette' and see how easy it is to please Allah (SWT) and get good deeds while doing so.
First and Foremost
PARKING YOUR VEHICLE
We all know that every step we take towards the Mesjid, to perform a congregational prayer, the Angels write down the good deed(s) which will be presented before Allah (SWT), therefore, it is recommended that we use the parking lot - made available to us 1 block up the street from the Mesjid.
By walking a block, or two, towards the Mesjid to perform our daily 5 prayers (or to attend an Islamic events, and we have guests attending that day), we will be collecting more rewards (for thinking of your fellow brother/sister/non-muslim who is not able to walk that distance, and for walking that distance). The prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) said: 'Every step that is taken towards prayer is a charity.î Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2989; Muslim, 1009.
Insha-Allah, Allah (SWT) will reward us for considering our elder brother's and sister's inability to walk that distance in order to get to the Mesjid, plus, he (Allah - SWT) will also rewards us for the steps it took to actually get to the Mesjid!
If we can't use the above mentioned parking lot and we need to use the Mesjid's parking area, we need to make sure that we park our vehicle accordingly while making sure that we take the next available space instead of parking in a way that will block access to the next vacant space - Remember, we want to please Allah (SWT), thus, just thinking of making another space available for our brother and sister will get us reward(s), and acting upon that thought will get us more rewards (good deeds which we all need).
NOTE: When parking our vehicle, we should pay attention to our surroundings and our neighbors' property. We should not park our vehicle in such a way that it prevents our neighbor from exiting their property.
"And be good to the neighbor who is your relative and to the neighbor who is not a relative . . . (Qur'an, 4:36)"
BEFORE ENTERING THE MESJID
Turning off our cellphone, or setting your phone to vibrate instead - (Did you see the above image?) - Even though the cellphone is one of the greatest technology, and the most used mean of communicating with others, it is one that we seem to forget to turn off while in the Mesjid - We need to get into the habit of either leaving our cellphone in the car (preferred), or keep it with us while making sure that it is turned off, or at least set to "mute/vibrate."
Keeping our voice to a minimum - Sometimes while visiting the Mesjid, we get to meet old friends, that we have not seen for some time, and try to catch up on things while forgetting that we are standing right outside the Mesjid - Just remember that every thing we say can be heard inside the Mesjid, thus, disturbing brothers and sisters that are still praying (came late or performing the Sunnah prayers), or disrupt the Imam while he is giving the Khutba (Friday Sermon).
ENTERING THE MESJID
When entering the Mesjid, we should enter with our right foot first and make the following Duaa "Oh Allah! Open the doors for me of your Blessings" - Imam Muslim (Rahimahou-Lah) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) used to say "Bismillah (In the name of Allah), O Allah, open for me the gates of your mercy.". When leaving the Mesjid, exist the Mesjid with your left foot and make the following duaa "Oh Allah! I ask you of your favor"! Imam Bukhari (Rahimahou-Lah) reported that "Ibn Omar (R.A.) used to step with his right foot first when entering the Mesjid, and step out with his left foot first when existing the Mesjid." - If there is a group of people who want to enter the Mesjid at the same time, then the one on the right should go in first to uphold the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (SAAWS).
We need to remember to place our shoes on the provided shoe rack instead of leaving them on the floor by the entrance - doing so will make the path to the actual place of prayer more difficult
When entering the place of prayer, let us respect the brothers and sisters, that might already be praying, or while the Imam is giving his Friday Khutba (or lecture) and keep our voice to a minimum.
Also, look for an available spot (for you to sit, or perform your Sunnah) that is not by the door, thus blocking the entrance, but instead, look for the best spot, which is the first row (please try not to disturb others while trying to reach the first row!)
GIVING 'SALAM' WHILE ENTERING THE MESJID
Giving Salam to your fellow Muslim (and non-Muslim) is a great way of spreading Islam and piling up good deeds! When you enter the Mesjid, you should gave Salam even if the person(s) is/are praying. Even though we are engaged in the prayer, if someone enters the Mesjid and gives a Salam, it is permissble to return the salam with a gesture.
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (Rahimahoum-Alah) reported that Souhaib (R.A.) said: "I passed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) while he was praying and gave Salam to him, he replied to me with a gesture." And Ibn Omar (R.A.) asked Bilal (R.A.): How did you see the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) reply to them (his companions) when they gave Salam to him while he was engaged in prayer?" Bilal said: "By spreading his palm."
I was thought that if the Imam is already performing the Friday Khutba (Sermon), we should refrain from giving Salam in a voice so as everyone can hear us! However, you can still give Salam while the Imam is giving his Khutba (Friday Sermon) but make it a "Silent Salam" - Remember, the Angels and Allah can hear you, thus you will get your reward of giving Salam!
PERFORMING THE WUDU
- Performing the Wudu before a prayer is required if you have not yet performed it before coming to the Mesjid - Watch the 'How To Perform Wudu?' Video!
- When performing the Wudu at the Mesjid, or anywhere else for that matter (including at home), it is not permissible to waste water by having the faucet turned all the way and at full blast but instead, we should do our best to use the smallest amount of water needed for the Wudu.
- The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) urged moderation when using water during ablution. He, Himself used a minimal amount of water, using just one Mudd of water (the equivalent of 625 ml) when carrying out Wudu and only five Mudds for Ghusl (slightly more than 3 litres). The Prophet once saw Sa'd performing Wudu and said to him: "Why are you wasting all this water?" Sa'd asked, "Is there wastefulness even in performing Wudu?" The Prophet replied, "Yes, even if you were at a flowing river." - See more at: http://www.waterwise.gov.ae/en/section/how-can-i-save-water/inside/ablutions
- While performing the Wudu, or are in the wudu area, we need to remember to keep our voice to a minimum, especially when the Imam is giving the Khutba, because we might think that since the door is closed, no one can hear our conversation, or the running water (when in full blast) - When someone opens the door, the noise echoing can have an impact on hearing the Khutba or focus on our prayer!
DO NOT JOIN THE PRAYER RUNNING
If you come into the Mesjid and you noticed that the prayer has started, join the prayer by walking and not running. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (Rahimahoum-Lah) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) 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."
DON'T BE A DISTRACTION
When praying, we are communicating with Allah (SWT) therefore, we should remain quite and not be a distraction to the person who is praying
DON'T PASS IN FRONT OF THE PERSON WHO IS PRAYING
When entering the Mesjid, or while in the prayer area, we have to make a note of our surrounding and avoid passing in front of the person performing the prayer
LEAVE BUSINESS OUTSIDE
- Please refrain from conducting any business (buying/selling) inside the Mesjid
- Once the Friday prayer has been performed and you need to talk to someone, Please converse with your brother/sister outside the Mesjid so as to not disturb the person(s) still praying (i.e: Sunna prayers).
WHAT IF MY PHONE RINGS WHILE PRAYING
If we happen to forget to turn off our cellphone, and the phone rings while we are praying, or while the Imam is giving the khutba, it is permissible to actually grab our phone and turn it off while in the state of prayer.
VIRTUE OF FIRST ROW AT THE Mesjid
- From Abu Hurayyah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (SAAWS) said 'If the people knew what (reward) there is in the call and the first row, and there was no other way to settle the matter than drawing lots, they would draw lots for it' - al-Bukhari (615) and Muslim (437)
- As by the general meaning of the Ahadeeth, whether there is one row or several rows in the Mesjid, the people that are in the closest row to the Imam are promised reward. (Allah - SWT knows best)
AFTER HAVING COMPLETED YOUR PRAYER
Once you are done prayer, and especially after completing your Friday Prayer, please remember that others might be performing their Sunnah prayer, thus, we need to make sure that we remain silent as to not disturb them! If you need to stay and talk to someone, or a friend you haven't seen for some times, it is best to do it outside the Mesjid, as to again, not disturb anyone while they are praying!
WHILE LEAVING THE Mesjid
Islam teaches us to love one another and great our brother with the best greeting possible. We also love talking and catching up on things with friends BUT we need to remind ourselves to look around us and take notice of our surroundings and ask ourselves 'Am I blocking someone from existing the Mesjid?" and if we are, we should move to another areas inside or outside the Mesjid!
I ask Allah (SWT) to forgive me for any mistakes I have made in this article!