Sunday, 25 February 2007

Have We Lost Our Masjid?

My intelligent friends,

Do we know the last public place that the Messenger of Allah SAW was seen?

He was seen in the Masjid. About three days before he passed away, Abu Bakr RA was leading the prayer and the Masjid was full with an Ummah to illuminate the world with their Jihad and Da'wah. The house of Rasulullah SAW opened up to the Masjid and there was a curtain separating his room and the prayer hall. Rasulullah SAW opened the curtain and saw the congregation and saw his Khalifah - Saiyidina Abu Bakr RA leading the prayer. The Prophet SAW smiled like a moon. The companions saw him (SAW) while they were in prayer, and from their happiness, almost lost control of the prayer. The Prophet SAW then drew his curtain and three days later returned to his Lord SWT.

During the life of the Prophet SAW there was a woman who used to sweep the Masjid with her hands, picking up the dirt and disposing of it. In the sight of the community her status was not that high, but in the sight of Allah and his Messenger SAW she held a very high rank. She passed away one night and the Companions, not wanting to disturb the Prophet SAW washed and buried her without informing him. The next day, the Prophet SAW recognised her absence and inquired about her. They told him about her demise and how they did not want to disturb him. The Prophet SAW was not happy at the action they took. He went to her grave and prayed for her there.

What is a Masjid?

Many have misunderstood the role the Masjid plays in the development of the Community. In some countries, it is a place where the tribal imam is buried and worshipped. In other places, it is a place that only prayers may be performed therein, absolutely nothing else will be tolerated. And in yet other places, not even prayers are performed in it, so-much-so the country may finally decide to convert it into a museum or a church.

Dear brother and sister.

I would like to introduce you to our friend - The Masjid.

Literally, Masjid means a place of prostration.

Technically, Masjid is any clean place on earth, as the Messenger of Allah SAW said:

"The earth was made for me a Masjid (i.e. a place to pray), pure." (Riwayat Bukhari)

However, custom allocated to the word Masjid a specific place, the place where the five daily prayers are held. This was done in order to distinguish the Masjid from the Musallah, or the place where Eid prayers are held, and so forth, so that the rules of the Masjid do not apply to it.

Masjid is a word derived from sujud, or prostration. The Masjid, or place of prostration, was such named due to the honourable position the sujud holds in Solat. Thus it was not called Marka' derived from Ruku' and so on. The first house of Allah ever built on earth was the Ka'bah.

Allah SWT says:

"Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-Aalameen." (Surah 3: Ayat 96)

And Allah SWT commanded us to honour and enliven the Masjid with His rememberance; as the how the ayat in the Qur'an goes:

"In houses (masajid), which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His name is glorified in the mornings, and in the evenings." (Surah 24: Ayat 36)

Abdullah ibn Abbas RA, Mujahid RA, and Al-Hasan RA commented:

The "houses" are those Masajid that were dedicated to the worship of Allah. And verily, the Masajid light up the earth for the inhabitants of the heavens, just as stars light up the heavens for the inhabitants of the earth. Everyone wants to build a retirement home to be proud of. Let them listen to this offer:

The Messenger of Allah SAW said:

"Whoever builds a Masjid, seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah shall build a house for him in Paradise." (Riwayat Bukhari)

Rasulullah SAW also said:

"The most beloved places to Allah on earth are the Masajid, and the most hated places to Allah on earth are the Markets." (Riwayat Muslim)

The Masjid played a variety of roles in our history. Following is a short tour of some of the roles that the Masjid played and should still play today:

1. Children
The Masjid was a place where the children would accompany their parents and grow up under the shade of it's walls.

Abu Qatadah RA narrated:

"The Messenger of Allah SAW used to pray and carry Umamah, the daughter of Zainab RA. When he would fall into prostration, he would rest her aside. And when he stood up again, he would again pick her up." (Riwayat Bukhari)

2. Education
The Masjid was the nucleus of education. Throughout history, the Masjid was the university that graduated scholars and imams. To name only a few, there was the Masjid of Al-Azhar, Masjid Al-Umawee in Syria, and Masjid Az-Zaytunah in Tunis.

The Prophet SAW said:

"No gathering gathers in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the book of Allah and teaching it to one another, except that serenity befalls them, Mercy envelops them, the angels surround them and Allah mentions them to (the inhabitants of the heavens)." (Riwayat Muslim)

3. Organisation
The Masjid is where hundreds of Muslims come, all in straight rows, all following the lead of AllahuAkbar, all beginning when the Imam begins, all ending when the Imam ends.

4. Shelter for the Weak and Traveling
In Masjid An-Nabawi, we know that there was a platform, known as the Suffah. There the poor and the strangers would find shelter and the Messenger of Allah SAW would grant them shares of the collected charity.

5. Solicialising
The Masjid is where the Muslims would meet one another. When someone missed a prayer, he was followed up. Relationships were reared, brotherhood was built.

6. Think Tank
When important issues came up, the Prophet SAW would gather the Companions in the Masjid and consult them in the matter. This tertib was the continuing nucleus of how the Muslims resolved issues and how the world was conquered, all by the help of Allah, because Allah SWT promises success with mashuarah (consultation).

7. Charity
The charity would be collected and distributed from the Masjid.

It was in the Masjid that the Prophet SAW said:

"Give, if only with a half a date."

8. Jihad
It was from the Masjid that battalions were organised and set off for Jihad. During the crusades, many Masajid became the podium for inciting the feelings of the Muslims to fight off the transgression.

9. Serenity
Whenever the Prophet SAW felt sad he would go and pray. And he SAW would say to Bilal RA, "Relax us with (the prayer) O Bilal."


The Masjid is the house of Allah SWT and it has rights like anything else. Amongst these rights are the following:

1. When someone enters the Masjid, they should pray two rakaats before sitting down.

The Prophet SAW said:

"If any of you enters the Masjid, let him not sit down until he prays two rakaats."

2. No business should take place in the Masjid.

The Messenger of Allah SAW said:

"Whoever sells in the Masjid, say to them: May Allah not grant success in your sale."

3. The Masjid must be kept clean and fresh smelling.

The Prophet SAW said:

"Whoever who eats from this tree (i.e. garlic) should not attend our place of prayer." (Note: this refers to those who have just eaten garlic before prayer time, and the smell of the person's mouth or burp may disturb other people there.)

4. Advice should be given to fellow Muslims.

When the Prophet SAW would see someone not praying correctly he would advise them to repeat their prayer and teach them how to pray.

5. Allah SWT should be remembered much during one's stay in the Masjid.

Allah SWT says:

"O ye who believe, remember Allah with much remembrance." (Surah 33: Ayat 42)

And Allah SWT also tells us of the kind of people that are recognised as the people of the Masjid:

"In it are men that love to purify themselves, And Allah loves those who make themselves pure." (Surah 9: Ayat 108)

(The above are based on the advice of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shareef)

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