Do you know the last public place where Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was seen? He was seen in the Masjid. About 3 days before he passed away, Hadhrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was leading the Salaah (Prayer) in Jamaa’ah (Congregation) and the Masjid was full with the Muslims prepared to illuminate the world with their Da’wah and Jihad in the path of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). The Hujrah (the small accommodation) of Hadhrat ‘Aaishah, where Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was staying, opened up to the Masjid and there was a curtain separating his room and the prayer hall. He opened the curtain and saw the congregation and saw his Khalifah, Hashrat Abu Bakr, the Salaah as per his instructions. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) smiled like a moon. Those Sahaabah (Companions) who could see him all of a sudden, almost lost control from their happiness. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) then drew his curtain and three days later returned to his Lord, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
During the life of the Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) there was a women 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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and His Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) she held a different rank. She passed away one night and the Sahaabah, not wanting to disturb the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam), washed and buried her without informing him. The next day, the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) realized her absence and inquired about her. They told him about her demise and how they did not want to disturb him. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) 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 Muslim Community. In some countries, it is a place where the tribal imam is buried and the later on sometimes almost paid respect like worship. In other places, it is a place that only Salaah may be performed therein, absolutely nothing else will be tolerated. And in some countries, because of reasons, since closely adjacent to Muslim’s Community Centre, it is sometimes used as annexes’ of the Community Center holding events nothing to do with Islam. Yet in few other places, not even Salaah are performed in it, so-much-so the country may finally decide to convert it into a museum or a church.
Today, I would like to introduce you to our friend, the Masjid: Literally, Masjid means a place for “Sajdah” (Prostration). Technically, Masjid is a clean place on earth that if constructed, should be treated as Masjid forever. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) however for the ease of Muslim Ummah is quoted in Bukhari, which means: “The whole earth is made pure for me to offer Salaah.” This is in contrast to Jewish commands in which worship is to be done in worship places only.
Masjid is a word derived from Sajdah (Prostration). The Masjid, or place of Sajdah, was such named due the honorable position the Sujood holds in Salah. Thus it was not called Marka’ derived from Rukoo’ and so on.
The first house of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) ever built on earth was the Ka’bah. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيۡتٖ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكٗا وَهُدٗى لِّلۡعَٰلَمِينَ (96)
“The first house set up for the people is surely the one in Makkah having blessings and guidance for all the worlds.” (Aale ‘Imraa 3:96)
And Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) commanded us to honor and enliven the Masjid with His Zikr (Remembrance):
فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ ٱللَّهُ أَن تُرۡفَعَ وَيُذۡكَرَ فِيهَا ٱسۡمُهُۥ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ فِيهَا بِٱلۡغُدُوِّ وَٱلۡأٓصَالِ (36)
“(The guided people worship Allah) in the houses that Allah has permitted to be raised, and where His name is recounted and His purity is pronounced, in the morning and in the evening,” (an-Noor 24:36)
Hadhrat Ibne Abbas, Mujahid, and Al-Hasan commented: The "houses” are those Masajid that were dedicated to the worship of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). 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. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: "Whoever builds a Masjid, seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah shall build a house for him in Jannah (Paradise).” (Bukhari)
He 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.” (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: Education: The Masjid was the nucleus of education. Throughout history, the Masjid was the university that graduated scholars and imams. It all started with Masjid un Nabawi ash Shareef.
Place for Salaah in Jamaa’ah: The Masjid is where hundreds of Muslims come, all in straight rows, all following the lead of Allahu Akbar, all beginning when the imam begins, all ending when the imam ends.
Shooraa (Think tank): When important issues came up, the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) would gather the Sahaabah in the Masjid and consult them in the matter.
Sadaqah (Charity): The charity would be collected and distributed from the Masjid. It was in the Masjid that the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: "Give, if only with a half a date.
Da’wah & Jihad: It was from the Masjid that Sahaabah were organized and set off for Da’wah & Jihad. Masjid was the place to persuade Muslims to make efforts and struggle to elevate the “Word of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)” all over the world.
Tazkiyah (Reforming inner-self): This was the place where the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) used to meet the people to listen and solve their problems, spiritual or related to this mortal world.
Children: The Masjid was a place where the children would accompany their parents and grow up under the shade of its walls. Quoting early Islamic periods when the commandments were decending down for the gradual Tarbiyah of Muslims, Hadhrat Abu Qataadah narrates that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) used to offer Salaah and carry Umamah, the daughter of his daughter Zaynab. When he would fall into Sajdah, he would rest her aside. And when he stood up again, he would again pick her up. (Bukhari)
Central Place: The Masjid is where the Muslims would meet one another. When someone missed a Salaah, he was followed up. Relationships were reared, brotherhood was built. But point to note is: it was not a club for socializing with people as the worldly talks and discussions are prohibited in Masjid.
Serenity: Whenever the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) felt sad he would go and offer Salaah.
Since Masjid is the house of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and it has rights like anyone else.
Amongst these rights are the following: Firstly: When someone enters the Masjid, he should pray 2 Rak’aat (Units of Salaah) before sitting down. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: "If any of you enters the Masjid, let him not sit down until he prays 2 Rak’aat.”
Secondly: No worldly business dealings and transactions should take place in the Masjid. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: "Whoever sells in the Masjid, say to them: May Allah not grant success in your sale.”
Thirdly: The Masjid must be kept clean and fresh smelling. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said, which means, whoever eats from this tree (i.e. Garlic) should not come to our Masjid.
Fourthly: Advice should be given to fellow Muslims for their training and upbringing. When the Prophet would see someone not offering Salaah correctly he would advise them to repeat their Salaah and teach them how to offer it.
Fifthly: Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) should be remembered much during one’s stay in the Masjid. As Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says”
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ ذِكۡرٗا كَثِيرٗا (41)
“O you who believe! Remember Allah abundantly,” (Ahzaab 33:41)
Finally: Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) tells us of the kind of people that are recognized as the “people” of the Masjid.
فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُواْۚ وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُطَّهِّرِينَ (108)
“In it there are men who like to observe purity; and Allah loves those observing purity.” (Taubah 9:108)
May Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) give us the blessing of being amongst those who establish the Masjid and are included amongst those whom Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) loves.