Masjid literally means “place for prostration (sajdah),” a humbling position before Allah (swt) and an essential part of salat (formal prayer). Even though salat can be performed anywhere, for the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, “The whole Earth is made as a place of worship (masjid) and a means of cleansing for me,” Muslims come to the masjid to offer salat, for it is preferable to pray with others, even if only two persons.
A Masjid is the place for Muslims to study and educate themselves on current issues, discuss and consult with others, and determine the issues’ relevance to our community.
Indeed, the Masjid is the best place in which sincere Muslims can discuss current issues thoroughly and insightfully. Everyone should participate in a free and open manner while, of course, observing the Islamic adab (manners and etiquette) of decency and consideration.
The Masjid should be the center of various da’wah programs designed to counter the negative publicity and stereotyping of Islam and Muslims with accurate information. In the Masjid, we can illustrate Islam’s beauty and reality through our transcendental literature and personal example.
Every Muslim should be involved in da’wah programs. Since ‘seeing is believing,’ we should invite non-Muslims to the masjid to observe for themselves the salat and other essential Islamic activities. We should ask them to join our prayers and salat, share our meals, and attend our festivals and holidays, especially the two Eids and Ramadan.
In addition, the Masjid should be center for interfaith communication and dialog. We should initiate, participate in, and further interfaith activities by forming partnerships and coalitions, consulting with those who support our causes, listening to their suggestions, and getting involved with them on issues of mutual interest. The masjid should welcome people of all cultures and ethnic origin to worship together and there should be no sense of racism, or hatred between worshippers of any cultural background.
The Masjid is a place for spiritual growth and development for all Muslims, and should be equally accessible for males and females.
THE RIGHTS OF THE MASJID
The Masjid is the house of Allah – Subhaanahu wa Ta ‘Aala – and it has rights like anything else. Amongst these rights are the following:
Firstly: When someone enters the Masjid, they should pray 2 rakas before sitting down. The Prophet – SalAllaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – said, “If any of you enters the Masjid, let him not sit down until he prays 2 rakas.”
Secondly: No business should take place in the Masjid. The Messenger of Allah – Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – 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 – Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – said, “Whoever eats from this tree (i.e. Garlic) should not attend our place of prayer.”
Fourthly: Advice should be given to fellow Muslims. When the Prophet – Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – would see someone not praying correctly he would advise them to repeat their prayer and teach them how to pray.
Fifthly: Allah – Subhaanahu wa Ta ‘Aala – should be remembered much during one’s stay in the Masjid. As Allah – Subhaanahu wa Ta ‘Aala – says [O ye who believe, remember Allah with much remembrance.] – Ahzab 33/42.
And finally, Allah – Subhaanahu wa Ta ‘Aala – tells us of the kind of people that are recognized as the people of the Masjid. [In it are men that love to purify themselves, And Allah loves those who make themselves pure.] – Taubah 9/108.
The Messenger of Allah – Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – said, “Whoever builds a Masjid, seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah shall build a house for him in Paradise.” -Bukhari.
He also – Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam – 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.