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Friday, 18 April 2008

The virtue of cleaning the mosque

The virtue of cleaning the mosque
Taken from islam-qa.com

Question: What reward will you get if you look after the mosque? also what about if you also help/ look after the Iman?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Taking care of the mosques and tidying the furniture etc inside them is something that is praiseworthy and encouraged. The one who does that will be rewarded by Allaah for this good deed.

Allaah has commanded us to venerate the mosques as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“In houses (mosques) which Allaah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is remembered [i.e. Adhaan, Iqaamah, Salaah (prayers), invocations, recitation of the Qur’aan]. Therein glorify Him (Allaah) in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings,

Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the remembrance of Allaah (with heart and tongue) nor from performing As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah) nor from giving the Zakaah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection)” [al-Noor 24:36-37]

al-Suyooti said: In this verse there is the command to venerate the mosques and cleanse them of idle talk and impure things. From Tafseer al-Qaasimi, 12/214

Another sign that points to the virtue of the one who takes care of that is the report in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah, that a black man or a black woman used to take care of the mosque, then he or she died. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked after him (or her) and was told that he had died. He said: “Why did you not inform me? Show me his grave (or her grave).” Then he went to the grave and offered the funeral prayer over it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 458; Muslim, 956.

And it was narrated by Abu Dawood (455), al-Tirmidhi (594) and Ibn Maajah (759) that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded that mosques be built among houses and that they be cleaned and perfumed.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, no. 487.

What is meant by “among houses” is in neighbourhoods and among tribes.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) regarded spitting in the mosque as a sin and said that the expiation for that was burying it. In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that Anas said: The Messenger of Allaah (S) said: “Spitting in the mosque is a sin and its expiation is burying it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 415; Muslim, 552.

Al-Nasaa’i (728) and Ibn Maajah (762) narrated from Anas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some sputum in the qiblah of the mosque and he got so angry that his face turned red. Then a woman from among the Ansaar came and scratched it and put some perfume in that place. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What a good deed this is.” This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i and Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) removed that himself as was narrated in al-Saheehayn where it says that ‘Aa’ishah said: “He saw some sputum on the wall of the mosque and scratched it off.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 407; Muslim, 549.

And there are da’eef ahaadeeth narrated concerning that which we will quote here only in order to explain that they are weak. In the saheeh reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) there is sufficient evidence that we have no need of the weak reports.

Abu Dawood (461) and al-Tirmidhi (2916) narrated the hadeeth, “I was shown the rewards of my ummah for different deeds, even a speck of dirt that someone removes from the mosque.” This hadeeth was classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Da’eef al-Tirmidhi.

Ibn Maajah (757) narrated a hadeeth, “Whoever removes anything harmful from the mosque, Allaah will build for him a house in Paradise.” This hadeeth was classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Da’eef ibn Maajah.

With regard to looking after the imam, Imam Muslim said in the introduction to his Saheeh:
“The man of high status should be given the respect to which he is entitled, and the one who has a low level of knowledge should not be elevated above his status. Every person should be given his due (of respect) and should be honoured in accordance with his status. It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to give people due respect.”

If the imam is a person of virtue, knowledge and righteousness, then love for him comes under the heading of loving and respecting the righteous. This is a righteous deed.

But it should be noted that the matter should not be allowed to go to the extreme of seeking blessing (barakah) from the imam or touching him (for the purpose of seeking blessing) as some people do, for this is not part of the teaching of the earliest Muslims, either their imams or their scholars.

And Allaah knows best.

Further reading:

Is the reward for repairing mosques the same as the reward for building them? - Islam-qa.com

The people at the mosque

The people at the mosque

This is a good article taken from the BBC website about the role of mosques in the community. Amid widespread interest in Islam, the BBC News website hosted a live laptop link- (Dec 2005)from one of the biggest mosques and community centres in London. Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London is a centre used by 5,000 people a week.

This mosque is very close to my workplace and one I use on a regular basis. To find out about the people and their backgrounds who work and pray there. CLICK HERE!

Laptop link-up: A day at the mosque

Here is a link to the BBC website with Questions and Answers from the general public taken by members of the Mosque. It is a very good read. CLICK HERE!

Further reading:

(1) An American Imam - Time magazine, Monday, Nov. 14, 2005

(2) Visiting A Mosque - We hold these truths (a good article from a Christian Anti Zionist Blog)

Role of the Mosque in the life of the Muslim Community

Role of the Mosque in the life of the Muslim Community
This is an extract from a booklet of the same name by Dr. Khalid Alavi of Da‘wah Academy, International Islāmic University, ISLĀMABAD. In the UK this report was published by the Institute of Islamic Studies and Dawa Birmingham, June 1990.

• The Mosque in general
The word ‘Mosque’ is an English translation of the Arabic term ‘Masjid,’ which translated literally means ‘a place of prostration.’ Lisān al ‘Arab, one of the most authentic sources of Arabic language, contains various meanings of the term. It is reported that ‘Masjid’ with an ‘a’ has been used for the corners of houses, ‘Mihrāb al-Buyūt.’ According to one lexicographer ‘Masjid’ is the name of a place and a noun. Zajjaj, referring to a tradition of the Prophet defines ‘masjid’ as a place where God is worshipped. Since worship of God has always been the cornerstone of every religion, places of worship occupy an important position in the daily life of a religious community.

There is evidence that any place of worship could be called a Masjid since Bukhārī referred to a Church in Abyssinia as a Masjid and ibn Khaldūn has used the term for any place of worship. John Pederson thinks that this term has been taken from the People of the Book and says: “There is, therefore, no question of this word, especially being a Muslim term. This is in entire agreement with Muhammad’s original attitude to earlier religions, just as Abraham was a Muslim, so David had a Masjid.”

• Rules of Conduct within the Mosque
The Mosque as a place of worship is considered an esteemed and holy place. Though Muslims are permitted to offer their prayers anywhere on earth provided the place is clean, yet the centre proposed for collective consciousness of Muslims was the Mosque. The Prophet emphasised simplicity and cleanliness in the Mosque, thus, there are whole chapters in a╒adīth books outlining rules and manners of maintaining and using the Mosque. A cursory glance over these chapters will convince the reader of the honoured position the Mosque was held in during the Prophet’s time.

• Significance of the Mosque as an institution
The importance of the Mosque is evident when one studies texts of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. It is useful, also, to examine the importance the Mosque had in Muslim society through its long history. Throughout Muslim history the Mosque played a central role in the cultural and social life of Muslims as an institution. Although its role has undergone changes from the position it held during the Prophet’s time, it still has a great impact on the life of Muslims, even today. The Mosque, in certain respects, is different from the places of worship of other communities due, mainly, to its influence on each and every aspect of Muslim society. It’s most obvious roles are as:

1) A place of worship
2) A centre of education
3) A judicial court, and as
4) A government centre for making political and administrative decisions.

The Mosque was the centre of all such activities in the past for two reasons.

Firstly, because the Prophet of Islām himself, gave it a pivotal role in his life. This, naturally, lead to his companions and followers to give it the same recognition. It may be mentioned here that Muslims are commanded to follow the Prophet (S.A.W.S) in every sphere of their lives as to them he is an ideal example of religious and spiritual practice.

Secondly, the Mosque gained a special place due to a distinctive character of the Islāmic faith; Islām requires that its followers shape their lives on the principle of obedience to Allāh and, since worship in Islām, is not an isolated act, rather it is an integral part of one’s whole life; the entire life of a Muslim, must thus, be based on a moral foundation, and an ethical and moral standard which must be evident in every aspect of the daily existence of both the community and the individual.

It was, therefore, natural for the Mosque, as a symbol of morality and piety, to become the centre of all activities, colouring the social and material life of the community. The decline of that consciousness led eventually to the loss by Islām of its initial power; the power which enabled it to spread Islām from southern Spain to the sub-continent of India in the first century of the Islāmic calendar.

• The Mosque as a Spiritual and Religious Centre
The Mosque as a religious centre, provides an environment for spiritual purification and inner strength. For an individual it provides an opportunity and a means for communication with Allāh, and for the community; a place for collective submission to Allāh. It also provides a place for sharing spiritual experiences and cementing brotherhood among people of the same faith.

As well as being a place to offer individual and congregational prayer it can also be used for performing voluntary prayers at any time of the day or night. The five daily prayers can aptly be described as a regular spiritual festival, while the Friday congregational prayer is akin to a spiritual and social festival. The Qur’ān stresses on collective prayer because of its superior spiritual benefit for the human soul when compared to prayer in isolation.

• The Mosque as an Educational center
The second most important role the Mosque has is that it serves as a centre for educational activities, in fact, it was an educational institution from the beginning. All the Prophets were, in reality, teachers and educators, their foremost duty being to teach people the art of living a balanced, spiritual life; starting from performing ablution to deeper devotional and meditational practices.

In the early centuries of Islām the Mosque was an educational centre where all forms of educational activities took place. Al-Qur’ān was taught there and Qur’ānic verses explained by the Prophet. The companions used to memorize and record the sayings of the Prophet within the Mosque. In one of the corners of the Prophet’s Mosque there was a raised platform (suffa) which served as a central place of student activity for those interested to know about faith, worship, and other matters. It was mostly an informal method of teaching, but later on it was organized in a systematic way.

• The Mosque as a social and administrative center
“It was inherent in the character of Islām that religion and politics could not be separated. The same individual served as a ruler and chief administrator in both fields, and in the same building. The Mosque was, thus, the centre of harmony for both politics and religion. This relationship found expression in the fact that the Mosque was placed in the centre of a coup.”

The Mosque, being the centre of the Muslim community, was the place where all political, judicial, and social decisions were taken during the time of the Prophet (S.A.W.S). Collections for emergency needs were made there and important matters discussed with the companions and tribal delegations. The Prophet (S.A.W.S) also made appeals for donations for military expeditions within the Mosque. He used to also decide judicial cases in the Mosque e.g. the case of a woman thief from Banū Makhzūm was decided by the Prophet in the Mosque. The Prophet conducted political negotiations and made decisions and contracts in the Mosque. Whenever he wanted to draw attention to a special issue he would call people to the Mosque and deliver a speech explaining the matter in a proper perspective.

• Administration of the Mosque
The Mosque, from the earliest days, was never considered to be anyone’s property. It has always remained God’s property and an endowment to the public. Its management and maintenance has always been held to be the duty of the ruler or the society of the area. Some Mosques used to be maintained by the ruler who also bore it’s expenses from the Bayt al Maal. Some modern Muslim states today, have ministries of Awqāf and religious affairs for their maintenance. These ministries look after Mosques and pay the salaries of staff employed within them. As far as general Mosques are concerned they are maintained by the community through donations and general financial assistance.

Since there is no organised clergy in Islām, each Mosque is an independent administrative unit and the Imām or Khateeb it’s central figure. He leads the five daily prayers and the Friday congregational prayer. Besides, the Imām, can also be a Mu’adhdhin, caretaker, and cleaner, depending on the size of the Mosque. There is usually an administrative committee also, selected from amongst the community to look after affairs of the Mosque and to arrange funds for it. However, it is the Imām who has to play a key role in the Mosque. Some qualities in an Imām have been accepted as a necessary requirement for his appointment e.g:

1) He should be highly learned. Learning here refers to religious knowledge.
2) He should be sturdy and of sound character.
3) He should be socially accepted.

Ibn Mas‘ūd has reported a hadīth of the Prophet regarding Imāmah which provides a basis for required qualities: Abū Masūd reported Allāh’s Messenger as saying: “The one most versed in Allāh’s Book should act as an Imām for the people; but if they are equally versed in reciting it, then one who has the most knowledge regarding the sunnah; if they are equal regarding the Sunnah, then the earliest of them to emigrate; if they emigrated at the same time, then the oldest amongst them. No person should lead another in prayer if the latter has authority over him or to sit at a place of honour in his house without his permission.

• Knowing a Mosque
All the Mosques in the Muslim world are purpose-built. Although Britain does have some beautiful purpose-built Mosques, the majority are house-Mosques. The community, according to its resources in such settings, purchased small terraced houses, dis-used churches or warehouses, and converted them into Mosques. Such purpose-built Mosques can be seen in almost every big city in the UK. A purpose-built Mosque has its own characteristics and offers certain facilities. A very good example of purpose-built Mosques in Britain are the Birmingham Central Mosque, the Regent Park Mosque in London, and the Central Mosque, Glasgow.

A visitor can find the following distinctive features in any purpose-built Mosque. These features do not depend on the size, shape, or style of a Mosque but owe their existence to the tradition and practice of the local Muslim community.

• Distinctive features
(1) The Minaret: A minaret is a tower, often capped with a miniature dome, attached to a Mosque. Although there are Mosques with four minarets, the common practice is to build one or two minarets only. It is a distinctive feature of a Mosque, and one can identify a Mosque by its minaret. Minarets are of different heights, some are two storied and some three or more. Most minarets have a balcony just under the top. In some Mosques the ‘mu’adhdhin’ used to make the call to prayer from the balcony.

(2) The Dome: The round structure on top of a Mosque is called a dome. This form, in particular, indicates that the building might be a Mosque. Though it has become a distinctive feature of a Mosque in certain regions, it is not an essential part of it. There are, nevertheless, Mosques with mausoleums of Muslim saints also. Domes are very useful in hot countries. They keep the inside of the building cool and airy. Perhaps architects thought it useful for transmitting clearer communication to the congregation also because when the ‘Khateeb’ speaks his voice gets amplified through the dome enabling the congregation to hear him clearly. It used to serve, to some extent, as a loudspeaker in this sense.

(3) The Main Prayer Hall: The most important room in a Mosque is its main prayer hall. Since bowing and prostration are essential parts of Muslim worship and prayer, seats are not placed in it. In hot countries mats made from palm leaves are usually used to cover the floor, but in cold countries and in the rich states of the Middle East, it’s halls are fully carpeted. The pattern on the carpet usually has lines running through it to mark the ‘Suff’ or rows in which worshippers stand. Keeping the hall clean and pure is an essential requirement, therefore, entering the prayer hall with shoes on is not permitted.

No picture or statue is allowed in the hall because this goes against the Islāmic concept of God. According to Islām, God does not incarnate and the attribution of any physical shape to Him is a sin. He, alone, is the object of worship. Associating anything with Him is the gravest sin. The Muslim congregation not only shows submission to Allāh but also indicates complete equality among fellow human beings. People belonging to different classes and races stand side by side in a row during prayer. No decoration is made on the walls of the hall. However, there are beautifully written verses from the Qur’ān in some Mosques. In some Mosques there are additional prayer rooms to accommodate more people also. Courtyards of Mosques are used as prayer rooms in hot countries.

(4) The Mihrāb: When entering the prayer hall of a Mosque one faces a wall called the qiblah wall which shows the direction of Makkah. Just in the middle of this wall is an alcove or niche called the ‘Mihrāb’. Originally this referred to a special place in the house for a respectable person to sit in.

Within the Mosque it is the site where the Imām stands to lead the congregational prayer. ‘Mihrābs’ indicate the exact direction for prayer. They are usually decorated beautifully with patterns and calligraphy, however, this is not essential. In some small house-Mosques it may assume the form of a special mark on the wall to indicate direction.

(5) The Minber: The stepped platform to one side of the ‘mihrāb’ is called ‘minber’. This refers to a raised platform used for addressing people. It is similar to the pulpit in a church. The Khateeb stands on one of the steps of the minber to address the congregation on Fridays and on other special occasions.

• Facilities in the Mosque
Facilities provided by Mosques include the following:

(1) Main Prayer Hall: The prayer hall of a Mosque serves as a centre of spiritual activities. The five daily prayers, the Friday congregational prayers and ‘Eid Festival prayers are conducted there. It also accommodates Qur’ānic study circles and special religious meetings. The hall is a peaceful place for individual prayer and supplication also.

(2) Madrasah (Islāmic Evening School): The evening school is an important institution which caters to the younger generation. Muslim children going through the British system of education tend to lose their sense of identity. It is, therefore, essential to provide them with basic information about their own religion and culture. Children at a Mosque evening school learn how to read the Qur’ān, and receive basic information about their religion and culture. Arrangements are also made for Arabic and Urdu language teaching. Religious education is an essential activity of the Mosque in most Muslim countries.

(3) Day Centre for the Elderly: Although the family institution of the Muslim community is strong and caring for others, the Muslim elderly, nevertheless, need special care. Due to language problems and cultural habits such persons face difficulties when placed together with other people. For this reason some Mosques, with the help of the Social Services Department, organize day centres for the elderly. A room with a kitchen is usually also offered to provide services to them. Tea and light refreshments are served daily, while newspapers, magazines, video and television are also available for entertainment. Other special serves are provided on request. This is a special feature of British Mosques. Muslim countries might consider it useful practice.

(4) Library and reading Room: A library and reading room are normally established in Mosques where materials on Islām and Muslim culture are available. Daily newspapers and magazines in Urdu, English, and Arabic are also usually available. Such libraries are developing all the time.

(5) Funeral Facilities: A mortuary is established in some Mosques to provide facilities for keeping dead bodies, and a place for handling and washing the dead. A large hall for funeral prayer adjacent to the mortuary is some times available, otherwise the main prayer hall can be used for this purpose. In Muslim countries special Mosques are built for funeral prayers. These are normally established adjacent to the graveyards.

(6) Social Meetings and Conferences: Some Mosques have a hall other than the main prayer hall which serves as a site for social gatherings and conferences organized by different organizations. Large furnaces for cooking are also provided in some Mosques.

(7) Youth Activities: Some Mosques provide facilities for youth activities, such as indoor games apart from the reading room and library. Youth are encouraged to organize activities there.

The mosque as an institution maintains its partial role. Religious education and spiritual activities like prayer, recitation of the Qur’an and meditation are flourishing. Religious gathering are also taking place, but no social or political activity is related to the Mosque nowadays. In Muslim countries Mosques are mostly used for prayers only. Inspite of all the limitations Mosque has a special place in the lives of the Muslim country.

This is only a summary of the whole report. If you are interested please read the whole report. The full report in PDF can be found here!

Useful reading:

(1) The people at the mosque

(2) London Mosques Projects - Victoria & Albert Museum

(3) List of Mosques in London

Etiquettes for Mosques

Etiquettes for Mosques
Taken from islamicacademy.org
(original source: Islam the Glorious religion, Volume - IV / CHAPTER - 2 / LESSON NO: 15

Q 1: What is mosque?
A. The place which is reserved for offering prayer and "Jama'at" (five times a day) is established there with "Azaan" (call to prayer) and "Iqaamah"(call for the commencement of prayer), is called mosque. A mosque needs no building i.e. if one declares his empty land mosque that becomes mosque. And once a place is declared mosque that will remain mosque for ever (till the Doomsday).

Q 2: What is the excellence of offering prayer in mosque?
A. An "Hadees" to this effect says: the prayer a man offers in mosque with Jama'at is twenty-five times more excellent in degree than that which he offers at home or in market. Another "Hadees" says: going to mosque in the morning and evening (i.e.for Fajr and 'Ishaa prayers) is a sort of "Jehad Fee-Sabee-lillah" (holy crusade in the way of Allah). Yet another "Hadees" says: when someone walks to mosque after having performed ablution well (for congregational prayer) each of his steps upgrades his position and obliterates his sins. This is also vindicated by the Holy Qur-aan that a worshipper earns good deeds and reward on each step he takes to a mosque.

Q 3: What are the etiquettes of mosque?
A. The following etiquettes should be observed in mosque:
(1).When entering a mosque say "Salaam" to those present there provided they are not busy in preaching and remembrance of Allah,
(2).offer two Rak'ahs of "Tahi-yatul Masjid" prayer if it is not odious time,
(3). do not raise voice except for remembrance,
(4) do not indulge in worldly talks. Worldly talks in mosque eat up goodnesses as the fire burns wood to ashes,
(5). do not jump over (the necks of) people,
(6). do not quarrel with others for space,
(7)do not encroach upon space causing inconvenience to others,
(8).do not pass in front of worshipper,
(9).do not snap the fingers,
(l0).remember Allah extensively,
(11).do not let even a drop of water fall on the ground of mosque after ablution,
(12).listen to "Takbeer" sitting and stand up on "Haiy-ya 'Alas-Salah". It is "Makrooh" to listen to "Iqaamah" in standing positional,
(13). try utmost to suppress sound on sneeze. Likewise, restrain coughing, belching and yawning. If can not help then suppress the sound,
(14). it is forbidden everywhere to stretch out the legs towards the Qiblahh and stretching them out towards any direction in mosque is opposed to etiquettes,
(15). it is strictly forbidden to run or put heavy steps or to put or drop something like stick, umbrella, hand-fan etc. noisily in mosque.

Q 4: Is it lawful or not to eat and drink in a mosque?
A. It is not lawful to eat, drink or sleep in mosque except - for stranger, traveller or the one who observes"Etikaaf (retirement to mosque for a specified period). So if one intends to eat or sleep in mosque should enter mosque with the intention of "Etikaaf and then do so after having remembered Allah or offered prayer. Intention of Etikaaf: "Bismillahi Dakhaltu wa 'Alaiehi Tawakkaltu wa Nawaietu Sunnatal 'Etikaaf (In the name of Allah, I entered the mosque and relied on Him (Allah) and I intended for Sunnatal Etikaaf). And in the holy month of Ramadaan break the fast outside the sacred precinct of mosque. If there is a space adjacent to mosque for the purpose then do "Iftaar" there, otherwise in mosque after having formed "Niyah" of Etikaaf. However, care should be taken to ensure that floor or mats of the mosque are not polluted.

Q5: Is begging in mosque lawful or not?
A. It is forbidden, nay, "Haraam" (unlawful) to beg in a mosque for oneself and it is also forbidden to give something to the beggar. The Muslim scholars have gone to the extent of saying that if one gives a penny to a beggar in mosque should give seventy pennies in the way of Allah to atone for. However, seeking financial help for other indigent than oneself and collection for any religious work is lawful but is Sunnah provided that no noise is made and worshippers are not disturbed. Similarly, it is commendable and also a practice of Hadrat Moula 'Alee (may Allah be pleased with him) to help an indigent in mosque who does not beg for himself.

Q 6: What injunction is there about coming to mosque with the foul-smelling things?
A. It is "Haraam" to come to mosque after having eaten any foul-smelling thing or with the foul smell emanating from the body or cloths and to offer prayer in such state is forbidden unless it is cleansed. Hubble-bubble and cigarettes (and the ilks i.e. Bidi) addicts and tobacco-chewers must take special care about the foul smell their mouths give off. Likewise, it is "Waajib" (essential) to protect mosques from every foul-smelling and disgusting thing like kerosene oil, (uncooked) garlic, onion etc. Shoes should not be kept in mosque unless cleaned.

Q 7: What about using belongings of a mosque for other purposes?
A. It is not lawful to use anything (irrespective of small and big) of a mosque unnecessarily or for other purposes (than the mosques" own). For example, to take water in a spouted-jug to somewhere or to use its mats or coarse-carpets at home or other place or to use mosque's can and rope for drawing water (from well) or to take water to home from mosque's large earthen jars, tank or geyser or to take fire from mosque's wood-burning stove attached to water-tank for one's home or for fire-bowl of the hubble-bubble.

Q 8: Is offering prayer in neighbouring mosque superior to that of principal mosque of the locality?
A. Offering prayer in a neighbouring mosque even though the worshippers are few therein is superior to offering prayer in "Jaam'a Masjid" (principal mosque of the locality) notwithstanding a large number of worshippers are there.- It is even better to proclaim "Azaan", utter "Iqaamah" and offer prayer in the small (neighbouring) mosque if Jama'at was not established there. However, one can go to other mosque if there is any "Shar'i" defect or shortcoming in Imaam of the neighbouring mosque and offer prayer under the leadership of that Imaam who is religious minded, pious and fulfills prerequisites of Imaamat.

Q 9: Is it lawful to establish second "Jama'at" in a mosque or not?
A. It is lawful but excellent to establish second Jama'at (after the first one was over) with fresh Azaan and Iqaamah in a mosque situated on a thorough-fare where people after people come to the mosque and leave after offering prayer (i.e. worshippers are not residents). Every new group of people can establish Jama'at within the prescribed time if the former was over. This rule is also applicable to those mosques which are situated at or near railway stations and in inns.
As for the mosque of a populated area, it is Makrooh to arrange second Jama'at with fresh Azaan and Iqaamah where an appointed Imaam has established first Jama'at with Azaan and Iqaamah according to the accepted mode of prayer. However, second Jama'at can be established in case the first Jama'at was established either without Azaan or Azaan was not uttered loudly or strangers, travellers (not residents) established their own Jama'at. This Jama'at will not be second Jama'at. Imaam should not lead this prayer from arch but instead should stand either to the right side of the arch or to the left to distinguish it from the first Jama'at already established.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The prayer mat - a direct line to God

The prayer mat - a direct line to God
Taken from The BBC, June 2004
By Dr Fiaz Hussain, Director of "Dawah and Welfare Office", for the UK Islamic Mission

My favourite spiritual place must be the prayer mat. I believe it’s a direct connection between myself and our creator, God Almighty.

When I put the prayer mat down on the floor I have a direct line to talk to God about issues that concern me, problems that I have and my wants and needs as a human being.

All Muslims throughout the world use a prayer mat. Whenever we pray we have this direct line.

Of course this is not exclusive to Muslims, I believe that if anyone wants to talk to God, then God is there and He’s always listening to us and He wants to hear from us.

Indeed, the saying of the Prophet "Peace be upon you" is such that when all other doors are closed in the night, God’s doors are open and they’re open wide, so whatever we want or need, whatever requirement we have God listens and God does provide.

I also believe, as a Muslim, that the earth as a whole is a big prayer mat.

In other words, wherever I am, whether I’m in the Sahara Desert or whether I am amidst the greenery of England, when I want to pray or have a need to pray, I look towards God and simply place my prayer mat on the ground and start praying.

It is an opportunity to thank our Lord; to thank God for everything that He has given me – and for the countless bounties that he’s provided for us all.

There are various designs for a prayer mat, but it’s always rectangular in shape and typically there are pictures of two or three holy places in Islam woven into the fabric: the Mosques in Mecca and in Medina, Saudi Arabia and the Mosque in Jerusalem.

Other designs are geometric, like triangles, squares, circles that beautify the prayer mats.

Having said that, the prayer mat should not distract the person from communicating with God – some are totally plain in black or white.

The prayer mat is used to signify a place of cleanliness. When I pray I need to go through some actions like bowing and prostration so that when I do put my forehead on the ground, it is clean. I am in a state of cleanliness.

As a Muslim, I need to be clean, my body, my clothes, quite clearly where I stand, kneel and where I prostrate, that needs to be clean – because God loves those who are clean.

When you stand on the prayer mat you stand before God Almighty, in the Kingdom of God Almighty and you don’t communicate with anyone except God. A Prayer mat, in fact, signifies to the world that you recognise there is a Creator, that there is a Lord. The designs that are on the prayer mat acknowledge this too.

I place my prayer mat on the ground five times a day – that is a must for an adult, not just because I’m a human being and I have shortcomings but also to thank and be grateful to God Almighty. Praying is a continuous process. We can pray at any time of day – the doors of God are always open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Whenever I need God, God is there. I put my prayer mat down to indicate that I want to talk to God and no one else.

800-year-old key to Islam’s most holy shrine is sold for £9.2million

800-year-old key to Islam’s most holy shrine is sold for £9.2million
Taken from The Times, April 10, 2008

A 12th-century iron key to the Ka’ba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, was sold for £9.2 million at Sotheby’s in London yesterday.

Its existence was previously unknown and prompted a bidding battle that took the price to more than 18 times the £400,000-£500,000 estimate in an auction of Islamic art, whose 405 lots sold for a total of £21.5 million.

The key, which is 37cms (15in) long, was formerly in a private collection in the Lebanon and dated from 1179-1180.

It was bought anonymously and is the second-earliest of only 58 known examples. Others are in European and Middle Eastern museums.

The key was the ultimate symbol of religious power. It was engraved: “This is what was made for the servant of . . . God during the time of our lord the Iman, son of the Iman al-Muqtadi Abu Ja’far al Mustansir Abu’l-Abbas 575”.

The rarity was the highlight of a week of Islamic sales in London. Christie’s also took £11.8 million in an auction on Tuesday. A leaf from a 7th-century copy of the Koran on vellum, probably from Medina, took £2.4 million against an estimate of £100,000-£150,000, setting a new world auction record for any Islamic manuscript. Click here for more info.

Useful reading (within this blog):

(1) Auctioned Kaaba key may have been stolen, says keeper - Arabianbusiness

(2) Record price for 13th-century Quran (within this blog)

(3) The Kaba: Its Size and History (within this blog)