In the current climate of COVID-19, most masjids across the world are closed with no prayers. This got me thinking, what are the rights of the masjid? If they are not fulfilled, are we sinful?
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for contacting Mathabah with your question.
In response to your question, please note that the below-mentioned are some general ‘rights of the masājid (mosques)’ in Islam.
- Masjids should be easily accessible to all. – (Musnad Aḥmad)
- Wear respectable apparel to the masjid. – (Qurʾān 7:31)
- Greet upon entering the masjid with salām, even if empty. – (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubīy)
- Perform two units of prayer upon entry. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)
- Populate the masjid. – (Qurʾān 9:18)
- Hold congregational prayers at the masjid. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)
- Masjid should be a place for assembly and congregation. – (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubīy)
- Remember God in the masjid. – (Qurʾān: 24:36)
- Recitation of the Qurʾān should take place in the masjid. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
- The masjid is a place of learning and teaching. – (Ibn Mājah)
- Iʾitikāf should be performed in the masjid. – (Qurʾān 9:18)
- Believers should maintain and take care of the masjid. – (Musnad Aḥmad)
- No personal business and trade are allowed in the masjid. – (Sunan Abū Dāwūd)
- No unsheathed or drawn weapons are permitted in the masjid. – (Musnad Aḥmad)
- Announcements to look for personal lost items in the masjid are forbidden. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
- Voices should not be raised in the masjid. – (Muʾaṭṭā)
- No worldly talk is permitted in the masjid. – (Ṭabrānīy)
- Stepping over seated congregants to move in the front is forbidden. – (Sunan Abū Dāwūd)
- Blocking one another in rows of prayers is forbidden. – (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubīy)
- Fighting and arguing is impermissible in the masjid. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)
- Walking across in front of praying worshippers is prohibited. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)
- Spitting or blowing the nose on to the ground of the masjid is forbidden. – (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)
- Cracking fingers in the masjid is inappropriate. – (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubīy)
- Fidgeting with one’s body during prayers in the masjid is prohibited. – (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubīy)
- The masjid must be kept free from impurities, noisy disruptive children and the insane. – (Ṭabrānīy)
- Intercourse is forbidden in the masjid. – (Qurʾān 9:18)
Muslims in every community must uphold the above rights of their local masjids.
In a situation, such as the current COVID-19 coronavirus, where international Islamic scholars along with medical experts have instructed social distancing to curb, reduce and eliminate the spread of this disastrous virus, masājid have temporarily closed their doors. The bigger picture is to save human lives. During this phase, it is not possible to fulfill some of the rights. The intent in these circumstances, is not to permanently forgo the rights or intentionally violate them in opposition to God. Therefore, muslims will not be sinful. However, once the crisis is over, muslims must resume their due diligence in fulfilling their duty related to the masājid.
“The most beloved places by God, are the masājid.” – (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
“The masjid is a home for every righteous person.” – (Al-Ḥilyah)
“Be dutiful to the Almighty as much as possible.” (Qurʿān: 64:16)
“When I instruct you to any ritual act, execute it to the best of your ability.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
“Perform prayer standing, if you are unable, then sitting, if you are unable then on your side.” (Bukhārī, Nasaʾī)
And Allāh Knows Best