Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
What do I do as an introvert who does not like going to the Mosque for prayer?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Being an introvert (or an extrovert) is an inherent quality that Allah Most High has given you as a natural disposition. It is neither a good quality nor a bad one.
However, these dispositions/personalities that Allah Most High has created us with are extensions of our tests in this world. Because of them, some aspects of religion are easier and some more difficult.
The Tests of Introversion
Introversion can be very helpful in one’s practice of the religion. One is safe from many sins and blameworthy traits that come from excessive socializing, such as ostentation, backbiting, and the ills of keeping bad company.
However, there is a level of socializing that is needed and/or encouraged in the religion. It is to this level; the introvert will be challenged to meet. Let’s look at what that level is.
Rulings of Socializing
It is an obligation to socialize to the extent that one can fulfill the rights of Allah Most High and the creation who have rights over him if and when such rights cannot be fulfilled without socializing.
This is due to the maxim: the ends has the ruling of the means (that is, if the means are permissible). [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Nazair]
The Rights of Allah Most High
It is the right of Allah Most High that He be obeyed. If one does not have the knowledge by which they can obey Allah Most High in every situation they encounter, they are obliged to seek that knowledge. This may entail attending classes at the Mosque or seeking out a teacher.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.” [Ibn Majah; Tabarani]
For this reason, Imam al-Ghazali (May Allah have mercy on him) states, “Seclusion is not befitting for anyone but the scholar.” [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]
Amongst these rights is praying in congregation and sometimes in the Mosque.
Praying in the Mosque and Congregational Prayers
The Jumu’a prayer is obligatory on every sane adult male Muslim; likewise, the ‘Eid prayers are necessary on them. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]
Prayer in congregation, in general, is an emphasized sunna that is akin to a necessary action (wajib) due to the strength of the Prophet’s emphasis. [Ibid.]
Constant abandonment of prayer in a congregation without an Islamically recognized excuse is sinful. Note that a congregation can be perform in the home as well if there is at least one person with the Imam. [Ibid.]
The Jumu’a prayer is obligatory on every sane adult male Muslim; likewise, the ‘Eid prayers are necessary on them. [Ibid.]
The rights of creation
It is also obligatory for one to fulfill the rights of others. Thus, the rights of one’s parents, direct relatives (dhu rahim), neighbors, fellow Muslims, etc… may necessitate a level of socializing.
The Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Five things are from the rights of a Muslim over another Muslim: returning their greetings (of salaam), accepting their invitations, attending their funerals, visiting them when sick, and replying to the one who says al-hamdu lillah after sneezing.” [Ahmad]
The above are some examples in which a level of socializing is either recommended, necessary, or even obligatory.
Navigating the Mosque
You mentioned that you like attending the Mosque, but due to your introversion and some not-so-nice experiences (as you put it), you do not like to go.
It seems like attending the prayers in the Mosque, and a small amount of socializing with the community are not outside the scope of your capabilities, even though it may not be easy for you.
If you can handle or strive to handle this extent of socializing, it may prove very beneficial for you. The goal being to attain the pleasure of Allah Most High and gaining the rewards and blessings of the Mosque; another goal is also to raise your introversion to a level of moderation.
Bad Experiences in the Mosque
That said, the biggest obstacle seems to be your past bad experiences with various groups and individuals in the community. This is an issue that many face, both introvert and extrovert alike, even some non-muslim’s have been turned away from Islam due to a bad experience in the Mosque.
These bad experiences can go back to a multitude of reasons: cultural differences, judgmental people, groups and cliques that are exclusionary, differences in personality, etc…
For the above reasons, try to find a mosque community in your area (even if not the closest Mosque) that you feel comfortable in and occasionally try to attend a gathering or class.
Your natural state of introversion is the way Allah Most High created you. It may have been exacerbated by some bad experiences. Strive to attend the mosques to the extent that you can fulfill your religious obligations, such as Jumu’a. Thereafter, seek out a community that you feel comfortable in, and slowly try to attend some beneficial gatherings.
Pray to Allah Most High to allow you to utilize and navigate this God-given personality in a way that is pleasing to Him and most beneficial for you and others in this life and the next.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani