There is no hard and fast rule to follow while visiting mosques, except for the fact that while doing so, we must cherish good intention, proceed to the mosque while in a state of purification, and consider our stay in the mosque as an act of worship.
Having said this, however, there are certain things that are highly recommended for us to do while visiting mosques. We may not be able to individually observe all of them, but we can all try:
- Purification: be in a state of purification both mental and physical.
- Appearance: attire yourself appropriately, look good yet modest. Apply a pleasant scent if possible, smile and be nice to others.
- Going to the Mosque: we cite what Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states in his well-known book Fiqh Us-Sunnah:
It is preferred for one to walk to the mosque with calmness and dignity and not be in a hurry. This is because the person is considered to be in prayer when he is going to perform the Prayer (and also while he is waiting for it). Abu Qatadah says: “We were praying with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when we heard the clamoring of some men. When they had prayed, the Prophet inquired: “What was the matter with you?” They answered: “We were hurrying for the Prayer.” He said: “Do not do that… when you come to the Prayer come in peace and calmness, and pray what you can with the congregation and complete what you have missed.”” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When you hear the Iqamah [The call for immediate prayer], proceed to the prayer with calmness and dignity and do not rush. Pray what you can (with the congregation) and complete what you miss.”(Reported by the group except At-Tirmidhi)
- Upon entering the Mosque, place the right foot first and think about a prayer along the lines of: O’ Allah, open your doors of mercy for me. (Bismillah, Allahumma Iftah Li Abwaba rahmatik)
- Keeping a Low Voice: We should avoid doing anything in the mosque that may interrupt the worshipers’ devotion and submission to God. Hence, it is not permissible to raise one’s voice in such a way that it disturbs others’ prayers even if it is not prayer time yet. Doing so does not befit the atmosphere of tranquility that should be in the house of God, which the worshiper comes to seek perhaps from a long walk or drive. We cite what Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states in his well-known book Fiqh Us-Sunnah:
It is forbidden to raise one’s voice in such a way that it disturbs others’ prayers, even if it is done while reciting the Qur’an. Teaching or imparting knowledge (to others) is exempt from this prohibition.
Ibn `Umar relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) entered upon some people while they were praying and they were raising their voices in the Qur’anic recital. The Prophet said, “One who is praying is in a private conversation with his Lord so he should be mindful of whom he is conversing with. And you should not raise your voices against each other in [the recital of] the Qur’an” (Ahmad).
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri reports that the Prophet was making seclusion (i`tikaf) in the mosque and he heard the people reciting aloud. He removed the covering and said, “Verily, each of you is in a private conversation with his Lord so you should not disturb each other. And you are not to raise your voices against each other in the recitation” (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, Al-Bayhaqi, and Al-Hakim).
- Cell Phones: Please turn them off or set them to silent mode. If you need to make or answer a call, please quietly leave the prayer hall onto the social hall or outdoor.
- Parent-Children Responsibility: Younger children find it pleasant and fun to run around and explore the mosque and the worshipers. That is a beautiful and innocent thing. It’s important to make their stay in the mosque as memorable as possible. However, if it becomes a disruption and along the previous etiquette, it is very important that the parents stay in charge of their children when coming to the mosque. This will avoid unneeded accidents and disrupting prayers. Above all, this will teach the older children to respect our mosques. Someone had suggested that parents who must bring their younger children to the mosque consider taking turns to watch, bound and quietly entertain the children in a secluded area while prayers are being performed, especially the Tarawih in Ramadan. If you have another suggestion please feel free to comment on this page.
- Shoes: We should calmly take off and place our shoes in the racks by the entrance of the mosque. We should put them back on and be gentle and patient if there is traffic at the exit.
- Keeping the mosque tidy: It is important for everybody to keep the mosque clean and organized. It is required that when you use a book to return it on the shelves. There is no food allowed in the praying area, large tables and trash cans are conveniently set up in the social hall near the kitchen. The ablution area and bathrooms must be kept clean after usage. Finally, it is imperative to keep the parking lot and garden clean as well.
- Neighbors: It is a responsibility for every Muslim to respect the neighbors and be kind to them. Please refrain from disturbing them in any circumstances. When leaving the mosque please avoid long and loud talks outside the mosque and at the parking lot, especially after the Fajr prayer. If you need to talk use the indoor space of the mosque, preferably the social hall downstairs.
- If you are curious or in doubt about something ask the Imam, the leader of prayer, a teacher, a member, a worshiper or leave your question as a comment on this page.
- If you would like to contribute to this page please leave a comment below.