Jumuah khutbah delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 25 August 2016 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
The 21 August 2016 is regarded as the International Day of Masaajid (Mosques).
This day is dedicated to the Masjid, as many years ago on the 21st August, the Zionists attacked Masjidul Aqsa in Jerusalem and this evil entity burnt down the Masjid in the process.
This resulted in marches and protests across the world against this crime committed against one of the most Holy sites of Islam.
IMPORTANCE OF INSTITUTION OF MASJID IN ISLAM
The Masjid itself is a very important institution in Islam and there is no doubt about it.
In the Quran itself, “Masjid” has been mentioned 28 times, 22 times in its singular form and 6 times in its plural form.
On 15 occasions when the word “Masjid” is mentioned in the Quran, it refers to Masjidul Haraam which incorporates the Holy Ka’ba and the Masjid around the Ka’ba in Makkatul Mukarramah.
On 1 occasion it refers to Masjidul Aqsa.
On 1 occasion it refers to “Masjidun Diraar” which was the mosque built by the hypocrites in Madina.
Then sometimes, without particular mentioning, the word Masjid refers to Majidul Quba or the first Mosque built by Prophet Muhammad (sawa) in the history of Islam.
The remaining verses speak about Masaajid in a general sense.
The purpose of presenting these statistics is to assist the reader to comprehend the importance of the Institution of “Masjid” in Islam.
ESSENTIAL MATTERS RELATING TO MASJID
The Quran does not only refer to the importance of Masjid but also its purpose being:
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
“And verily the Masajid (places of worship) are solely reserved for Allah, so then do not call upon anyone (anything) else with Allah.” (Surah Jinn Verse 18)
Furthermore, the foundation relating to the purpose of establishing a mosque is also extremely important.
Thus in comparison to Masjidun Diraar, Almighty Allah asks us a rhetorical question regarding what the foundation should be during the establishment of a mosque.
Surah Taubah Verse 108 and 109 say:
“لَمَسْجِدٌ اُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَى مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِيهِ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُوا وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَى تَقْوَى مِنَ اللّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَم مَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَى شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ
”Certainly a mosque founded on piety from the first day is worthier that you stand in it (for prayer). Therein are men who love to purify themselves, and Allah loves the purified ones.
Is he, therefore, better who has laid his foundation on fear of Allah and (His) good pleasure, or he who has laid his foundation on the brink of a crumbling hollowed bank that tumbles with him into the Fire of Hell?”
And then the Quran also refers to the Etiquette that should be observed when going to the mosque. This includes looking your best and being clean.
Thus Surah al-A’raf Verse 31 says:
يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ
” “O’ children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every Masjid
It is part of human civilization that they always dedicated a place for worship to communicate with their Lord. This might have been in the form or a Church, Temple, Synagogue, etc. and Quran even refers to these places as “Houses dedicated for the remembrance of Allah.” (Surah Hajj)
The Quran even speaks directly and indirectly regarding our role towards Masaajid. The above mentioned verse thus indicates that were it not for Islam then these “Houses of worship” would not have even existed anymore.
The above analysis is from a Quran perspective. When one examines the Ahadith, then there are a plethora of narrations available in relation to the Masjid.
These ahadith cover subjects like the importance of building Masaajid, maintaining them, etc.
And individuals are encouraged to “claim their share” of such establishments.
One narration thus states:
“When someone builds a mosque (or even contributes one brick), Allah builds for him a house in Paradise”.
In another narration it states:
“Whoever provides light in a Mosque, the Angels seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah for that person for as long as the light is burning”.
In those days the major material needed for a Mosque was probably to provide light for it. But these days it requires much more facilities than that!
Thus the spirit of this narration is to understand that it refers to anyone who makes any necessary contribution for the maintenance of a Masjid.
The Institution of Masjid is so important such that we find a complete chapter in our Fiq books called Fiqul Masjid.
This chapter covers special laws directly related to the Mosque.
For example women cannot enter the mosque when they are in a state of menstruation.
Similarly for men and women combined they cannot enter the mosque when in a state of major impurity until they have become purified through ghusl.
Similarly if anyone causes a part of the mosque to become impure, then it’s compulsory for that person to clean it and it’s haraam to leave it in that state. This includes the case when your child causes a part of the mosque to become impure then the obligation is on the parent to purify it.
All of this information is simply to demonstrate the status of the Masjid in Islam.
In a fatwa, one of our maraaji was asked regarding a particular old carpet inside the mosque that was not used and for which there was no use any longer regarding whether it could be sold and the proceeds then used for the mosque. His reply was no it cannot be done.
This shows how sensitive the Shariah is towards the property of the Masjid.
If someone built a mosque inside his private property, then he cannot sell the property unless he separates the remaining property from the portion that he intended to be the Masjid.
ROLE OF MASJID IN LIFE OF UMMAH
More than all of the above one concludes on one reality and that is that the Masjid should play a CENTRAL role in the life of the Ummah.
This should be individually and communally. Both are very important.
A PLACE OF COMMUNICATION WITH ALLAH
The role of the Masjid is that it is a facility wherein you are able to communicate with your Lord and establish your relationship with Allah.
Someone may argue that to establish this relationship with Allah you do not need a special place for this purpose. One could do this anywhere.
Of course this is true and one should always be in a state of Remembrance of Allah.
But at the same time the Shariah teaches us that the place itself has a role.
While Table Mountain and Mount Safa and Marwah are both mountains and creation of Allah which reminds us of Allah, however Table Mountain is not “sha’aairillah” like Safa and Marwah are.
Almighty Allah says in Surah Baqarah Verse 158:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللّهِ
“Behold Safa and Marwah are among the signs/symbols of Allah”
So there is a difference when a place is dedicated to Allah and a whole history is affiliated to that place.
People often ask us why we perform sajda on a clay tablet made from the soil of Karbala.
Of course we believe that sajda must be performed on earth or what grows from the earth. But we prefer the dust of Karbala due to the history attached to it in that it’s connected to a unique sajda that will never be repeated again in history.
That was the sajda of Hussain ibn Ali which was a sajda of “ishk” or deep love and the climax of devotion to Allah. So we connect ourselves through that dust of Karbala to Allah.
There’s a difference!
So when we say Masjid is a better place for the remembrance of Allah it is due to that place being dedicated and for which a niyyah or intention of dedication for the remembrance of Allah has been made.
Thus your bedroom and the Masjid can never be the same! That environment of spirituality in the Masjid is something else.
A PLACE OF GATHERING OF BELIEVERS
But the role of the Masjid is also that it’s a place of gathering wherein Believers are brought together.
And I am not just referring to the social/political impact that this has but also the spiritual impact of gathering in the Masjid.
Connecting to Allah in the form of jama’ah is very different from doing so individually.
The possibility of acceptance of your worship communally is much more than when it is performed individually.
Ayatullah Taqdiri (r.a) used to have a wonderful saying in this regard.
He used to say that when you go shopping there’s 2 ways of buying. A seller might offer you apples at R20 per kilogram and then you select all the best apples.
But if the buyer suggests to buy all the apples then the shop owner will offer you a special price with a condition that you must take everything….the good apples and the possible rotten ones underneath!
So Ayatullah Taqdiri used to compare this to performing our worship communally wherein the good and bad apples among us are jointly accepted in the court of Allah!
A SYMBOL OF ISLAM
Masjid is also a symbol and flag of Islam and it’s presence.
If you travel to a city that you are unfamiliar with and come across a mosque, then you immediately assume that Muslims also live in that city.
So if Masjid is a symbol of Islam, should it look run down and terrible, or should it look decent and dignified??
While we are busy with our Masjid construction, some people ask us why we are spending so much money on this project.
People who unfortunately have no foresight ask these types of questions.
Masjid is a sign of civilization. When you see the detailed art work in it, it’s not empty beautiful artwork! But it’s the artist’s expression of his love for Allah!!
It’s his irfaan or spirituality. He gives his life to engage in extremely delicate work of dedicating his full attention to writing a verse of the Quran on the Masjid in the most beautiful manner.
All of this has the purpose of bringing all of us closer to Almighty Allah.
THE THREE COMPLAINANTS
In conclusion I share with you a hadith that states that on the Day of Judgement there will be three things that will complain. These are:
1. The Quran which will complain that we did not make an effort to read it and understand it to be able to practice it;
2. The Masjid will complain that we deserted it by leaving it empty; and
3. The Ahlul Bait (a.s)
In another narration it also states that an aalim (religious scholar) will complain that he was available to educate people but nobody came to benefit from them.
So the 21st August which reminds us of the burning of Masjidul Aqsa by the Zionists is something to reflect about.
After so many years occupation and injustice, Palestine remains a prime issue for the Ummah.
In Bahrain our brothers are also under the worst oppression.
In Yemen we continue to witness the killing of civilians.
With all that was committed against Yemen, we still see a country united when we saw this week how millions of its citizens gathered in the capital Sana to express their protest against occupation and war of the Saudis. This is completely absent in the news.
In this scenario when they want to divide Yemen into multiple sects, millions took the initiative to take to the streets collectively to say that Yemen is important to all of them.
And the same goes for the aggression by the Indian army against the people of Kashmir and it’s people are still standing for their rights. They display inspirational hope for all of us to appreciate.