بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Allah Ta’ala says:
“And who is crueller than the person who blocks the Zikr and Ibaadat of Allah in Allah’s Masaajid and strives to ruin and make desolate the Masaajid? It does not behove such people but to enter the Masaajid with fear and awe. For them there is disgrace in this world and a severe punishment in the Aakhirat.” (Surah Baqarah, 114)
Although there is some difference in regard to the cause of the Revelation of this Aayat, but it is commonly agreed that the Aayat is general in purport and covers the ruin of the Masaajid at the hands of Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
“They should not enter but with fear and awe” is proof of the preceding statement. The gist of this is that they should enter the Masaajid with humbleness and calmness instead of preventing others who are Zaakireen and Mukhliseen (those who make the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala and are sincere) from entering, as such obstruction is loud testimony to their brazenness. Thus, such a person is an indelible oppressor.
Although the wording of the Aayat is restrictive in that it speaks of non-Muslim’ interference and obstruction, the condemnation covers Muslims in another way, however. This is due to the condemnation being judged on the basis of “striving to ruin the Masaajid”. ‘Ruin’ of the Masaajid is in contrast to ‘inhabiting’ the Masaajid, and ‘inhabiting’ the Masaajid is by virtue of Zikr and Salaat. Thus, ruin of the Masaajid is on account of anything nugatory of Zikr and Salaat and hence if any act militating against Zikr and Salaat is committed by a Muslim, he (the Muslim) will come within the glare of this censure.
When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) saw a dream in Madinah of a journey for Umrah – the dreams of the Ambiya are true – he mentioned this dream to the Sahaabah. Although the dream did not specify the year of Umrah, but out of sheer eagerness the Sahaabah expressed their desire to make preparations for the journey. Rasoolullah’s (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) soft-nature induced him to accept this proposal. The kuffaar of Makkah prevented him from entering Makkah Mukarramah, however. Declaring this blockade to be ruining the Masjid, Allah Ta’ala passed judgement over them as “striving to ruin the Masaajid.” The reason for this was simply that they prevented Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and the Sahaabah who were Zaakireen and Mukhliseen from entering Masjidul Haraam.
It is thus established that any action in the Masjid which obstructs the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala, be it a causative factor, comes within the glare of “preventing (others) from the Masaajid of Allah and striving to ruin the Masaajid.” The kuffaar of Makkah did not put lock and key to the Masjid. They did not desecrate the Masjid or break its structure. And it is obvious that to speak worldly things or do mundane acts in the Masjid is neither Zikr nor related to Zikr. Therefore, without doubt these are sinful and zulm.
The Aayat negating the Mushrikeen inhabiting the Masaajid is proof that inhabiting the Masjid is by virtue of Zikr and Salaat. The Aayat conveys that the Mushrikeen are not fit to occupy the Masaajid in view of them being bereft of the medium of its occupation which medium is mentioned in the following Aayat. And that occupation is Zikrullah which is expressed in this Aayat:
“Only those inhabit the Masaajid of Allah who believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish Salaat, discharge Zakaat and fear only Allah.” (Surah Taubah, 18)
The Purpose of the Masaajid
In this Aayat the actual purpose is the mention of ‘establishing Salaat’ for which purpose the Masjid serves. For this, the condition of Imaan is mentioned whilst ‘giving Zakaat’ is the completion of this whole. In other words, establishing Salaat which refers to fulfilling all the Rights of Salaat is dependent on sincerity and love. One sign of this sincerity and love for Salaat is spending in the Path of Allah. In short, mere verbal Zikr, as is found in Salaat is not proof of sincerity. In fact one has to spend in charitable works as well. Only one who has sincerity in his heart will give Zakaat, for there is no agency which forcibly takes Zakaat.
Another proof that the purpose of the Masjid is Zikr, is this Aayat:
“They (those on Hidaayat) go to such places (the Masaajid) in respect of which Allah has authorized these places’ honour and His Name to be taken therein…” (Surah Noor, 36)
Third Proof is the Hadeeth:
“The Masaajid have been constructed solely for the Zikr of Allah.”
Thus anything which is unrelated to Zikr is ruin of the Masjid and forbidden. In fact, the Fuqaha have even written that an Ustaad who takes a wage should not teach in the Masjid. Earning a wage is seeking a livelihood which is a mundane activity and hence forbidden in the Masjid. Yes, the teaching of Deeniyyaat in the Masjid for one who does not take a wage is permissible.
The fourth proof is that among the signs of Qiyaamah, this is mentioned in the Hadeeth: “Their Masaajid will be populated, but ruined.”
Being ‘populated’ and ‘ruined’ at the same time is by the outward structure being beautiful and adorned and the congregation large, but there will be lack of Khuloos and Zikr (Sincerity and the Remembrance of Allah Ta’ala).
The fifth proof is that people asked Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) what the worst place was and what the best place was. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied that he did not know. He asked Jibreel (Alaihis Salaam). He also answered that he did not know, but will ask Allah Ta’ala. He went and asked. Through the barkat of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) Jibreel (Alaihis Salaam) gained so much closeness to Allah Ta’ala that he says: “I never came so close then that occasion; there were only seventy thousand veils between myself and Allah Ta’ala.”
In short, Allah Ta’ala answered that the worst place is the bazaar (malls/shopping area) and the best place is the Masjid. We should ponder over the difference between the two. The difference is zikrud dunya and Zikrullah. The bazaar is a place of talk related to the world whilst the Masjid is a place of Remembrance of the Aakhirah. Thus, the purpose of the Masjid is to remember Allah. Speaking worldly matters in the Masjid is to turn it into the worst place and that is its ruin.
Take Lesson and Reflect
Here those persons who, in spite of not knowing Masaail, brazenly answer questions should take lesson from Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and Jibreel (Alaihis Salaam) saying, “Laa adri” – I do not know.
It is also worthy of reflecting over Hazrat Jibreel (Alaihis Salaam) judging seventy thousand veils to be exceptional closeness. Thus, those who engage in a little Zikr and Shaghl(spiritual exercises) and then expect to see the vision of Allah Ta’ala are indeed in grave error. Do they clamour for greater Qurb (closeness) than Jibreel (Alaihis Salaam)?
Mundane Talk and Affairs in the Masjid
So, it is proven from the Hadeeth just mentioned that it is despicable to speak matters related to the world in the Masjid. Some people slander the Sahaabah by saying that they (the Sahaabah) would also sit and speak like us in the Masjid. This is naked slander. If the Sahaabah Kiraam did not carry out the instructions of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) then who else is there to carry out the Nabi’s instructions? Speaking mundane affairs in the Masjid is a zulm in itself; on top of that a greater zulm is committed by accusing the Sahaabah of speaking such things in the Masjid! Instead of making taubah from such evil talk, they accuse the Akhyaar (most noble) of the Ummah of what they themselves (those who seek to justify their haraam talk in the Masjid) are involved in.
Once, I really appreciated something from a friend of mine who happens to be my student as well. I was in the Masjid. I exchanged a note with someone for small change. This friend immediately said: “This is a bai’ (monetary transaction) which is forbidden in the Masjid.” This is the way of the Ahl-e-Haq. They caution their elders as well, but with due respect.
Inculcate This State When Going to the Masjid
The essence of this discussion is that when going to the Masjid your attitude should be like when going to the law court. Your mind should be present and your body in full composure. Your condition should be as portrayed in this couplet:
Don’t be inattentive of the King’s presence for even a moment
Perhaps He casts His glance of Rahmat on you, but you are negligent
Such a state should be all the time, otherwise at least when going to the Masjid.
(Aadaabul Masaajid of Hazrat Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaih)