18 Bad Manners in Mosque

The mosque is the house of Allah. The Mosque is the place where the Muslims come to engage in the remembrance of Allah. They engage in His remembrance through worshiping Him, through glorifying His names, through beseeching His mercy and help, through reciting His book, and through participating in talks which reminds people about the purpose of this worldly life. About His house, Allah said in the Quran:

And [He revealed] that the mosques are for Allah , so do not invoke with Allah anyone. [The Noble Quran 72:18]

Just as we observe some etiquette when we are being hosted in someone’s house, we should also observe some etiquette when Allah blesses us with the honor to be hosted in His house.

Alhamdulillah, I have been praying in the mosques of Qatar for years. The mosques in Qatar are wonderful, and are very well maintained by the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs. However, the life of a mosque is its worshipers. A mosque thrives on them. That is why behaving in a proper way is very important when we are in the mosque. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes. We make mistakes even when we are in the house of Allah. We fail to maintain the proper adabs (manners) inside the mosque.  I have in this article listed eighteen such bad manners that I have observed taking place inside the mosques of Qatar. I am writing this article neither to vent my anger nor to bash my fellow Muslims. To be honest, we sometimes need to reflect our own manners to rectify the flaws that goes unnoticed. This article is a self-reflection piece, and I pray to Allah that He will make it useful for the Muslims so that we can work together to overcome the shortcomings mentioned in this article.

Here we go:

01.  Arriving right before the iqamah and start saying two units of sunnah prayers standing right in front of the microphone, which is used by the muezzin to give adhan and iqamah. The time for congregation prayer commences, and all the worshippers wait for the congregation to start, yet the muezzin can’t give iqamah as the microphone is being blocked.

Whenever you offer two units of sunnah prayer before the commencement of congregation, kindly make sure you do not stand in the line of muezzin’s microphone.

02.  Asking two adjacent worshippers standing in the front row, when the imam is about to say the takbeer tahreemah and the front row is full to the capacity, to make some room for you so that you can squeeze in and pray in the front row. Such squeezing in causes the first row to be unnecessarily congested, which consequently decreases the khushoo of the worshippers as they cannot complete the acts of salah comfortably. The reward is the greatest for the front row, but that should not make you forget that the proper way of booking a place in the front row is coming early.  If you can’t manage to come early, be content with a place wherever you find in the mosque.

03.  Rushing to the exit door of the mosque soon after the imam says, “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”. This is a highly inappropriate behavior for two reasons. First, although not a must, it is highly recommended that we recite the prescribed adhkars after our completion of salah, or at least say, “astagfirullah”, which means “forgive me Allah” three times. Because no matter how much we try, there will always be shortcomings in our worship, and even if our worship is of excellent quality, it would still be nothing compared to what the greatness of Allah deserves. Thus we quickly ask Allah to forgive us after salah. Doesn’t the failure to have the patience to recite these adhkars indicate that we have done enough for Allah? Second, rushing to the exit door right after salah requires trampling over the shoulders of other worshipers. Common sense is enough to understand that such action is blatantly indecent. But unfortunately, common sense is very uncommon.

04.  Arriving late for jumuah, you scan the whole mosque from the door of the mosque to find a little room somewhere, and then reach that place maneuvering about twenty packed rows and trampling over the shoulders of attentive khutbah listeners.  As it has been mentioned already, such process of finding a place to sit is simply not courteous. Can we simply not rise little early on Fridays for the sake of Allah?

05.  Talking or fidgeting when the imam is delivering the khutbah. Listening to the khubtah is an obligation. When a khutbah is being delivered, if the audience does not listen to it, or actively engages in action that shows inattentiveness, it shows disrespect to the imam. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s greetings and peace be upon him) said: “If you say to your companion, ‘Listen attentively’ on a Friday, when the imam is delivering the khutbah, then you have engaged in idle speech.”

06.  Not being moderate when using the resources of mosque like water and tissue papers. Since we are accountable to Allah for each of our actions, a golden rule that I always remind myself and others to be on the safe side when using public property is “use less than what you would have used of same material if you had to carry out the cost.”

A sticker urging people to be moderate when using water.

07.  Lengthening the garment (thoub, jeans, trouser or whatever) to such an extent that it causes inconvenience when it comes to straightening the row and shortening the gap between worshippers. Straightening the row becomes difficult because the lengthened garment conceals the feet, whereas shortening the gap becomes a problem because the lengthened garment partially drapes the feet of the adjacent worshippers and cause annoying friction. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s greetings and peace be upon him) said, “Whatever part of the lower garment hangs below the ankles is in the Fire.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh)

08.  Standing to say the sunnah prayer, usually after the congregation, in a place that you block other worshippers from exiting the mosque.  Since Muslims are not allowed to walk in front a person who is in salah, think for a while before you choose your place to say your sunnah prayer. If you have to select an inconvenient place anyway, make sure you place a sutrah (an item of a cubit height that is placed in front of a praying person as a screen) in front of you.

Use common sense when you choose a place to pray in the mosque.

09.  Carelessly walking in front of the worshippers who are in salah, and who do not have sutrah in front of them. It mostly happens after the conclusion of the jumuah salah. People often fail to show patience of few additional minutes to allow their fellow worshippers finish their salah, and because of their impatience, they often end up walking in front of the worshippers who are still in salah in their way of finding the exit door. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s greetings and peace be upon him) said, “If the one who passes in front of one who is praying knew what (sin) he incurs, he would realize that waiting for forty is better than passing in front of him.”  Abu’l-Nadr, one of the narrator of the hadeeth, said, “I do not know whether he said forty days, or months, or years.”

10.  Saying tasbeeh of the bowing and prostration so loudly that your nearby worshippers get confused about the count of their own tasbeeh.

11.  Incoming call alerts in mobile phones inside the mosque. It happened many times that a cell phone suddenly started playing Hindi or English music while the imam was reciting the words of Allah. Sometimes the call alerts play adhans of some renowned muezzins and the worshippers get confused if it is the real adhan of the mosque they are attending. Sometimes people even show the audacity to answer their phone calls inside mosque. All such activities violate sanctity of the house of Allah, and disturb its tranquility.

People take little to no care of these signs.
Mobile phone being used inside mosque.

12. Indulging in idle talk with your buddy in the mosque, and that too in a voice that echoes the whole mosque. Engaging in any talk that is not concerned with the remembrance of Allah is strictly not allowed in the mosque. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s greetings and peace be upon him) said, “There will come a nation before the times, their talk in their mosque will be of the dunya; Allah has nothing to do with such people.” (Sahih Ibn Habban 15/163) In a similar narration, the Blessed Prophet said, “Do not sit with them for Allah has nothing to do with them.” (Shu’abul Iman 3/87, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 7/198, Al- Wara’ Li Ibn Hanbal 1/59 (mursal narration)

13.  Bringing children in the mosque without preparing them about how they should behave in the mosque. Children should never be discouraged from attending mosques. However, parents have some great responsibilities in this regard. Make sure that you tell your children to refrain from talking or indulging in any idle activities with his/her peers so that they do not disturb the worshippers. Make sure that they are in the state of purity before they enter the mosque. Always chaperon your children in the mosque until they are mature enough to behave responsibly.

14.  Wearing jeans such a way that the awrah gets uncovered during prostration. It is actually very common now-a-days. Many young people now-a-days wear their trousers way below of their naval line, and thus when they bow or prostrate, they start pulling their t-shirts to cover their back. But their attempt goes in vain because their t-shirt is neither lengthy nor elastic.  Alas! Let alone covering our awrah before people, we have lost our decency to cover them before our Lord, when we are worshipping Him.

15.  Doodling in the carpet. This takes place when the imam is delivering jumuah khutbah.

Tick tac toe being played in mosque carpet.
A random doodle.

16.  Coming to the mosque in not so clean clothes, or coming with a bad breath. Siwak was extremely dear to the Messenger to of Allah because he used to be very careful about his breathe. He said, “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwak at every time of prayer.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/299 and Muslim, 1/151).  He also greatly encouraged Muslims to put on their best dress when they come to mosque and prepare to stand before Allah. If we can dress for people, then shouldn’t we also dress for our Lord? At the same time, a Muslim should always remain neat and clean, and wear clean clothes so that he or she does not become the cause of inconvenience to another person.

17.  Burping. Happens mostly during taraweeh prayers, especially from those who come to pray after helping themselves with a heavy iftaar. There is a reason why the Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s greetings and peace be upon him) emphasized so much on filling only one third of the stomach with food. Among the many benefits of eating less is causes less burping. During Ramadan, it becomes extra important that we take a light iftar, so that we do not burp and annoy other worshipers.

18.  Giving correction even when you are unsure. Correcting the recitation of an imam is a skill. To correct, you not only need to have a good command over the Quran, but you also need to be familiar with the rhythm, the speed, and the style of the recitation of the imam who is leading the prayer. Out of excitement, especially during Ramadan taraweeh, people give wrong corrections to imam, which confuses him even more. Sometimes two or three people start giving correction together, and the imam faces hard time picking the verse. Remember this three golden rules if you want to give correction to an imam:

a.     Allow sufficient time to imam to see if he can remember the verse himself.

b.     If he can’t, only give correction if no one else is giving it, so that the imam does not get confused from multiple voices.

c.     Give correction only if you are 100% confident, and you are familiar with the style of your imam’s recitation.

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