Etiquette of attending the Masjid

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, one of Daud (aws) supplications was: "Allahumma Inni As'aluka Hubbak wa Hubba man yuhib-buk, Wal'amal Alladhi yuballighuni hubbak. Allahumma Aj'al hubbaka ahabba ilayya min nafsi wa ah-li wa minal maa' el-barid" - O Allah! I ask You for Your love, the love of those who love you and the deeds which enable me to obtain your love. O Allah! cause Your love to be more beloved to me than myself, my family and the cold water (in thirst). (Tirmidhi)
When we know we have to get ready for a wedding party, we go to so great extents to prepare ourselves... new clothes, new shoes, a new haircut, toiletry to make ourselves look good, a puff of scent and a gift for the happy couple. And as the day comes, we go to the party and we enjoy our time mingling with the other party goers, laughing and talking about things that make us happy and sometimes just silently enjoying the merriment around us. Alhamdulillah, it's a great day to see a part of the Deen being fulfilled and to see so much happiness around us.
But when we go to the Masjid, a house built for the sake of Allah, how do we prepare ourselves? Do we even prepare ourselves? Do we look forward to it with excitement and wonder? And once there, do we follow the etiquettes that the Masjid requires of us and what gift do we take with us for Allah?
The merriment at the wedding party and the happiness that we share with our families and friends will only last us for that moment. But the time we spend for the sake of Allah and the Ibadaah that we perform to please the All Mighty, that will take us into an eternity filled with more than we can even imagine!
So my brothers and sisters, when we know that this Duniya is only a small portion of our life and the Akheera is what we must work for, how can we ignore that which will stay with us forever and not take into more consideration what we do and how we do it?
Attending the Masjid is one such act that we take for granted but we must be careful of so that we can reap the most rewards. Most of us see it as a chore or an event that comes from time to time. We don't see going to the Masjid as a major event and we don't treat the Masjid with respect once we are there.
Allah has promised us rewards simply by making the intention to go to the Masjid. How, then, can we not do the best we can when attending the Masjid?
At this point, you must be thinking that you are in deep trouble and must now memorize a million things but we must all remember that Islam is an easy religion. And as such, the things we have to do to keep within our Deen, is simple, easy and very intuitive, Alhamdulillah. And always remember, as we take our first step to improve ourselves, Allah makes it ten times easier to take the next step and the next step and so on. Subhanallah, what Mercy and love He has for us!
"Allah burdens no soul beyond what it can bear." - Sura Baqarah, v 286
Inshallah, we will try to do as much as we can to improve ourselves and reap the benefits from the simple act of "trying the best we can".
The Etiquettes of attending the Masjid defined:
  • Make Niyaat (intention) to go to the Masjid for the sake of Allah, to pray or to attend a halaqa for self improvement or just to be in a place of peace so that you could be nearer to Allah.
    • Subhannallah, for ladies, since we can't do Itikaaf in the Masjid, we are told to make Niyaat for Itikaaf so that we can get blessings for that so the next time you, my sister, enter the Masjid for a class or just to pray, make niyaat for Itikaaf and enjoy the blessings of Itikaaf!
  • Purify yourselves before going to the Masjid: Wash your body and mouths of impurities, wear clean and good clothes as if it were Eid day, men should put attar for a nice smell.
  • Perform your wudu properly and learn the various duas that can be recited while doing each action
    • Start wudu with Bismillah
    • Recite in wudu: "Allahummagh-firlee dunubee wa-was-siy'-lee fee daree wabarik-lee fee rizqee" - O Allah, forgive me my sins and widen my grave and grant me barakat in my rizq (sustenance).
    • When wudu is completed, recite the following and the eight doors of Jannat will be opened for you: "Ash-hadu al-la ilaha illallah wah-dahu la-sharika lahu wa-ash-hadu anna muhammadan rasulullah." Ė I testify that there is no one worthy of worship besides Allah. He is all by Himself and has no partner and I testify that Muhammad (pbuh) is Allah's messenger
  • As you get to the Masjid, don't do anything that will take away from the state of your mind: park properly so as to prevent others from shouting at you, follow the rules that are set for Masjid goers; keep calm and prevent yourself from doing anything outrageous or hurtful. At this point, remember that you are not only being watched by Allah, but by your Muslim brothers and sisters so you must set a good example.
  • As you near the Masjid, purify your heart before you enter the Masjid: Tell Allah that you have sinned and ask Him to purify you and to forgive you for all your sins and to help you be a better Muslim (tawbah); take away all hate and anger and jealousy from your heart against anyone and enter with only Allah in your heart
    • Ask Allah to make your heart love coming to the Masjid
    • Allah loves the Masjid and hates the markets that take away from our Ibadaah unnecessarily. But even then, when we have to go for necessities, if we recite the following dua, Allah will reward us with one hundred thousand hasanat for going (Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi): "La ilaha illallahu, wah-dahu la sharika lahu, lahul mulk, wa lahul hamdu euh-yee wa yumeetu wa huwa hai-yu la yamuto; biya-dihil khayru wa huwa a'la kulli shay-i'n qadeer." - There is none worthy of worship besides Allah. He is all by Himself. He has no partner. He gives and takes life. He is all by Himself. He will not die. In His hands is all good and He has control (power) over all things
  • As you near the doors that will let you into Allah's sanctuary, stop for a moment and make dua for Allah's Mercy
    • "Allahummaf-tah-lee abwaba rahmatik" - O Allah, Open the doors of Your Mercy for me
    • "Rabbigh-firlee dunubee waf-tah-lee abwaba rahmatik" - O my Lord, forgive my sins and open the doors of Your mercy for me.
  • Then enter with your right foot. Take off your left shoe first and then your right shoe.
  • Once inside, make your 2 Rakat Tahiyatul Masjid Nafl Salah. If the jammat has started, then join the jammat and do the 2 rakats afterwards.
  • If the Imam recites the call to Salah, then repeat after him, as was taught by our Prophet (pbuh) and when the call has finished with "La ilaha illallah", then raise your hands and make your duas for this is one time that our duas are promised to be answered by Allah, either in this life or in the hereafter.
  • Our Prophet (pbuh) has said that once the call to prayer is completed, reciting the following dua will guarantee his intercession for us on the day of judgement: "Allahumma rabba hadhi-hidh-dawati-tammah, was-salaatil qaa-imah, aati muhammadan al-waseelata wal-fadeelata, wab-ath-thu maqaaman mah-mudan alladhi wa-ad-tahu" - O Allah, Lord of the Perfect Call and the Prayer to be offered, grant Muhammad (pbuh) the highest position in Paradise (waseelah) and also the eminence and resurrect him to the praised position You have promised.
  • While in the Masjid, sit peacefully and don't keep moving around and causing unintentional disturbances to others. Mashallah, everyone there is trying to get as much rewards from the All Mighty and they don't want to be disturbed by anyone or anything.
  • While seated, make sure you Aurah (privates and body parts) is covered. This is such a simple thing to prevent and yet over-looked because, many times, we do go to the Masjid and find brothers and sisters who sit and a part of their body is showing from the back (shirt pulling above their pants to show a part of their bodies) or from the front (ladies... ?) because their clothes don't cover them fully or are wearing see through outfits that have no reason to be worn at the Masjid. Let us all, Inshallah, come dressed properly and in a way that Allah would be pleased: Imagine He is standing at the doors ready to inspect us... are we prepared?
  • While in the Masjid, refrain from speaking of things that are haram, makrooh, good talk mixed with haram and even "dead talk" (talk that has no relevance and makes no difference while at the Masjid). If it's a study session, then share your knowledge; if there is silence, then keep silent as well and instead do Dhikr or read Quran or read a book that will help and improve your Deen. Whatever the situation, donít do anything to take away from anotherís Ibadaah or from yours. As our teacher would say, would you let someone take away a thousand dollars from your wallet? Similarly, would you let someone take away your hasanat by doing something not liked by Allah and something that can be prevented?
  • While in the Masjid, prevent yourself from sharing information that was not necessary. If Allah has hidden our faults then who are we to volunteer information to others about ourselves or of others? And if you must talk, then go outside the Masjid to prevent disturbing others.
  • While at the Masjid, even if you donít feel sincerity or humbleness, pretend to feel it. This is one time when "faking it" will work to our benefits. Subhanallah, our Prophet (pbuh) has even told us to "fake it" because Inshallah, in the long run, it will affect us and it will become a reality. Allah hides our sins and our faults so why shouldn't we try to hide how we feel so long as we truly believe that one day it will be for real.
  • While in the Masjid and especially in Salah, try to avoid doing things that take away from your peaceful demeanor: stop scratching yourself or moving or fixing your clothes around; stop fidgeting from one foot to the other or changing your sitting position constantly; stop yawning as yawning is from shaitan; stop stretching your body; stop from burping or making noises intentionally and if it canít be helped then try to prevent it from being too loud; donít laugh too much or too hard, a simple smile will suffice.
  • While in the Masjid, don't fight or create fitnah amongst the other congregants. Respect your fellow brothers and sisters; Even if you don't have a liking for them, forgive them for the sake of Allah and learn to get along; and if that can't be done, then stay by yourself and concentrate on your own Ibadaah and avoid creating tension and stress in Allah's house. (Bukhari - Book 54, #502: Our Prophet (pbuh) told two men who were quarrelling, to seek refuge in Allah from the shaitan with "Auzubillah himinash shaitan-nir-rajeem" and that would calm them.)
  • When the Imam finishes his khutbah, recite the following dua. Allah promises all those who say it, that their sins will be forgiven: "Subhanaka allahumma wa bihamdik, ash-hadu al-la-ilaha illa anta, astaghfiruka wa-a'tubu ilayka" - Glory and praise and thanks be to You, O Allah, I bear witness that there is no god but You, I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You. (Note: This dua should be recited when leaving any congregations where the Deen was talked about for the blessings mentioned.)
  • The Masjid is there for performing our Ibadaah at our best, without interruptions or things to take away from the best that we can do. Use that time for Dhikr, reading Quran, learning about our Deen, helping others and for making your duas.
    • "Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." - Sura arRa'd, v28
  • The Masjid should also always be kept clean. Cleanliness is a part of our Deen and that also includes our homes, our environments and especially the Masjid. If you see something out of place, fix it; If you see something dirty, clean it. Be a part of the purification of the Masjid as that is one of Allah's beloved places of worship.
  • Once you are ready to leave, get up quietly and in peace. Put on your right shoe first and then your left shoe. Then leave with your left foot first.
  • As you leave the Masjid, recite this dua for Allah's favors and His protection from shaitans: "Allahumma inni asaluka min fad-lik" (O Allah, I ask You of Your Favor (goodness)) and "Auzubillah himinash shaitan-nir-rajeem" (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaitan).
The Masjid is a sanctuary where we can talk to Allah and tell Him of our problems and ask for forgiveness for our sins and ask Him for things that we can't ask of anyone else. It is the one place where we know that Allah is listening to us; He knows we are going there for Him and Him alone, so how can He not listen to us? Knowing all this, how can we not be the best Masjid-goers that we can be? Inshallah may Allah make it easy for all of us.
Inshallah we should all make the habit of attending our Masjids in the manner it was prescribed by our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
Some duas for seeking refuge in Allah from shaitan:
"Allahumma inni a'udhu bika minal shak wan-nifaq wal-kufri wa fujoor" - O Allah, I seek refuge in You from doubts, hypocrisy, disbelief and immoral conduct.
"Rabbi a'udhubika min hamazatish-sha-yaateen; wa a'udhubika rabbi a-yah-duroon." - O Allah, I seek refuge in You from whisperings of the devils, and I seek refuge in You from them being present around me! (Sura Mu'mineen, v 97-98)
"Allahumma inni a'udhu bika minal-'ajzi, wal kasli, wal jubni, wal harami, wal bukhli, wa a'udhu bika min 'adhabil qabri, wa a'udhu bika min fitnatil mahya wal mamat" - O Allah, I seek refuge in You from weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, anxiety and sorrow, and I seek refuge in You from the torments of the grave, and I seek refuge in You from the trials and tribulations of life and death.
"Allahumma inni as-aluka minal khayri kullihi 'ajilihi wa ajilih, ma-alimtu minhu wa ma lam a'lam, wa a'udhu bika minan-nari wa ma qarraba ilayhi min qawlin aw'amal" - o Allah, I ask of You all good whether it comes soon or late, whether I know it or not, and I seek your protection from the Fire and all acts of words or deeds that may lead me to it.
And may Allah shower His blessings on Muhammad (pbuh) his family and the companions and May Allah bless us with His Mercy and help us to get closer and closer to Him and increase us in rewards. Ameen.