Let 's Support to Build Our Masjid in Houston

By: Ust. H.M. Khalid Basalamah, MA

A. Definition of Mosque

The word masjid comes from Sajada which means a place of prostration or a place of prayer, place of worship to Allah Azza wa jalla. 

The earth is a mosque for Muslims. Every Muslim may perform prayers anywhere on this earth, except in a cemetery, grave or other places regarded as ritually unclean. In addition to the word mosque, musholla is another term found in the Qur’an (QS; 2:5), which basically has the same meaning as the mosque, but musholla is a place to perform prayers in an open field. Rasulullah (saw) performed the Eid prayers in musholla.

 

In Indonesia, several terms are commonly used to indicate a place for performing prayers, such as: tajug, langgar, surau , etc. This is usually a small-sized mosque, but it is not used for Friday prayers. While musholla is normally a room or part of a larger building (marketplaces, terminals, offices, homes and so forth).

B. Building a Mosque: A Responsibility For Muslims
According to the teachings of Islam, people of the Islamic faith are obligated to build a special building called masjid in each place where their followers congregate or reside. This obligation also applies to Muslims to provide a special room for prayer and prostration even in a place of residence, such a house that is deemed to be large enough.

Also, according to numerous Hadiths, Rasulullah (pbuh) instructed followers of Islam to build a mosque. Therefore, we can conclude that a house that Allah (swt) loves most is the house that has a special room inside for doing prayers and prostration. And an area that Allah (swt) loves most is the area that has a mosque.

In the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, Rasullulah (saw) said:

“Mosques are parts of a country that Allah (swt) loves most, while marketplaces are parts of a country that Allah (swt) hates most.” (HR.Muslim)

One of the characteristics of an Islamic community or Islamic region is the presence of a mosque. It constitutes an act of negligence if there is no mosque in a place where the majority of its population belongs to the Islamic faith. And it is incumbent upon Muslims who reside in a place where there is no mosque, or know that no mosque is present in a place that has a Muslim majority, to build a mosque through joint, cooperative efforts.

People who are rich or leaders belonging to the Islamic faith have an obligation to make efforts towards building a mosque in every place where Muslims assemble: marketplaces, terminals, schools, offices, and others.

Building a mosque constitutes jihad fi sabilillah (in the cause of Allah). It is an act of great reward, investing in good deeds that offer continuous rewards for those who build a mosque even though they have died.

C. Requirements for Building a Mosque
The building shape of a mosque should be adapted to its functions and purposes. A Muslim architect has the freedom to determine the shape and model of a mosque, because these are part of ijtihadiyah problems, meaning that the mosque building should not resemble a place of worship belonging to other religions or a place where people are engaged in adultery (maksiat), absolutely forbidden by Allah (swt).

The ideal building of a mosque is one whose architecture is capable of bringing to each of the prayers a feeling of peace, spiritual tranquility, and inner satisfaction in the face of Allah, the Almighty. Consequently, everyone inside a mosque can feel the quiet and solemn atmosphere, offering them a motivation to always visit the mosque to worship. This includes the neatness of the building, the officials (imam, muadzdzin= a person who leads and recites the call to prayer, morbat = custodian or keeper of the mosque) who must be knowledgeable and willing to take care of the house of Allah Azza wa Jalla), the cleanliness inside and outside the mosque and, also the place of ablution and bathrooms.

Two important things to remember when building a mosque:

1. Being totally sincere to Allah, the Almighty.

2. Having resources (funds) that are lawful in accordance with Islamic law and honorable.

Every Muslim who is sincere in building a mosque will be rewarded a palace in Paradise.
As narrated by Utsman bin Affan (ra): I heard Rasulullah (saw) said:

“Whoever builds a mosque in the cause of Allah, Allah will build him a palace in His Paradise.” (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawahi’ as-Shalah)

General Principles in Building a Mosque:

1. It must be in accordance with its standing as a Muslim holy place, honored and respected.

2. It must be accordance with its function as a place and center of activities of worship, preaching, and education.

3. It has the goal of creating human beings who fear of Allah (swt)

4. It is safe (secured) from acts forbidden by Allah (swt) and, in particular there should be no cemetery or grave.

Rasulullah (saw) said in Hadith:

From ‘Aisyah(ra) that Umm Habibah and Umm Salamah told Rasulullah (saw) about a church that they see in the country of Habasyah, where there are pictures inside the church. Then Rasulullah (saw) said “Surely they among themselves when there are people who are faithful who died, so they build on the grave a mosque/place of worship, and they put in it the pictures to commemorate those faithful people. They are the worst creatures in the sight of Allah on the Judgment Day. (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi’ as-Shalah)

In another Hadith:

From ‘Aisyah (ra) he said; Rasulullah (saw) said when he was sick that made him unable to get up before his death, he remarked: “Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians; they make the graves of their prophets as places of worship (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi’ as-Shalah)

Also in another Hadith:

From Jundab (ra) he said: I heard the Prophet (saw) said five days before he died, “Surely I leave it to Allah that I am not going to make one of you as my lover, because Allah ta’ala has made me as His lover just as He had made Abraham as his lover. If I were allowed to designate a lover from among my people, then I will undoubtedly make Abu Bakr as a lover. Remember that people before you were used to make the tomb of the prophets and faithful people among them as places of worship; surely, I forbid you to do such a thing.” (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi’ as-Shalah)

5. The cleanliness of a mosque. Officials of a mosque must encourage people who come to pray to help keep the mosque clean at all times.

Rasulullah (saw) said:

From Anas bin Malik (ra) he said: Rasulullah (saw) said “spitting in the mosque is a wrong action and its expiation is to bury it.” (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi’ as-Shalah)

Also in another Hadith:

From Ibnu Umar (ra) Rasulullah (saw) said: “Everyone who eats vegetable like this should not get closer to our mosques until the smell has gone.” Vegetable here refers to garlic (HR. Muslim in Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi’ as-Shalah)

In building or constructing a mosque, we need to pay attention to these important requirements:

1. It must be in accordance with its function, goals and roles.

2. It must face in the direction of Qibla.

3. Avoid identities showing the influence/symbol of other religions.

4. Avoid exaggeration (tabdzir) or doing in an excessive manner.

Make sure that not even one inch of the building that will not have any function, and not one penny should be wasted because the funds to build the mosque are people’s funds that must be spent as economically as possible.

5. It can guarantee the safety of prayers who worship at the mosque.

6. To take into account the aesthetic value of the building.

7. To equip the building with facilities for worship and preaching activities.

In addition, there are other significant aspects that we need to consider:

1. Technology
The structural engineering of the building must meet quality standards. But it should avoid doing in an excessive manner. Utilize properly building materials, use building materials and labor available in the area concerned, thereby providing local community with additional income.

2. Sociology
The standard of living, education, and social customs must be taken into consideration in order that local community is prepared to accept the construction of a mosque.

3. Planology
The construction of the mosque must be in accordance with the layout of the city so that the mosque will add to the beauty of the environment and it is extremely important to ensure that the mosque will be within easy reach of prayers to come to the mosque.

4. Physical
The physical aspects of the building also must be in accordance with the local climate so that prayers will feel safe, comfortable, and feel at home in the mosque.

5. Economy
The construction of a mosque must take into account the community’s economic capability in building and maintaining the mosque. Building a mosque would become less suitable if it somehow interferes with the economic capability of the community. To build a mosque should in no way neglect the responsibility of Muslims to assist the poor. The ultimate goal of constructing a mosque is to achieve human development. A mosque is only a tool designed to attain that goal. This means that to build a beautiful and magnificent mosque will become less meaningful if human development is not reached because all resources are being fully spent for the physical construction of a mosque.

6. Management
The construction of a mosque must be done in an open democratic way with the bottom-up strategy because it represents a project by Muslims/prayers and not a project by government or a certain group. The management of the construction of a mosque must be aimed at achieving unity and brotherhood (islah), safety and harmony (Islam), good deeds (hasanah) , benevolence (kebajikan) and benefit (kemaslahatan)

7. Maintenance
The construction of a mosque must be accompanied by a plan to maintain the mosque that includes planning for upkeep and development of the mosque. Therefore, the construction of the mosque must be equipped with the means and facilities for the development of officials, library, and preaching activities.

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