Rules and etiquette in Mosque
Mosques, in accordance with Islamic practices, institute a number of rules intended to keep Muslims focused on worshiping God. While there are several rules, such as those regarding not allowing shoes in the prayer hall, that are universal, there are many other rules that are dealt with and enforced in a variety of ways from mosque to mosque.
- Prayer leader Appointment of a prayer leader is considered desirable, but not always obligatory. The permanent prayer leader (imam) must be a free honest individual and is authoritative in religious matters. In mosques constructed and maintained by the government, the prayer leader is appointed by the ruler; in private mosques, however, appointment is made by members of the congregation through majority voting. According to the Hanafischool of Islamic jurisprudence, the individual who built the mosque has a stronger claim to the title of imam, but this view is not shared by the other schools. Leadership at prayer falls into three categories, depending on the type of prayer: five daily prayers, Friday prayer, or optional prayers. According to the Hanafi and Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, appointment of a prayer leader for Friday service is mandatory because otherwise the prayer is invalid. The Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, however, argue that the appointment is not necessary and the prayer is valid as long as it is performed in a congregation. A slave may lead a Friday prayer, but Muslim authorities disagree over whether the job can be done by a minor. An imam appointed to lead Friday prayers may also lead at the five daily prayers; Muslim scholars agree to the leader appointed for five daily services may lead the Friday service as well. All Muslim authorities hold the consensus opinion that only men may lead prayer for men. Nevertheless, women prayer leaders are allowed to lead prayer in front of all-female congregations.
- Cleanliness. All mosques have rules regarding cleanliness, as it is an essential part of the worshippers’ experience. Muslims before prayer are required to cleanse themselves in an ablution process known as wudu. However, even to those who enter the prayer hall of a mosque without the intention of praying, there are still rules that apply. Shoes must not be worn inside the carpeted prayer hall. Some mosques will also extend that rule to include other parts of the facility even if those other locations are not devoted to prayer. Congregants and visitors to mosques are supposed to be clean themselves. It is also undesirable to come to the mosque after eating something that smells, such as garlic.
- Dress Islam requires that its adherents wear clothes that portray modesty. Men are supposed to come to the mosque wearing loose and clean clothes that do not reveal the shape of the body. Likewise, it is recommended that women at a mosque wear loose clothing that covers to the wrists and ankles, and cover their heads with a hijab or other covering. Many Muslims, regardless of their ethnic background, wear Middle Eastern clothing associated with Arabic Islam to special occasions and prayers at mosques.
- Concentration As mosques are places of worship, those within the mosque are required to remain respectful to those in prayer. Loud talking within the mosque, as well as discussion of topics deemed disrespectful, is forbidden in areas where people are praying. In addition, it is disrespectful to walk in front of or otherwise disturb Muslims in prayer. The walls within the mosque have few items, except for possibly Islamic calligraphy, so Muslims in prayer are not distracted. Muslims are also discouraged from wearing clothing with distracting images and symbols so as not to divert the attention of those standing behind them during prayer. In many mosques, even the carpeted prayer area has no designs, its plainness helping worshippers to focus.
- Gender separation. There is nothing written in the Qurʼan about the issue of space in mosques and gender separation. However, traditional rules have segregated women and men. By traditional rules, women are most often told to occupy the rows behind the men. In part, this was a practical matter as the traditional posture for prayer – kneeling on the floor, head to the ground – made mixed-gender prayer uncomfortably revealing for many women and distracting for some men. Traditionalists try to argue that Muhammad preferred women to pray at home rather than at a mosque, and they cite a hadith in which Muhammad supposedly said: “The best mosques for women are the inner parts of their houses,” although women were active participants in the mosque started by Muhammad. Muhammad told Muslims not to forbid women from entering mosques. They are allowed to go in. The second Sunni caliph ʻUmar at one time prohibited women from attending mosques especially at night because he feared they may be sexually harassed or assaulted by men, so he required them to pray at home. Sometimes a special part of the mosque was railed off for women; for example, the governor of Mecca in 870 had ropes tied between the columns to make a separate place for women. Many mosques today will put the women behind a barrier or partition or in another room. Mosques in South and Southeast Asia put men and women in separate rooms, as the divisions were built into them centuries ago. In nearly two-thirds of American mosques, women pray behind partitions or in separate areas, not in the main prayer hall; some mosques do not admit women at all due to the lack of space and the fact that some prayers, such as the Friday Jumuʻah, are mandatory for men but optional for women. Although there are sections exclusively for women and children, the Grand Mosque in Mecca is desegregated
History of Mosque In The World
The first mosque in the world is often considered to be the area around the Kaaba in Mecca now known as the Masjid al-Haram. Since as early as 638 AD, the Masjid al-Haram has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as hajj to the city. Others regard the first mosque in history to be the Quba Mosque in present-day Medina since it was the first structure built by Muhammad upon his emigration from Mecca in 622.
The Great Mosque of Kairouan, in Tunisia, is the oldest mosque in the Muslim West.
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, which is now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet’s Mosque. Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city. The Masjid al-Nabawi introduced some of the features still common in today’s mosques, including the niche at the front of the prayer space known as the mihrab and the tiered pulpit called the minbar. The Masjid al-Nabawi was also constructed with a large courtyard, a motif common among mosques built since then
The frequency by which Muslims attend mosque services
The frequency by which Muslims attend mosque services vary greatly around the world. In some countries, weekly attendance at religious services are common among Muslims while in others, attendance is rare.
13 Features of Kaaba Mecca of Saudi Arabia
The Kaaba is a stone cube structure made of granite. The Kaaba is approximately 13.1 m (43 ft) high (some claim 12.03 m (39.5 ft)), with sides measuring 11.03 m (36.2 ft) by 12.86 m (42.2 ft). Inside the Kaaba, the floor is made of marble and limestone. The interior walls, measuring 13 m (43 ft) by 9 m (30 ft), are clad with tiled, white marble halfway to the roof, with darker trimmings along the floor. The floor of the interior stands about 2.2 m (7.2 ft) above the ground area where tawaf is performed.
The wall directly adjacent to the entrance of the Kaaba has six tablets inlaid with inscriptions, and there are several more tablets along the other walls. Along the top corners of the walls runs a green cloth embroidered with gold Qur’anic verses. Caretakers anoint the marble cladding with the same scented oil used to anoint the Black Stone outside. Three pillars (some erroneously report two) stand inside the Kaaba, with a small altar or table set between one and the other two. (It has been claimed that this table is used for the placement of perfumes or other items.) Lamp-like objects (possible lanterns or censers) hang from the ceiling. The ceiling itself is of a darker colour, similar in hue to the lower trimming. A golden door—the Babut Taubah (also romanized as Baabut Taubah, and meaning “Door of Repentance”)—on the right wall (right of the entrance) opens to an enclosed staircase that leads to a hatch, which itself opens to the roof. Both the roof and ceiling (collectively dual-layered) are made of stainless steel-capped teak wood.
A technical drawing of the Kaaba showing dimensions and elements
Pilgrims performing Tawaf
Each numbered item in the following list corresponds to features noted in the diagram image
- Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad, “the Black Stone“, is located on the Kaaba’s eastern corner. Its northern corner is known as the Ruknu l-ˤĪrāqī, “the Iraqi corner”, its western as the Ruknu sh-Shāmī, “the Levantine corner”, and its southern as Ruknu l-Yamanī, “the Yemeni corner”. The four corners of the Kaaba roughly point toward the four cardinal directions of the compass. Its major (long) axis is aligned with the rising of the star Canopus toward which its southern wall is directed, while its minor axis (its east-west facades) roughly align with the sunrise of summer solstice and the sunset of winter solstice.
- The entrance is a door set 2.13 m (7 ft) above the ground on the north-eastern wall of the Kaaba, which acts as the façade. In 1979 the 300 kg gold doors made by chief artist Ahmad bin Ibrahim Badr, replaced the old silver doors made by his father, Ibrahim Badr in 1942. There is a wooden staircase on wheels, usually stored in the mosque between the arch-shaped gate of Banū Shaybah and the Zamzam Well
- Meezab-i Rahmat, rainwater spout made of gold. Added in the rebuilding of 1627 after the previous year’s rain caused three of the four walls to collaps
- Gutter, added in 1627 to protect the foundation from groundwater
- Hatim (also romanized as hateem), a low wall originally part of the Kaaba. It is a semi-circular wall opposite, but not connected to, the north-west wall of the Kaaba known as the hatīm. This is 90 cm (35 in) in height and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in width, and is composed of white marble. At one time the space lying between the hatīm and the Kaaba belonged to the Kaaba itself, and for this reason it is not entered during the tawaf
- Al-Multazam, the roughly 2 meter space along the wall between the Black Stone and the entry door. It is sometimes considered pious or desirable for a hajji to touch this area of the Kaaba, or perform dua here
- The Station of Abraham (Maqam Ibrahim), a glass and metal enclosure with what is said to be an imprint of Abraham‘s feet. Abraham is said to have stood on this stone during the construction of the upper parts of the Kaaba, raising Ismail on his shoulders for the uppermost parts.[
- Corner of the Black Stone (East)
- Corner of Yemen (South-West). Pilgrims traditionally acknowledge a large vertical stone that forms this corner.
- Corner of Syria (North-West)
- Corner of Iraq (North-East). This inside corner, behind a curtain, contains the Babut Taubah, Door of Repentance, which leads to a staircase to the roof.
- Kiswah, the embroidered covering. Kiswa is a black silk and gold curtain which is replaced annually during the Hajj pilgrimage. Two-thirds of the way up is a band of gold-embroidered Quranic text, including the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith
- Marble stripe marking the beginning and end of each circumambulation.
History of Kaaba Muhammad’s era and After
An illustration from the early 14th-century Persian Jami al-Tawarikh, inspired by the story of Muhammad and the Meccan clan elders lifting the Black Stone into place when the Kaaba was rebuilt in the early 600s
During Muhammad’s time (570–632 CE), the Kaaba was considered a holy and sacred site by the local Arabs and later Islam recognized it. Muhammad took part in the reconstruction of the Kaaba after its structure was damaged due to floods around 600 CE. Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasūl Allāh, one of the biographies of Muhammad (as reconstructed and translated by Guillaume), describes Muhammad settling a quarrel between Meccan clans as to which clan should set the Black Stone cornerstone in place.
According to Ishaq’s biography, Muhammad’s solution was to have all the clan elders raise the cornerstone on a cloak, after which Muhammad set the stone into its final place with his own hands. Ibn Ishaq says that the timber for the reconstruction of the Kaaba came from a Greek ship that had been wrecked on the Red Sea coast at Shu’ayba and that the work was undertaken by a Coptic carpenter called Baqum. Muhammad’s night journey is said to have taken him from the Kaaba to the Temple Mount and heavenwards from there.
Muslims initially considered Jerusalem as their qibla and faced that direction while offering prayers; however, pilgrimage to the Kaaba was considered a religious duty though its rites were not yet finalized. During the first half of Muhammad’s time as a prophet while he was at Mecca, he and his followers were severely persecuted which eventually led to their migration to Yathrib in 622 CE. In 624 CE the direction of the Qiblah (Prayer Direction) was changed from Jerusalem to the Kaabah in Mecca. In 628CE Muhammad led a group of Muslims towards Mecca with the intention of performing the minor pilgrimage (Umrah) at the Kaaba, though he wasn’t allowed by the people of Mecca to do so, he secured a peace treaty with them called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which allowed the Muslims to freely perform pilgrimage at the Kaaba from the following year.
At the culmination of his mission, in 629 CE, Muhammad conquered Mecca with a Muslim army. His first action was to remove statues and images from the Kaaba. According to reports collected by Ibn Ishaq and al-Azraqi, Muhammad spared a painting of Mary and Jesus, and a fresco of Abraham; but according to Ibn Hisham all pictures were erased.
- When the Prophet entered Mecca on the day of the Conquest, there were 360 idols around the Ka’bah. The Prophet started striking them with a stick he had in his hand and was saying, “Truth has come and Falsehood has Vanished.. (Qur’an 17:81)” — Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 583
- After the conquest Muhammad restated the sanctity and holiness of Mecca and the Masjid ul Haram in Islam. He performed a lesser Pilgrimage (Umrah) in 629 CE, followed by the Greater Pilgrimage(Hajj) in 632 CE called the Farewell Pilgrimage since Muhammad prophesied his impending death on this event.
- The Kaaba has been repaired and reconstructed many times since Muhammad’s day. The structure was severely damaged by fire on 3 Rabi I (Sunday, 31 October 683 CE), during the first siege of Mecca in the war between the Umayyads and Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr, an early Muslim who ruled Mecca for many years between the death of ʿAli and the consolidation of Umayyad power. Ibn al-Zubayr rebuilt it to include the hatīm. He did so on the basis of a tradition (found in several hadith collections) that the hatīm was a remnant of the foundations of the Abrahamic Kaaba, and that Muhammad himself had wished to rebuild so as to include it.
- The Kaaba was bombarded with stones in the second siege of Mecca in 692, in which the Umayyad army was led by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. The fall of the city and the death of Ibn al-Zubayr allowed the Umayyads under ʿAbdu l-Malik ibn Marwan to finally reunite all the Islamic possessions and end the long civil war. In 693 CE, ʿAbdu l-Malik had the remnants of al-Zubayr’s Kaaba razed, and rebuilt on the foundations set by the Quraysh. The Kaaba returned to the cube shape it had taken during Muhammad’s time.
- During the Hajj of 930 CE, the Qarmatians attacked Mecca, defiled the Zamzam Well with the bodies of pilgrims and stole the Black Stone, taking it to the oasis region of Eastern Arabia known as al-Aḥsāʾ, where it remained until the Abbasids ransomed it in 952 C. The basic shape and structure of the Kaaba have not changed since then.
- After heavy rains and flooding in 1629, the walls of the Kaaba collapsed and the Masjid was damaged. The same year, during the reign of Ottoman Emperor Murad IV, the Kaaba was rebuilt with granite stones from Mecca and the Masjid was renovated. The Kaaba’s appearance has not changed since then. The Kaaba is depicted on the reverse of 500 Saudi Riyal, and the 2000 Iranian rial banknotes.
The Kaaba is the holiest site in Islam, and is often called by names such as the House of God. The Qibla is the direction faced during prayer.[Quran 2:143–144] It is the focal point for prayer. The direction faced during prayer is the direction of where the Kaaba is.