The mosque is an English word that refers to a Muslim’s place of worship. The word Mosque is derived from the Arabic word ‘Masjid’ which means a place of prostration. The first Mosque is the original house of The Prophet Muhammad located in Medina (Saudi Arabia). Muslims gather at the mosque for various prayers and activities, reflecting their deep-rooted faith and commitment to Islam.
Mosques play a very important role in the lives of Muslims creating a sense of unity and giving a refuge for spiritual growth. The designs and architectures of Mosques are not the same everywhere. They vary from culture to culture and across different regions, but they all constitute some common features.
Architectural Elements of Mosques
- Minaret: It is a tall tower from which the call to prayer is made.
- Dome: It is a rounded roof that symbolizes the heavens and can see as a prominent feature of many mosques.
- Mihrab: It is a slot in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, towards which Muslims face during prayers.
- Minbar: It is a raised platform from which the Imam delivers the sermon during Friday prayers.
- Prayer Hall: It is the main area where worshippers gather for prayers, usually with an open and spatial layout.
- Courtyard: It is an open space within the mosque which is used for ablution before prayers.
- Qibla Wall: It is the wall in the hall that contains the Mihrab and indicates the direction of Mecca.
Role and Importance of Mosques
Mosques play a vital role in educating and guiding Muslims. Muslims are given instructions for all their life affairs in Mosques. Muslims usually went to Mosques for Friday (Jum’ah) prayer.
Mosques are also visited for Ramadan festivities and prayers. Nowadays, Mosques are also used for wedding (Nikkah) ceremonies. Mosques reflect cleanness, simplicity, serenity, stillness, and refinement.
What Quran says about Mosques:
- (The guided people worship Allah) in the houses that Allah has permitted to be raised, and where His name is recounted and His purity is Pronounced, in the morning and the evening, [24:36]
- And the places of worship are for God (alone): so invoke not anyone along with God. [72:18]
Daily Rituals and Five Daily Prayers
The basis of the Muslim faith is the performance of five daily prayers, known as “Salat.” These prayers are observed at specific times of the day: Fajr (pre-dawn), Dhuhr (midday), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (night). Muslims head to the mosque for offering these prayers, particularly during the Friday Jumu’ah prayer.
The collective gathering at Mosques strengthens the bonds of faith and allows Muslims to collectively connect with their Creator. Believers differ from non-believers due to Salat. The first thing that will be asked from us on the day of resurrection is Salat. So, Muslims must pray in congregation in a Mosque.
The Importance of Friday Prayers (Jum’ah)
Friday holds special significance in Islam as it marks the day of Jumu’ah, the congregational Friday prayer. Friday is called the best day of the week. On this day, Muslims are required to attend the mosque during the Dhuhr prayer time.
The Friday sermon (Khutbah) delivers spiritual guidance, addresses contemporary issues, and unites the community in a shared purpose.
Abu Hurairah (R.A.) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W) said “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it, Adam was created; on it he was made to enter Paradise; on it he was expelled from it; and the [last] hour (the Day of Resurrection) will take place on no day other than Friday.” (Muslim)
This weekly practice fosters a sense of unity, knowledge-sharing, and moral reflection among Muslims. It is necessary for Muslim men to attend Friday prayers while women have the option of whether to attend or not.
Some countries like Pakistan, and India do not allow women to go to Mosques for prayers while some countries such as Iran and Kenya allow women to go to Mosques.
Sunnahs of Friday
- Take a bath
- Use miswak to clean teeth
- Wear new clothes
- Apply perfume/oud
- Cut your nails
- Read Surah AL-KAHF
- Recite Durood
The Festive Celebration of Eid
Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha are two major festivals in the Islamic calendar. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. This Eid is a new start when Muslims are pure of all sins.
The day of Eid has a variety of spiritual meanings. It consists of the day whilst the subsequent religious values are manifested such as Gratitude, Receiving awards, Unity, and Reminder of the Day of Judgement.
فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا
The original nature endowed by Allah according to which He originated mankind
(Sūratur Rūm, No.30, Āyat 30)
Eid-ul-Adha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son. It is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah. Both Eids begin with a special congregational prayer held at the mosque.
And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your head until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter.
(Surah Baqrah verse 196)
Muslims come together to offer gratitude, seek forgiveness, and strengthen their sense of belonging to the global Muslim community. Eid prayers are offered in large groups.
Some Mosques also make arrangements for Eid prayers in courtyards, especially when Muslims are in huge numbers.
Tarawih Prayers during Ramadan
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds immense spiritual significance for Muslims. During this month, Muslims engage in fasting from dawn until sunset and offer additional nightly prayers called Tarawih. These voluntary prayers are performed at the mosque.
It was narrated that the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever observes the night voluntary prayers during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Tarawih prayers are offered after the Isha prayer. Their observance creates a sense of spiritual renewal, self-discipline, and community bonding among Muslims. The prayers can last up to two hours each night. Every night a person who is Hafiz recites a segment of the book.
The Holiest Night – Laylat al-Qadr
Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Decree, is considered one of the most sacred nights in Islam. It falls during the last ten days of Ramadan and holds a special place due to its association with the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims assemble at the mosque during these nights to engage in prayers and supplications, seeking blessings and forgiveness. The mosque becomes a core of spiritual intensity and devotion during this time.
The Emphasis on Learning- Study Circle (Halaqas)
Mosques are not only places of worship but also centers of learning. Many mosques host study circles, known as “halaqah,” where Muslims gather to study the Quran, Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), and various Islamic sciences.
These gatherings foster intellectual growth, facilitate discussion, and deepen the participant’s understanding of their faith.
Funeral Prayers (Janazah)
Muslims view death as a transition to the next phase of existence. Death is the ultimate truth. When a Muslim passes away, the community gathers at the mosque to offer funeral prayers (Janazah) and seek mercy for the departed soul.
This practice demonstrates the importance of community support and the concept of life after death in Islam.
Charity is the third pillar of Islam. Muslims are asked to give approximately one-fortieth of their wealth to charity as Zakat. Muslims went to Mosques for charity as well.
Mosques collect Zakat before Eid ul Fitr so that the poor and needy might be helped and can celebrate the prayers and occasions.
Rules and Etiquettes for Mosques
Prayer leadership in the Mosques is desirable, not obligatory. In the Mosques which are developed by the government, the prayer leader is appointed by the ruler. While in private Mosques, the prayer leader is selected by the majority through voting.
Cleanliness is an important part of worship. All Mosques have their rules for cleanliness like shoes must be kept outside the prayer hall, and the worshippers must be cleaned before ablution.
Men must wear reasonable clothes that do not reveal their body shape. They should wear clean, tidy, and loose clothes.
Loud talking is not allowed in Mosques. As they are the place for worship so one must maintain their respect and should be concerned about their serenity and tranquility.
According to traditional rules, women are asked to make a row behind men. Many contemporary Mosques now put women behind a barrier or partition.
The mosque serves as a cornerstone of Muslim life, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to practice their faith, strengthen their bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, and seek spiritual growth.
From daily prayers to special occasions like Eid and Laylat al-Qadr, the mosque is a center for communal worship, learning, and support. Its significance extends beyond religious rituals, embodying the essence of Islam’s teachings of unity, compassion, and devotion.