Fasting New Muslims

In the Shade of Ramadan (5) Episode 2: Racing to the Houses of Worship

The popular MAS Youth video series, “In The Shade of Ramadan” is BACK!

“In the Shade of Ramadan” is an annual online video series that is produced by MAS Youth during the month of Ramadan every year. It is a series of educational and motivational reflections on the month of Ramadan featuring various speakers across the country. This year’s season will feature 15 episodes (an episode every other day) with the theme: “Racing to Allah.”

Watch Episode 2: Racing to the Houses of Worship by Jamaal Diwan.


New Muslims New Muslims' Experiences

Some of the Youngest Muslim Reverts


New Muslims Prayer

About Prayer: The Second Pillar of Islam

Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day.

Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day.

Prayer (Salah) is the daily ritual prayer enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. Salah is a precise worship, different from praying on the inspiration of the moment. Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day:

• Between first light and sunrise.

• After the sun has passed the middle of the sky.

• Between mid-afternoon and sunset.

• Between sunset and the last light of the day.

• Between darkness and midnight.

Each prayer may take at least 5 minutes, but it may be lengthened as a person wishes.  Muslims can pray in any clean environment, alone or together, in a mosque or at home, at work or on the road, indoors or out. Under special circumstances, such as illness, journey, or war, certain allowances in the prayers are given to make their offering easy.

A Reminder

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life. Muslims start their day by cleaning themselves and then standing before their Lord in prayer. The prayers consist of recitations from the Qur’an in Arabic and a sequence of movements: standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting.

All recitations and movements express submission, humility, and homage to God. The various postures Muslims assume during their prayers capture the spirit of submission; the words remind them of their commitments to God. The prayer also reminds one of belief in the Day of Judgment and of the fact that one has to appear before his or her Creator and give an account of their entire life.

This is how a Muslim starts their day. In the course of the day, Muslims dissociate themselves form their worldly engagements for a few moments and stand before God. This brings to mind once again the real purpose of life.

These prayers serve as a constant reminder throughout the day to help keep believers mindful of God in the daily stress of work, family, and distractions of life. Prayer strengthens faith, dependence on God, and puts daily life within the perspective of life to come after death and the last judgment. As they prepare to pray, Muslims face Makkah, the holy city that houses the Ka`bah (the ancient place of worship built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, peace be upon them). At the end of the prayer, the Shahadah (testimony of faith) is recited, and the greeting of peace, ‘Peace be upon all of you and the mercy and blessings of God’, is repeated twice.

The Call

Though individual performance of salah is permissible, collective worship in the mosque has special merit and Muslims are encouraged to perform certain salah with others.  With their faces turned in the direction of the Ka`bah in Makkah, the worshipers align themselves in parallel rows behind the imam, or prayer leader, who directs them as they execute the physical postures coupled with Qur’an recitations. In many Muslim countries, the ‘call to prayer’, or ‘Adhan’, echoes out across the rooftops. Aided by a megaphone the muezzin calls out:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah (I witness that none deserves worship except God).

Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah (I witness that none deserves worship except God).

Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasul-ullah (I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God).

Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasul-ullah (I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God).

Hayya `alas-Salah (Come to prayer)

Hayya `alas-Salah (Come to prayer)

Hayya `alal-Falah (Come to prosperity)

Hayya `alal-Falah (Come to prosperity)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

La ilaaha ill-Allah (None deserves worship except God).

Friday Prayer

Friday is the weekly day of communal worship in Islam. The weekly convened Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) is the most important service. The Friday Prayer is marked by the following features:

• It falls in the same time as the noon prayer which it replaces.

• It must be performed in a congregation led by a prayer leader, an ‘Imam.’ It cannot be offered individually. Muslims in the West try to arrange their schedules to allow them time to attend the prayer.

• Rather than a day of rest like the Sabbath, Friday is a day of devotion and extra worship.  A Muslim is allowed normal work on Friday as on any other day of the week. They may proceed with their usual activities, but they must break for the Friday prayer. After the worship is over, they can resume their mundane activities.

• Typically, the Friday Prayer is performed in a mosque, if available. Sometimes, due to unavailability of a mosque, it may be offered at a rented facility, park, etc.

• When the time for prayer comes, the Adhan is pronounced. The Imam then stands facing the audience and delivers his sermon (known as khutbah in Arabic), an essential part of the service of which its attendance is required. While the Imam is talking, everyone present listens to the sermon quietly till the end. Most Imams in the West will deliver the sermon in English, but some deliver it in Arabic. Those who deliver it in Arabic usually deliver a short speech in the local language before the service.

• There are two sermons delivered, one distinguished from the other by a brief sitting of the Imam. The sermon is commenced with words of praise of God and prayers of blessing for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

• After the sermon, the prayer is offered under the leadership of the Imam who recites the Fatihah (the 1st chapter of the Qur’an) and the other Qur’anic passage in an audible voice.  When this is done, the prayer is completed.

Special, large congregational prayers, which include a sermon, are also offered at late morning on the two days of festivity. One of them is immediately following the month of fasting, Ramadan, and the other after the pilgrimage, or hajj.

Although not religiously mandated, individual devotional prayers, especially during the night, are emphasized and are a common practice among pious Muslims.




New Muslims Prayer

Nawafil (Supererogatory) Prayers: Their Significance and Rulings

By: Sayyid Saabiq

At-tatawwu’, or nawafil or supererogatory prayers, have been legislated to make up for any deficiencies left in the performance of fard salah (obligatory prayers).

In Salah, there are virtues that are not found in any other form of worship. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The first thing that the people will be called to account for on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers.

Our Lord will say to the angels although He knows better: ‘Look into the salah of my servant to see if he observed it perfectly or been negligent in it. So if he observed it perfectly it will be recorded to his credit, but if he had been negligent in it in any way, Allah would say: See if My servant has any supererogatory prayers. Then if he has any supererogatory prayers, Allah would say: Make up the deficiency in My servant’s obligatory prayer with his supererogatory prayers.’ Thereafter all his actions will be examined in like manner” (Abu Dawud).

Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah does not listen to anything from His slave as He does to the two rak`ahs (of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant’s head as long as he remains in prayer.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)

In al-Muwatta’, Malik says: “It has reached me that the Prophet (peace be upon him said: “(Try to) keep to the straight path although you won’t be able to do so completely; and know that the best of your deeds is the salah, and only a (true) believer preserves his wudu.’” Muslim records from Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi`ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).”

Offering Nawafil in One’s House

Ahmad and Muslim relate from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: “If one of you offers his prayers in the mosque then he should make a portion of his prayers in his house, as Allah has made his prayers in his house a means of betterment (for him).”

Ahmad records from ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: “The nawafil salah of a man in his house are a light; whoever wishes should lighten up his house.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reports that the Prophet said: “Make some of your prayers in your houses and do not turn your houses into graves.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

Abu Dawud records from Zayid ibn Thabit on sound authority that the Messenger of Allah said:
“A person’s salah in his house is better than his salah in my mosque, except for the fard salah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

These hadiths prove that it is preferred to say one’s nawafil prayers in one’ s house since prayers in one ‘s house are better than those that he performs in the mosque.

An-Nawawi says: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged one to offer nawafil in one’s house because then the prayers are more private and will have less of a chance of being done for show and will be free from defects that vitiate good deeds. Furthermore, this will be a blessing for the house as mercy and angels will descend on it while Satan flees from it.”

Their Elongation

It is preferred to prolong the reciting by making many rak`ahs. The group, except for Abu Dawud, reports that al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) would stand and pray until his feet or shanks swelled. When he was asked about it, he said: ‘Should I not be a thankful slave?”‘

Abu Dawud records from `Abdullah ibn Hubshi Al-Khath’ami that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked: “What is the best deed?” He said: “Prolonging the qiyam; (standing) (in the prayer).” Then it was asked: “What is the best charity?” He replied: “The sacrifice made by one who has little to give.” Then it was asked: “What is the best migration?” He responded: “The migration from what Allah has forbidden.” Then it was asked: “What is the best jihad?” He replied: “Whoever strives against the polytheists with his wealth and soul.” They asked: “What is the most honorable death?” He answered: “He whose blood is spilled and whose horse is wounded.” (Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i)

Making Nawafil in Sitting

It is acceptable for one to make nawafil while sitting even though he has the ability to stand. It is also acceptable for one to make part of such prayers sitting and part of them standing even if all of that is in one rak`ah, (i.e., one sits for part of the first rak’ah and then stands for the rest of it or vice versa).

All of that is acceptable without any dislike for it. One may sit in any manner one likes although it is preferable to sit cross-legged.

Muslim records that `Alqamah asked `A’ishah: “How did the Prophet perform two rak`ahs while sitting?” She replied: “He would recite while sitting and then when he wished to make ruku` (bowing), he would stand and bow.”

Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah record that she said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah ever sitting while reciting during the night prayer until he became old, then he would sit until when about thirty or forty verses were left of his recital then he would stand, finish the recital and make ruku`…”


The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.


Conversion Stories New Muslims

My journey to Islam: A Journey of Seeking God’s Love

By: Carolyn Erazo

I’ll tell you how I started my journey of seeking God’s love. I’ll start by saying that I am the epitome of an all American girl. I was raised within a Christian family and it’s Christianity I was taught. I can clearly remember my years growing up wishing I wasn’t forced to go to church. I would attempt to purposely lose my Sunday shoes just hoping to be able to stay home. Ultimately shoes or not I had to go and I was never happy about it. I think back to my thoughts as I sat in Sunday school, and how I never quite believed what I was being taught.

 journey to Islam

Why did I wait to so long to seek a journey of faith?

No Beliefs

So many inconsistencies left me with no desire to find out what faith really was. How can you believe the unknown? Did things really happen like that or was the Bible just another book of stories on my bookshelf?

Years later I attended a church retreat and it was there that I initially sought the desire to find that faith. My childhood was tough fitting in and being accepted was a luxury I never had. I wanted what most people take for granted and it was about time I accepted that I wasn’t going to get it.

On the last day of the retreat I walked down a big hill to get to the beach and I sat watching the water. My heart was open I wanted so badly for God to reach down and touch me with his grace and glory. I wanted to fit in and be accepted, and I had come to believe He was the One that could do it.

It was late October and sitting by the water was a little chilly but I continued to sit and in my mind I yelled for God to help me. I remember that’s the very first day I changed. I was no longer looking for faith I knew I wouldn’t find it. God had forgotten about me I clearly wasn’t as important as the others participating in the retreat.

It was then that I noticed the warm tears streaming down my face. I gave up on God. If He forgot about me I was going to forget about Him.

As the years progressed I lived my life in that way having no beliefs and absolutely no faith. I sought answers for the trials and tribulations I was enduring. I found nothing and with each question I became more angry knowing the answers would never come.

Seeking “True” Love

It was late February four years ago that I attended a funeral and it was there that my heart reopened. I watched a mother speak after unexpectedly losing her son.

I sat in the back of the funeral home and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. Why and how does she love God so much as she speaks of her son with smiles instead of sorrow?

She found joy in the fact that her son was with God and I couldn’t understand it. I looked at her almost envious of her faith and I said to myself I want what she has! That day I couldn’t keep that image from my mind. I knew what I had to do- if I wanted to yet again seek God’s love.

This is what consumed me for weeks until I decided I needed a journey of faith. I couldn’t just seek reasons…I needed to seek God and with that my questions might be answered. Of course I insisted to start my journey in Christianity it’s how I was raised and maybe now as an adult those inconsistencies wouldn’t be noticed.

I sat at church every Sunday for weeks listelovening to every word spoken. Give me something to hold on to I thought. Just a little spark to allow my faith to burn within me. Still nothing and after months I knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t call it a journey if I didn’t broaden my search.

Courage to Begin the Journey

It was a Wednesday morning and I woke up very early to find a mosque I had searched for the night before. I began to drive there but couldn’t find it. I was so upset why was it so difficult to find even with an address. My emotions were everywhere. I was angry I hadn’t found it, I was sad because I really wanted to, and I was worried my useless venture was going to make me pointlessly late for work. I just had to give up. Maybe another day I thought.

I began to cry out of frustration and the thought of being late so I called my boss and advised him of my circumstances. His response was actually amazing.

“Don’t worry my friend I’m almost at the office. I know that place well I’ll help you find it.”

And he did just that too. He somehow led me right to it and I couldn’t have been happier.

My first thought was that I already knew I wasn’t Muslim. Those people are crazy was definitely my second. Look what they’ve done. Thousands of people died all because of their crazy beliefs.

I actually didn’t understand my happiness to find the mosque. I guess just a place in my journey I had to investigate. I’d never be able to rule it out until I heard the craziness for myself. Before getting off the phone with my boss I jokingly said, “What if they throw me in the basement and sell me to a third world country?” My boss laughed at my ridiculous thoughts and I laughed with him and said I was kidding. But deep down my fear was sincere.

I approached the door and as I reached to open it, I feared what I would see. I was there and I wasn’t turning back. I had to rule this crazy Islamic religion off my list and figured it would take minutes to do so. A man approached me as I stood in the entrance way asking for the Imam. I was told he wasn’t there but would be and he would have him contact me. I jotted down my number and hurried out of there. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure I’d get a call but also didn’t know if I wanted one either.

Before leaving, the man I spoke with said, “His name is `Abdul Lateef”. Now all I could think about was him calling. Did I really want to talk to someone so different from me? How would he understand me and how will I understand him?

It was less than two hours later and I couldn’t believe that he called.

Those fears where immediately abolished when the man on the other end of the phone spoke as I had. I instantly knew: who better to explain this disturbing inhumane religion? I expected nothing but to solidify, in his words, that it was exactly what I had always heard it to be. I just wanted to remove it from the list.

He immediately invited me to come and meet with him that night. I expected fifteen minutes and I’d either be running out worried it was a terrorist organization or my initial fear of the being locked in the basement. My thoughts were racing and I didn’t know how to stop them.

I walked in and stood in the entrance way. I immediately reached out my hand to shake his as I introduced myself. He quickly apologized and explained to me the reasons for it. I remember that clearly, I guess it literally was the first thing that impressed me. I got to tell you though. I wanted to kill my boss for not telling me about that.

He invited me to sit and ask him all the questions I had. I started with the fact that I was on a religious journey and that I was seeking enough truth to make me believe. I started to explain my reasoning for failing to see Christianity as truth which led me to explain my examples of the inconsistencies that I couldn’t over look. He didn’t speak much he let the questions just pour from mind to my mouth. With each question he answered quickly and to the point yet as each one was answered I began to notice they just seemed right. My questions were finally being answered.

How can this man know so much and why do I believe him. As weird as it was I couldn’t answer my own question. He gave me in such a short time reason to believe. Almost two hours had past and I was still bombarding him for more answers.  I wanted to be sure that I took what I needed from the conversation to be able to cross Islam right off my list. As I got up and headed to the door he said “Thank you sister for allowing me to be a part of your journey. I hope when you leave here you’ll either know why you are or why you aren’t Muslim.”

I thought about those words all night, actually for over a week. Those words were profound and relentlessly consumed my thoughts. I needed to know more. I had more inconsistencies that I sought answers for. Three more days passed and oddly enough he called me. It was like he knew I was seeking more answers and he spent over an hour giving me just that. So now I had some questions. But this time they were to myself. Why did I wait to so long to seek a journey of faith and why didn’t I start here.

To be continued…


Source: Muslimvillage


Conversion Stories New Muslims

My Journey to Islam: What Has Becoming a Muslim Done for Me?

By: Carolyn Erazo

Here’s how and why I became Muslim….

Over the next couple of months I continued reading everything I could get my hands on, I just had to know more. This religion made sense, nothing in what I had already learned made me doubt the truth within it.

What Has Becoming a Muslim Done for Me

God gave instructions to live a life that will inevitably lead us to our deserved place in either Heaven or Hell.

These horrible Muslims weren’t horrible at all. In fact they were better than us. I now had a better understanding of who they were and what they weren’t. Islam wasn’t bad, though some Muslims are.

After learning a lot I knew no Muslim would ever do what we claimed they had done. There’s just no way the rules written in the Qur’an would allow that. Real Muslims couldn’t possibly have caused the 9/11 terrorist attack that rocked the United States. The price would have been too high, in this life and more importantly the one after.

My desire to convert was overpowering me. But I couldn’t. How would I explain it? No one would understand. The opinions around me lead me to believe I didn’t fit the profile. Yet again I didn’t fit in. The problem was I couldn’t fight fate and/or my faith. I found it and I wasn’t letting it go. I needed to believe and Islam poured the truth giving me exactly what I asked for. God finally touched me. My heart and mind were open but still I couldn’t convert.


I immediately found a hundred reasons for why I couldn’t. Ramadan was one of them and definitely approaching and I feared that obligation. Women have a hard enough time dieting I would never be able to fast. I distinctly remember what `Abdul told me as I voiced my fears “sister, Ramadan shouldn’t scare you it should please you to do it for God”.

A few weeks later he said, “I guarantee you will want to convert before Ramadan ends”. I dismissed it knowing I just couldn’t see myself doing it. My family would be outraged.

Two weeks into Ramadan I couldn’t believe that I had been doing so well. It was something I never thought possible but yet I was half way through it. Something within me knew that it was God allowing it and His comforting presence gave me peace within myself to accomplish the impossible.

I was half way through my day at work when I just knew. Tonight is the night. I called `Abdul and told him how important it was for me to take my Shahadah (Declaration of Faith to become Muslim). He laughed a little and said he knew it would be before the ending of Ramadan. He was right.

How It Feels to “Be” Muslim

As I approached the mosque I felt so nervous I wondered how was I ever going to be able to do it. I had just learned that day you have to recite the Shahadah in Arabic. I got through it although not sure the words I said were accurate, either way I was Muslim. I declared that there is no god but God and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of God. I did it.

I made my choice and was barely out of the parking lot before I cried. The feeling within me was indescribable. But now how do I explain this? I guess I didn’t realize the full extent of what my decision would bring. I had resistance in every direction and at times it was simply unbearable. I couldn’t figure out how my religion impacted anyone, leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouth.

My happiness for my new found faith was increasingly becoming a problem for most people I knew and the ridicule would enrage me. I found myself in defense mode all the time refusing to allow anyone to stereotype Muslims around me.

The worst part came when they took notice of the rules I was abiding by: no pork (Ridiculous!), fasting (Seriously? What for?). Yet with each question I had an answer and it also made me want to learn more, I wanted to always have an educated response to anything thrown at me.

What Has Islam Done out of Me?

June 2015 made 3 years since I converted and I find myself sometimes asking “Did I really need to convert or was I always Muslim?”. Born into a Christian family does not make you Christian and I’m living proof of that. I have seen many changes, obvious changes, within myself. I think I finally got it.

I understand now why this journey of faith was a necessity. A person can’t live without beliefs and faith. It’s impossible. I was able to let go of the anger of years of unanswered questions and prayers. What has becoming a Muslim done for me? The answer is simple and can be summed up with one word: acceptance. God’s acceptance.

We will never know why God puts us through trials. But what we do know is that it’s purposeful. God gave us an instruction manual for life. He gave those instructions to live a life that will inevitably lead us to our deserved place in either Heaven or Hell.

Why Islam?

What’s wrong with people who question such religious guidance? Is it so bad that no one should follow? What I’ve learned so far is that many who object to “the rules” are really against the Religion itself. I’m not sure why people discriminate against a religion as opposed to individuals. Why are we so against each other when ultimately we’re the same?

God created us all. We are equal yet share different beliefs. Is it rational to hate Islam because of the actions of some Muslims?

If that’s the mindset then why not blame all Christians because of some terrible man who used bombs and took many lives? Within the denominations of Christianity let’s look at the  Catholics, should all of them be considered child molesters? Its apparent all the religions have bad people but that doesn’t mean they are all bad. I failed to find truth in Christianity.

My choice was easy because truth is exactly what I found. And it is my sole reason for becoming a Muslim. Ultimately it’s an individual choice and in my opinion there was only one way to go.

I initially sought to write a letter to find its way into the right persons hands. I just have this overwhelming need to try and fight this war of the misrepresentation and discrimination against Islam.

Learn & Educate

I am a mother of a United States Marine. I am the mother of a son willing and prepared to fight for his country. But are we willing to do that? We all are so consumed fighting each other over misunderstandings of religion. We don’t need to fight against Islam we need to fight for it with truth and clarity so that people can see it for what it truly is and not a distortion based on ignorant, discriminatory opinions.

I have worked very hard over the course of the last three years even with resistance hitting me from every direction to teach my children about what I am and why. I am Muslim. My children are not but it’s the responsibility of myself to educate and provide them with guidance. I can’t force them just like no one had forced me. But my intentions are there and that’s my job. It’s also our job as people of faith.

Yet real education requires a commitment to truth and not discrimination. I’m not looking to change the word as my voice is not loud enough to allow everyone to hear me. I’m also not looking to have every person abandon their own religious beliefs because as a Muslim I know that all religions should be respected.

What I am looking for is simply to bring awareness to the poor unfortunate souls that can’t distinguish the truth from the lies they’ve been told.

For the Sake of God

Many have said that this awareness crusade I’m on will be fruitless. They say it’s a crusade many have fought unsuccessfully. I say so why stop trying even with the possibility of failing again and again. If we can change one person’s heart wouldn’t that make a difference? To diminish one person’s distorted view by offering truth? Changes happen one person at a time and we have that capability to make those changes a reality.

I want to make a difference by standing up for what I believe in. One woman can do it. She just has to be willing and prepared to keep at it for the sake of God. Segregation was also a crusade fought for decades unsuccessfully but one woman changed that with standing and refusing to accept what was.

So should we just accept defeat without a continuous fight? My answer is no. I have history proving one person can make a difference and now that one person could be me or you.

Read Part 1 here.


Source: Muslimvillage


Conversion Stories New Muslims

If This Is Islam, I Want to Be Muslim- This Is How I Found Islam

How did Lauren Booth, a British journalist and broadcaster, find her way to Islam? When was the beginning?

What happened with her when she visited a Palestinian family? What was her first impression about Muslims? What lessons did this viit teach her about Islam?

Watch sister Lauren Booth  talks with Sheikh Fahd Alkandari about her journey to Islam and how she found Iher way to the religion …


Source: Fahad Alkandari Youtube Channel





Articles of Faith New Muslims

The Masjid: Status and Etiquette of the House of Allah

By Dr. Marwan Ibrahim Al-Kaysi

The masjid is where Muslims should pray five times every day, where they seek refuge from the troubles of this world, from its everlasting daily demands, its complications and its vanities.


1- A mosque should be built in every residential district.

2- The design of the masjid should be characterized by simplicity, as must be its furnishings.

3- The masjid should be devoid of any lavish kind of ornamentation, representation of anything, pictures or images.

4- Extravagance in spending large sums of money to build luxurious mosques should be avoided.

5- Members of the Muslim society should neither vie with one another about the virtues or beauties of any particular mosque nor compete in building ostentatious mosques.

6- Attaching pieces of gold or silver to any part of the masjid or its furnishings is forbidden.

7- The carpets and walls of the mosque should be devoid of a multiplicity of colors for that distracts the concentration of the worshippers.

8- Writing on the walls of the mosque, inside or outside, including Qur’anic verses or God’s attributes, should be avoided. The names of the Prophet and the first four
rightly-guided caliphs likewise should not be written.

9- The minbar should not be placed in the middle of the mosque. Its height should not exceed three steps.

10- Every mosque should have two entrances, one for men and one for women.

11- Lavatories should be sited as far from the masjid as practicable, and from the fountains or basins for ritual ablution.

12- Raising flags inside the masjid is an innovation.

Cleanliness and Tidiness

The masjid deserves to be the cleanest place on earth. Therefore:

1- Muslims must be sure before entering the masjid that their body and clothes are clean and do not smell bad.

2- Filth must be removed from shoes and the shoes removed before entering the masjid.

3- Although it is not forbidden to eat anything in the masjid, it is not a place for taking meals and drinks.

4 Whoever brings in or causes dirt in the masjid has a duty to clean it up and remove it. It is not the duty solely of the mosque caretaker to keep the mosque clean and tidy; it is also the responsibility of every Muslim entering the masjid and seeing any uncleanliness, to remove this from the mosque.

5- The masjid should be sprayed or sprinkled with perfume to give a pleasant odour.
The article is excerpted from the author’s book Morals and Manners in Islam (A Guide to Islamic Adab) published by The Islamic Foundation- 1986.

Dr. Marwan Al-Kaysi is Lecturer of Islamic Culture at Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.


Acts of Worship New Muslims

What is a Mosque?

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

A mosque is the building in which Muslims worship God. Throughout Islamic history, the mosque was the centre of the community and towns formed around this pivotal building. Nowadays, especially in Muslim countries, mosques are found on nearly every street corner, making it a simple matter for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers. In the West mosques are integral parts of Islamic centers that also contain teaching and community facilities.

Mosques come in all shapes and sizes; they differ from region to region based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area. Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

There are however, certain features that are common to all mosques. Every mosque has a mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Makkah; the direction towards which Muslims pray. Most mosques have a minbar (pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech.

Other common features include, minarets, tall towers used to call the congregation to prayer. Minarets are highly visible and are closely identified with mosques.  Normally there is a large rectangular or square prayer area. It often takes the form of a flat roof supported by columns or a system of horizontal beams supported by architraves. In other common mosque designs, the roof consists of a single large dome on pendentives (an Islamic contribution to architecture that allows the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room). There are usually separate prayer areas, with separate entrances for both men and women.

Mosques have developed significantly over the past 1400 years. Many have courtyards containing decorative pools and fountains, which originally supplied water for ablution before prayer. Nowadays however, more private bathroom and toilet facilities are provided.

Originally simple structures with earthen floors, now, mosque floors are usually covered with plush carpet.  They are more often than not decorated with straight lines of geometric designs that ensure Muslims stand in straight rows to perform their five daily prayers.

There are never any images of life or statues in mosques, for in Islam it is forbidden that such things are kept or displayed. At times, the interior walls of the mosque are decorated with verses from the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy, or with intricate geometric designs. The patterns are made from a variety of materials including mosaics, stucco, stone, ceramics, and wood. The more classical designs are referred to as arabesque, and they take the form of a radial grid in which circle and star shapes are prominent. Designs can be both two, and three-dimensional.

More often than not, even in arid desert countries mosques are cool, serene havens.  When a person enters a mosque he or she would have left the hustle and bustle of the material world and retreated into a calm shelter or sanctuary.

Mosques are houses of worship. Men are expected to pray all five daily obligatory prayers in a mosque, in congregation. Although women are welcome to pray in the mosque it is more praiseworthy for them to pray in their homes. Nonetheless, Muslims are permitted to pray anywhere, excluding filthy or impure places such as toilets or in graveyards. Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) said: “The entire earth was made a masjid for me”.  (Al-Bukhari)

Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. However, while the term mosque has come to mean a building specifically for prayer the word masjid has retained several layers of meaning.

In the very literal sense, masjid means place of prostration. The Arabic word comes from the root ‘sa-ja-da’ meaning to prostrate. When a Muslim’s forehead touches the ground, he or she is close to God. Prayer establishes the connection between the believer and his Lord and prostration symbolizes complete submission.

Many people have incorrectly stated that the word mosque is not a translation of the word masjid. They claim that the word mosque comes from the word mosquito and attribute it to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of 15th century Spain. However, the words mosque and mosquito are totally unrelated.

The word ‘mosque’ was introduced into the English language in the late 14th or early 15th century from the French.  It comes from the French word mosquée from the old French word mousquaie. The French, in turn, derived the word from the Italian word moschea from moscheta. The Italians got it either directly from the Arabic word masjid or from the old Spanish mesquite, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Thus we can see that the translation of the Arabic word Masjid, into English becomes mosque. A mosque is a house of prayer, and a place of prostration. It is a building designed and built specifically for the worship of Allah. It is where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, united in their love for God and their desire to please Him.