The utility of mosque

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The utility of mosque

The importance of mosques assumes a new dimension during the holy month of Ramadan, especially because those observing fast make it a point to attend all the five-time prayers in mosques.

By Khwaja Mohammad Zubair

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Published: Fri 27 Jul 2012, 1:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:27 PM

Most of them also prefer to break fast in mosques where the demonstration of Muslim brotherhood is seen in all its freshness and glory. Thousands of people are seen breaking fast together and almost all mosques, all over the world are found flowing with the devotees.

The Arabic word for mosque is ‘masjid’, which means a place where one prostrates oneself, or a place of worship. It should be borne in mind that prayer can be offered anywhere. No particularly consecrated place is necessary for the holding of diviner service. However, the mosque plays a more important part in Islam than does any other house of worship in any other religion.

Where the Holy Quran speaks of the Muslims’ duty to defend and protect all houses of worship, to whatever religion they may belong, it speaks of the mosque last of all, but it mentions its distinctive characteristics, namely that the name of God is remembered there most of all:

“Did not God check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure” (22:40). The concluding words of the verse—mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure – are significant.

Many religious buildings are visited no more than once a week, but the mosque is visited five times a day for the remembrance of God’s name. In fact, if any house on earth can be called God’s house, on account of its association with the divine name, the house is the mosque which pre-eminently deserves the name: all other religious houses seem neglected in comparison.

The whole atmosphere of the mosque is charged with the electricity of the divine name. There is the call to prayer five times a day, which rends the air with cries of the greatness and unity of God; there is the individual service, carried on in silence, but with God’s name on the lips of every individual worshipper; there is the public service in which the Imam recites aloud portions of the Holy Quran, that tell of divine grandeur and glory, with the refrain of ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ repeated at every change of movement; and when the prayer is finished, there is again a chorus of voices speaking of divine greatness, making the mosque echo and re-echo with the remembrance of God.

It is true that God does not dwell in the mosque, but surely one feels His presence there. It will thus be seen that the mosque is the center of Muslim religious life. It is not a place to which a man may resort once a week to be inspired with a spiritual idea, which he will in all likelihood forget during the six days to follow; it is a place which sends forth, as it were, the blood of spiritual life, hour after hour, into the veins of the Muslim, and thus keeps his mind imbued with higher thoughts, and his heart alive in a real sense.

Being a meeting place of Muslims five times daily, the mosque serves as a training ground where the doctrine of the equality and fraternity of mankind is put into practice. It is undoubtedly true that every religion is based on the two fundamental principles of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, but it is equally true that no religion has been so successful in establishing a living brotherhood of man as has Islam, and the secret of this unparalleled success lies in the mosque.

The mosque enables Muslims to meet five times a day, on terms of perfect equality and in a spirit of true brotherhood, all standing in a row before their Great Maker, knowing no difference of colour or rank, all following the lead of one man. All differences and distinctions are, for the time being, obliterated. Without the mosque, the mere teaching of the brotherhood of man would have remained a dead letter.

Besides being its religious center, the mosque is also the cultural center of the Muslim community. Here the Muslim community is educated on all questions of its welfare. The Friday sermon is a regular weekly lecture on all such questions, but besides that, whenever in the time of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his successors it became necessary to inform the Muslim community on any matter of importance, a sermon or a lecture was delivered in the mosque. Even during his last illness the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) came out in the mosque and delivered a sermon to the people.

Source: The Religion of Islam by Muhammad Ali

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