Abu Huraira (peace and blessings be upon him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever goes to the mosque in the morning and evening, Allah will prepare for him a place in Paradise for every morning and evening.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
For a believer, a mosque is more than just a beautiful structure of concrete. It is a space solely dedicated to worship, an act which forms the primary purpose of life. For a Muslim who is serious about their worship, feels strongly connected to a mosque, even if it is the first visit. I had the privilege of visiting some magnificent mosques over the course of my stay in some of the Arabian Gulf Countries.
Being in an Islamic rich environment, we have the privilege of mosques constructed at almost every junction for us. One may not understand the importance of this amenity unless they are punctual in their obligatory prayers and happen to travel to countries where this resource is scarce. The question also arises – prayer can be performed anywhere, then why so much fuss about having mosques constructed to facilitate believers ? Well, the answer is simple. The level of comfort that a person witnesses while performing ‘salah’ in a designated space, with access to water for ablution builds a valuable experience. (pic: The Grand Mosque of Kuwait)
Moreover, a mosque serves for more than being a place for prayer. It is a centre for Islamic events, ‘iftar’ during ‘Ramadan’, spreading education and information, a place for social welfare, and more.
The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Give glad tidings to the ones who walk in the darkness to the mosques, with full light on the day of judgement”. (Abu Dawud)
As a child, I remember visiting the ‘Al Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain’ for Eid prayers. This is one way to get children attached to mosques and what they have to offer. Visiting them to understand the etiquettes of this form of worship and generating opportunities to pray with people from different race and cultures, strengthens the sense of universal brotherhood. Moreover, a mosque is also a place which revives the Islamic history.
While on an ‘umrah trip’ Muslims also visit the mosque of Quba. This holds great importance in Islamic history. Three kilometres to the south of Madinah, this is where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions rested during the migration from Makkah to Madinah.
The Prophet (PBUH) said “Whoever purifies himself in his house, then comes to the mosque of Quba and prays in it, he will have a reward like the Umrah pilgrimage.”
Many of us have our own stories about mosques and the role they play in our lives. For me, my journey in understanding the message of Quran started in a mosque. Apart from this, there are several artistic benefits and importance of this blessing. Mosques display architectural importance in Islamic art and have exclusive exterior-interior decoration. They include the arabesque, geometric patterns, and calligraphy. These elements are combined in complex designs and fascinates every person who is exposed to it. Inevitably they add to the rich and diverse culture that Islam has produced in the course of time.
While all the above connections to these places of worship are real, the most important one is Islam’s great emphasis on community, brotherhood and unity. This is why the congregation prayer is highly encouraged in Islam. In fact, the reward is many times more than a prayer offered alone. This is why our beloved Prophet (PBUH) told us that the entire experience of attending the mosque, including every step taken to the House of God, is rewarded.