Rules for Attending a Mosque
A mosque is a place where one can speak with Allah. Therefore the main condition for the attendance of a mosque is cleanliness both of your body and your soul. Cleanness and purity together with inner prayer, these are the two main rules on a visit to a mosque. The words of the Prophet defining those principles are so very wise one may only marvel at them: “Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Lillah (all praise and gratitude is for Allah alone) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Lillah fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof of one’s faith and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Quran is a proof on your behalf or against you.” (Sahih Muslim, 223)
Before going to the mosque, one must perform the minor ablution, the wudu: wash one’s hands and arms, clean one’s teeth and rinse the mouth and nose, wipe the head and wash the feet. There is an ablution room in each mosque.
The mosque is to be entered with the right foot first and exited with the left foot first. Allah has decreed that the right-hand side is pure. This is its ritual significance. When entering the House of the Lord which the mosque is, i.e. entering a holy place, one must therefore use the “pure” foot. Going back into the “impure” world one must use the “impure” foot for the purpose.
When entering the mosque, one must recite Bismillah, Allahumma iftah liabwaba rahmatik (O Allah, open the gates to me the gates of Your mercy). After then, one would do well reciting two rakats of the Tahiyatul Masjid prayer as a greeting to the mosque. Having done that, one may proceed to sit down. It is prohibited to sit in the mosque with your legs outstretched in the direction of the Qibla, this being extreme disrespect to the direction of the prayer.
It is forbidden in the mosque to raise one’s voice, to make noises, to be negligent to the mosque’s property. The keeping of order in the mosque is not only a duty of the mosque’s attendants, it is a duty of each and every one of us.
A man who reeks of rancid, disagreeable odours may not stay inside the mosque. Therefore, one should by all means avoid eating onion or garlic on the eve of the visit to the mosque.
All the worldly maters must be left behind on the outside of the mosque. Inside one may not discuss one’s work or conclude deals or carry out transactions and hold talks. The mosque is a place for prayer, not for doing business or settling family matters.
Turn off your mobile phones. If you must speak, go out and speak there.
Women and men must pray in separate premises, however, in absence of such premises women are allowed to join the line of men.
If you come late, do not rush or fuss about. Join the rest of the congregation quietly, finish what the imam is reciting together with him and read the part you just missed on your own afterwards.
When you look for a place to sit, do not get in other people’s way. And by no means pass in front of someone who is at prayer. Find a vacant spot by his side or behind him. “If the person who passes in front of another person in prayer knew the magnitude of his sin he would prefer to wait for 40 (days, months or years) rather than to pass in front of him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 510)
One may not leave once the adhan is underway, for this prayer is the main congregational profession of faith in front of Allah and no reason on earth is good enough to break it.
When exiting the mosque, say Allahumma innee as aluka min fadhlika (O Allah, I beseech you for your favour)
The main thing to remember when visiting the mosque is that Allah is Merciful. Come to Him with purity in your body and soul and with prayer and you will always find support and help in His Home.