Love For The Masājid
The masājid are the Houses of Allāh ta‘āā and they should therefore be so beloved to a believer that his utmost desire should be to spend all of his time in them. In fact, every believer should entertain this thought, that if he had no other commitments, he would have spent his entire time in the masājid which have been described as the most beloved places to Allāh ta‘ālā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,
The most beloved places to Allāh are the masājid. (Muslim)
For a believer, the heart should always yearn to be in the masjid and even when occupied with matters of the world, such as family, work, etc., it should always remain attached to the masjid. Mālik ibn Dīnār rahimahullāh has stated that a believer inside the masjid is like a fish in water and a munāfiq (hypocrite) in the masjid is like a bird in a cage. A fish naturally has no desire to be out of water and if it is taken out, it will long to return and remain restless for as long as it is out of water. Similar is the case of a believer and how he feels about being away from the masjid. On the other hand, a munāfiq will feel uncomfortable in the masjid and anxiously wait for the salāh to end, just as how a bird feels uncomfortable in a cage and desires to be released. The point to reflect upon is do we feel restless outside the masjid or in the masjid?
This statement encourages us to inculcate love for the masājid, thereby visiting them frequently and remaining within them for as long as possible. If for any particular reason, or due to worldly necessities, one cannot remain longer in the masjid, the desire for staying longer and the urge to return at the first opportunity should at least be present in the heart. It is indeed regrettable to witness that even at salāh times, many Muslims remain sitting at home or wandering the streets instead of attending the masājid and performing salāh. And many who attend, come as late as possible and leave as soon as possible after salāh, only to hang around outside with friends. Many have become so negligent that in their haste to leave, they discard the performance of sunnah mu’akkadah and witr salāh as well.
Frequenting the Masājid is a Sign of Īmān
Love for the masjid, which is indicated by the desire to be present therein, is a sign of a believer and very rewarding in the Hereafter.
Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,
When you see a person frequenting the masjid then bear witness to his Īmān. (At-Tirmidhī)
Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has also said,
There are seven people whom Allāh will give shade in the shade of His Throne on the Day when there will be no shade except the shade of His Throne: … (one of them is) a person whose heart remains attached to the masājid… (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
If the condition of the heart is not such, then one should rectify it by compelling himself to come to the masjid at least fifteen to twenty minutes before jamā‘ah (congregational prayer) time and engage in some form of ‘ibādah. If one finds it difficult to come any earlier than the jamā‘ah time, then one should try and remain in the masjid for some time after the salāh. Moreover, it would also be beneficial to participate regularly in the durūs (lessons of Qur’ān or Hadīth) or similar Dīnī programmes that take place in the masjid.
Reward for Performing Salāh Close to the Imām
Another virtue of the masjid relates to the closeness of one’s position to the Imām when in salāh. The closer one is, the more virtuous one’s salāh becomes. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,
If people came to know of what (reward) there is in calling out (the adhān) and (performing salāh in) the first row and they could not attain this (reward) except if they drew lots, they would definitely draw lots. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
Due to our negligence in regard to Dīn and the Hereafter, we have become ignorant of even such rewarding virtuous acts. In order to understand this, it would