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MASJID OR MOSQUE


A Masjid or Mosque is the building in which Muslims worship Allah سبحانه و تعالى(The 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.

 

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 (or pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech.

 

Table of Contents

 

Linguistic meaning

In the very literal sense, masjid means place of prostration.  The Arabic word comes from the root “sa-ja-da” meaning to prostrate. 

 

Islamic meaning

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 سبحانه و تعالى.  It is where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, united in their love for Allah سبحانه و تعالىand their desire to please Him.

 

Common features

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. 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.

 

Qur’an

Allah سبحانه و تعالىThe Exalted Says (what means): {And [He revealed] that the Masjids are for Allah سبحانه و تعالى, so do not invoke with Allah سبحانه و تعالىanyone.} Qur’an.Surah Al-Jin 72:18.

 

O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good - that you may succeed. Quran.Surah Al-Hajj 22:77.

 

Hadith

Prophet Muhammad said, The entire earth was made a masjid for me. Abu Dawud 489 and Tirmidhi 1533

 

Prophet Muhammad , said: "The entire earth is a suitable place for praying except for graves and bathrooms." Al-Tirmidhi, 317; Ibn Maajah, 745; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani رحمت اللهin Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 606

 

Misconception

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 mesquita. [1]

 

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition; © 2000 Houghton Mifflin Company. Online Etymology Dictionary [2]

 

Note:But it is always preferable to use the word which is used in the Qur’an i.e., Masjid. 

 

References

[1] http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/2748/

[2] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=mosque&searchmode=none

 

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