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What is the role of mosque in cultivating equality?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Mosque holds a monumental role in Islam, as well as cultivating equality. Just look at how people of all races assemble in mosques. All perform the same act of worship of prayer through the same actions as makmum following the imam. Everyone lined up in perfect line of saf, together offering supplication sharing the same hope. The following are the opinion of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradhawi in his book, Mosque as the Parliament of the Ummah:

Mosque is an institution that teaches us the meaning of equality. Where else can we find such equality among every Muslim showcased, other than in a mosque? The elderly sit together with children, the rich alongside the poor, ministers besides the labourer, leaders together with citizens, university professors and artistes are all assembled together without any difference between them.

There is no signage or protocols regarding the arrangement of position in the saf, such as the leaders and ministers are in the first saf, while the second saf is just for members of parliament, the third saf for senior government officials and others.

All of this is not applicable in a mosque. Whoever arrives early can straight away sit in the first saf and when the saf is full, the next person will sit in the next saf. There is no disparity among the people who wish to perform the prayer inside a mosque.

Until today, people in Western countries do not acknowledge this equality. There are churches especially for white people and especially for black people in their country. One day, a black man made a mistake and went into a church for white people. The pastor who was giving a sermon stops himself, looking at the black in the middle of the congregation.

He looked at him and sharply said, “Church for the black people is located on a certain road in a certain place.” His statement is meant to chase the man away from the church. Then the black man stands up and walks out of the church. This clearly shows how they differentiate people’s skin colour even in their rituals.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, a renown philosopher in India once asked, will there be a dispute and social unrest if a Brahmin and a technocrat stand together with the poor and needy from East India or perform worship in the same place?

As we know, the Indians have a long custom of the tradition of a caste system that has been in existence for hundreds of years. No one could climb up the caste, not even through education, work experience or certain ethics.

No matter how great or high the knowledge of someone is, or the change in social status, there will be no change towards the caste he was born in.

Brahmin caste is the leaders, they hold the highest caste. They are created from god’s mouth. Whereas others are created from the hand or legs of god or not even the creation of God; who are people that cannot touch or be touched by anyone with a higher caste. They are impure and unclean. There is no method for them to purify or improve themselves.

The true meaning of equality is in Islam and we are in a pure state while we are in the state of ablution in a mosque. We should learn about the institution and the purpose of the mosque.

We should build a relationship for ourselves and our children, to frequent ourselves to go to mosques so that they are not awkward to go there themselves later. Performing prayer in a congregation is 25 or 27 times prioritized. This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:

صَلاَةُ الْجَمَاعَةِ تَفْضُلُ صَلاَةَ الْفَذِّ بِسَبْعِ وَعِشْرِينَ دَرَجَةً

"Prayer in congregation is better than the prayer of a man by himself by twenty-seven degrees."

Muwatta Malik (288)

صَلاَةُ الْجَمَاعَةِ تَفْضُلُ صَلاَةَ الْفَذِّ بِخَمْسٍ وَعِشْرِينَ دَرَجَةً

"The prayer in congregation is twenty-five times superior to the prayer offered by person alone."

Sahih al-Bukhari (646)

Thus, who are among the people categorized as the people who enliven the mosques? Are they among the unemployed or people with careers? Allah SWT answers this question in the Quran:

فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالآصَالِ ﴿٣٦﴾ رِجَالٌ لا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْماً تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالأَبْصَارُ

“[Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings. [Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about.”

Surah al-Nur (36-37)

Hence, the people categorized as the people who enliven the mosques are not umemployed but people who work for a living.

This is what has been practised by the companions of the Prophet PBUH. A mosque is the house of Allah SWT, in accordance with hadith qudsi:

إِنّ بُيُوتِيْ فِي الأَرْضِ المَسَاجِدَ وَإِنّ زُوّارِيْ فِيْهَا هُمْ عَمّارُهَا فَطَوْبِى لِمَنْ تَطَهّرَ فِي بَيْتِهِ ثُمّ زَارَنِي فِي بَيْتيْ فَحَقّ عَلَى المَزُوْرِ أَن يُكْرِمَ زَائِرَهُ

Indeed, My house on earth are the mosques, and My visitors in mosques are those who enliven it. How lucky are those who purify themselves and come to visit Me in My house. It is an obligation for those who are visited to honour His visitors.

Sunan al-Tabarani

Thus, let us enliven our mosques with sermons and lectures for our spiritual needs as well as cultivating teamwork and cooperation among us. This will surely result in a united Jemaah under the eminence of Allah SWT’s house. This is the role of mosque.