Translated By: Vahid Pourtajrishi
Ay nation and religion has its special place for worshipping. For instance, the Christians use church or the Buddhists go to worship in their temple. Muslims also have mosques like any other religion in the world. But there is a difference between mosques and churches and that is their functions. Churches are used only as a place for worshipping and spiritual guidance while our mosques play their important role in social affairs and in materialistic life of Muslims also.
This function goes back to the first years after appearance of Islam and establishment of Medina as the political capital of Islam by our Grand Prophet. He constructed the first mosque after Majedul Haraam and Masjedul Aqsa. In the present essay, we try to explain the narrations and words of Quran about the nature of mosque. But firstly, we have to define ‘’Mosque’’ briefly.
Mosque in philology:
The ‘’Mosque’’ term is defined as the place of worshipping and praying which is the place name in Arabic Grammar. In religious literature, mosque is the place of worshipping and this term is used by Quran for twenty two times in single and six time in plural model (mosques). In Quran literature, mosques as the synonym of ‘’Bait’’ or House. Bait is used by Quran for twenty eight times which eleven out of this amount refers back to Masjedul Haraam (Ka’beh). But the ‘’Bait’’ term is used by Quran in some dimensions:
1) Some verses on Masjedul Haraam
-Baqarah Chapter, verses no. 144, 149,150,191,196,217
-Maeedah Chapter, verses no. 2 and 97
-Infaq Chapter, verse no.35
-Hajj Chapter, verse no.26
Qoraish Chapter, verse no.3
Nouh Chapter, verse no.28
· We have to consider some points abouth these verses:
1-1) Some verse are descent about the compulsory rules of mosques such as Qeblah rules, prohibition of killing in Masjedul Haraam and some of the other verses such as verse no.144 of Baqarah Chapter:
«قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِکَ فِی السَّمَاء فَلَنُوَلِّیَنَّکَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَکَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَیْثُ مَا کُنتُمْ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوِهَکُمْ شَطْرَهُ... »
This verse asserts the change of Qeblah story that God commanded to the prophet to turn the Qeblah from Masjedul Aqsaa into Masjedul Haraam. Hence, we can conclude that some of these verses are used to explain those rules in relation with mosque.
2-2) some of verse show the Kuffar’s prevention of Muslim coming in Mecca and Masjedul Haraam. These verses include: Baqarah Chapter, verse no.217 – Maedah Chapter verse no.2 – Anfaal Chapter verse no.34 – Hajj Chapter, verse no.25 – Fat’h Chapter, verse no.25. We show the verse no.34 of Baqarah Chapter for instance here:
: «یَسْأَلُونَکَ عَنِ الشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِیهِ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِیهِ کَبِیرٌ وَصَدٌّ عَن سَبِیلِ اللّهِ وَکُفْرٌ بِهِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَإِخْرَاجُ أَهْلِهِ مِنْهُ أَکْبَرُ عِندَ اللّهِ...»
This verse says that murdering crime is very heavy in Haraam Months but prohibiting Muslims from entrance to Masjedul Haraam is heavier crime. Hence, these verse explains the holiness and respect of the Masjedul Haraam beside of rthe rules.
3-3) some of verse are especial about some events. These verses are: the verses no 7 and 9 of Toubah Chapter, the first verse of Asraa Chapter, and verse no.27 of Fat’s Chapter. For example we can show the verse no.7 of Toubah Chapter here:
«کَیْفَ یَکُونُ لِلْمُشْرِکِینَ عَهْدٌ عِندَ اللّهِ وَعِندَ رَسُولِهِ إِلاَّ الَّذِینَ عَاهَدتُّمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ فَمَا اسْتَقَامُواْ لَکُمْ فَاسْتَقِیمُواْ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ یُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِی»
This verse points to the signed treaty between Kuffar and Muslims in mAsjedul Haraam and commands them to respect the treaty till they respect to it.the verse no. 19 of this Chapter says:
: «أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَایَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ کَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْیَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِی سَبِیلِ اللّهِ لاَ یَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ یَهْدِی الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِینَ»
In the first verse of Asraa Chapter, God reminds the Meraaj event and ascension of the Grand Prophet from Masjedul Haraam into Masjedul Aqsaa. In the verse no.27 of Fat’h Chapter, it is pointed to the True Dream of the Grand Prophet which asserts the entrance of Muslims to the Masjedul Haraam and defeat of Kuffar
2) Some verses on Masjedul Aqsaa:
This category includes the verses no. 1 and 7 of Asraa Chapter. God says in the first verse of Asraa Chapter:
«سُبْحَانَ الَّذِی أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَیْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِی بَارَکْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِیَهُ مِنْ آیَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِیعُ البَصِیرُ»
This verse believes that the ascension of the Grand Prophet was started from Masjedul Haraam and ended in Masjedul Aqsaa. In the verse no.7 of the same Chapetr also is pointed to the Masjedul Aqsaa:
. «إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِکُمْ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ الآخِرَةِ لِیَسُوؤُواْ وُجُوهَکُمْ وَلِیَدْخُلُواْ الْمَسْجِدَ کَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَلِیُتَبِّرُواْ مَا عَلَوْاْ تَتْبِیرًا»
These two verses explain two great events in our prophet’s life.
3) Some verses on Zeraar Mosque:
We have just one verse in this dimension ad that is the verse no.107 of Toubah Chapter which is descent on Zeraar Mosque:
«وَالَّذِینَ اتَّخَذُواْ مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَکُفْرًا وَتَفْرِیقًا بَیْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِّمَنْ حَارَبَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَیَحْلِفَنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلاَّ الْحُسْنَى وَاللّهُ یَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَکَاذِبُونَ»
The dignity of this verse is obvious and famous. The Munafeqin constructed a mosque in Medina which caused to disagreement between Muslims. The aim of this verse had been assertion of two points. Firstly, creation of disagreement among Muslims and secondly, constructing a base for spying in order to gather their forces against Muslims. Then, the grand prophet got the mission concerning destruction of the mosque. It was damaging the Muslims community and integration.
4) Some verses on Qobaa Mosque:
This dimension includes the verse no.108 of Toubah Chapter which is about Qobaa Mosque:
: «لاَ تَقُمْ فِیهِ أَبَدًا لَّمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَى مِنْ أَوَّلِ یَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِیهِ فِیهِ رِجَالٌ یُحِبُّونَ أَن یَتَطَهَّرُواْ وَاللّهُ یُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِینَ»
Purpose of this verse is Qobaa Mosque which is the symbol of Faith to God and was the first mosque which was constructed in Medina.
But sometimes the purpose of Mosque is the Mosque term and not any specific mosque:
«قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّی بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَقِیمُواْ وُجُوهَکُمْ عِندَ کُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِینَ لَهُ الدِّینَ کَمَا بَدَأَکُمْ تَعُودُونَ»
«یَا بَنِی آدَمَ خُذُواْ زِینَتَکُمْ عِندَ کُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وکُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ إِنَّهُ لاَ یُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِینَ»
«وَکَذَلِکَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَیْهِمْ لِیَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَیْبَ فِیهَا إِذْ یَتَنَازَعُونَ بَیْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَیْهِم بُنْیَانًا رَّبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ قَالَ الَّذِینَ غَلَبُوا عَلَى أَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَیْهِم مَّسْجِدًا»
We have to say about the first verse that many converse views are available about the meaning of mosque here. For example, Allameh Tabatabaei believes that mosque means praying (in this phrase) and says:
‘’ it is compulsory for any worshipper to separate non-praying from praying and attention to be the God’s servant instead of non-service’’
The second verse emphasises on being trimmed in the time of going to mosque as a praiseworthy affair for going to mosque. But some of interprators of Quran believes that the purpose of verse is in fact the spiritual beautifulness and not apparent. The dignity of this verse backs to the time disagreement on constructing a building at gate of the Seven Sleepers Cave, mosque or temple?
But about the third verse, we have to explain that there are six verses in Quran which contains ‘’Masajed’’ Term:
Baqarah Chapter, verses no. 114 and 187 – Toubah Chapter, verses no.17 and 18 – Hajj Chapter, verse no. 40 and Jin Chapter, verse no. 18. Here we points to a verse as example:
« .... وَلاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاکِفُونَ فِی الْمَسَاجِدِ تِلْکَ حُدُودُ اللّهِ فَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهَا کَذَلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّهُ آیَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ یَتَّقُونَ»
Most of these verses explain the religious rules of the mosques such as Itikaaf and mosques repairing. Just one verse is given about the prohibition of Kuffar entrance to the mosque and preventing them from destructing or damaging mosques. But there is a doubt about the meaning and interpretations of the verse no. 18 of Jin Chapter. Some of scholars interpret the mosques in this verse as the Masjedul Haraam and some of them believe that it means Kabeh. Some of them also interpret it as both of these holy places. But it seems that the purpose of ‘’Masajid’’ in this verse is the seven points of man’s body which have to be connected to earth when he is praying. According to these twenty eight verses and any other verse which contains Bait term and this term means Mosque, there are three considerable points:
First, many verses are used as the description of the rules and expalaination is their function. But we have to refer to the narrations and Sunnah for having deeper and exacter understanding of them.
Second, some of them are used as reporter. Those report to the Grand prophet from future and notified him to be aware. For example Quran reports from future that Mushrekin leave the Masjedul Haraam or their entrance to this mosque is will be forbidden.
Lastly, some of verses reports or explains a specific event such as the grand Prophet’s descending, the Qobaa Mosque event or the Zeraar Mosque. There are many narrations and verses about mosque but we point to some of them as example:
The Grand Prophet of Islam says:
« مَنْ أَسْرَجَ فِی مَسْجِدٍ مِنْ مَسَاجِدِ اللَّهِ سِرَاجاً لَمْ تَزَلِ الْمَلَائِکَةُ وَ حَمَلَةُ الْعَرْشِ یَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لَهُ مَا دَامَ فِی ذَلِکَ الْمَسْجِدِ ضَوْءٌ مِنَ السِّرَاجِ »
«وَ رَوَى جَمَاعَةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا فِی کُتُبِ الِاسْتِدْلَالِ عَنِ النَّبِیِّ ص أَنَّهُ قَالَ: جَنِّبُوا مَسَاجِدَکُمُ النَّجَاسَةَ»
. «أَبِی رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ یَحْیَى الْعَطَّارُ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَحْمَدَ بِإِسْنَادِهِ رَفَعَهُ ... قَالَ وَ رَفْعُ الصَّوْتِ فِی الْمَسَاجِدِ یُکْرَهُ»