The earth as a mosque
Allah the Exalted has conferred a special blessing upon this ummah – that is, the whole earth has been declared a mosque for it. Therefore, when the time for prayer comes, a Muslim may pray wherever he may be. Abu Dharr asked the Prophet, “What was the first mosque on the earth?” He said: “The Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah].” Abu Dharr asked: “which is the next oldest mosque?” The Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam said: “The al-Aqsa Mosque.” Abu Dharr asked: “How much time was there between [the building of the two].” The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam replied: “Forty years.” Then, he said: “Wherever you may be, at the time of salah, you may pray for it [the earth] is all a mosque.”
Allah’s love for mosques
Of all the places on this earth, the mosques are the dearest to Allah, and the markets are the most offensive to Him. In another hadith it is stated: mosques are the gardens of paradise.
The excellence of building mosques
‘Uthman reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever builds for Allah a mosque, seeking by it Allah’s grace, Allah will build for him a house in paradise.”
Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever builds for Allah a mosque, even if it be tiny, like a bird’s nest, Allah will build for him a house in paradise.”
However the mosque must be built with the correct intention. See surah Taubah:
107 And as for those who chose a place of worship out of opposition and disbelief, and in order to cause dissent among the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against Allah and His messenger aforetime, they will surely swear: We purposed naught save good. Allah bears witness that they verily are liars.
108 Never stand (to pray) there. A place of worship which was founded upon duty (to Allah) from the first day is more worthy that you should stand (to pray) therein, wherein are men who love to purify themselves. Allah loves the purifiers.
Embellishing the Mosques
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “The Hour will not come to pass until the people vie with each other in (building) the mosques.” This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, anNasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban who calls it sahih. Ibn Khuzaimah’s wording is: “A time will come when the people will vie with each other in (building) the mosques but very few will attend (the mosques).”
Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “I have not been ordered to build high and lofty mosques.” Abu Dawud’s version adds: “Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘You will certainly embellish them as the Jews and Christians embellished [their places of worship].”‘ The preceding hadith was related by
‘Umar ordered mosques to be built and would say: “Protect the people from the rain. Beware of red and yellow decorations for they distract people.”
After the masjid is built, it then must be maintained, or else it will deteriorate. Allah tells us who can maintain His houses in Surah At-Tauba.
17 It is not for such as join gods with Allah to visit or maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: in fire shall they dwell.
18 The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day establish regular prayers and practice regular charity and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.
This ayat shows that not only the trustees of the masjid but also the ones who pray in the masjid must be believers. So one may ask:
What are the requirements for a trustee of a Musjid?
A trustee should be an up righteous, pious male. His salient features will be: Regular performance of the daily Salaat with Jamaat; Islamic appearance—full beard and Islamic dress; adequate Deeni knowledge pertaining to the affairs of the Musjid. If he lacks adequate knowledge, he has to incumbently function after obtaining the ruling from the Ulama. It is not permissible to appoint a faasiq to any position of trust. Examples of fisq are shaving or trimming the beard; wearing the trousers below the ankles; dressing in kuffaar garb; irregular with Salaat; gambling; habitually speaking lies; indulgence in gheebat; violation of Hijaab; disobedience to parents, causing distress to them; dishonesty, and generally acting in flagrant violation of the Shariah. Those who persistently commit these kinds of misdeeds are unfit for positions of trust. It is not permissible to appoint such unqualified men.
The excellence of proceeding to the mosque to attend salah
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “If anyone goes back and forth to the mosque [to attend the prayers], Allah will prepare for him a feast in paradise as often as he goes back and forth.” Abu Sa’id reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “If you see a man frequenting the mosque, then testify that he has faith. As Allah says,’The attendants of Allah’s mosque are those who believe in Allah and the last day [At-Taubah 18].”‘ Muslim records, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that the Messenger of Allah said: “If anyone purifies himself in his house, and then walks to one of the houses of Allah to fulfill one of the obligations laid down by Allah, then [each one] of his steps will erase one of his sins and the next will raise his degrees.”
Abu ad-Darda’ reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “The mosque is a house for every pious person, and Allah provides everyone whose house is the mosque with comfort, leisure, and a path to Allah’s pleasure, to paradise.”