One of the most important five pillars of Islam is Salah after Kalima. Offering Salah in the Masjid is mandatory unless there are some compelling reasons. Word “Masjid” literally means place of prostration (Sujood). . Masjid is also known as “Baithullah” or house of Allah s.w.t. Abu Hurairah(RA) narrates that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. 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.” Such is the sacred place of our Masjid.
People offering prayers have always shown deep respect towards the Masjid. It has always been a matter of pride and privilege for Muslims to live in the close vicinity. This not only adds to the convenience of offering salah but an opportunity to be the guest of the Allah s.w.t. five times every day. More than that, one gets a chance to connect with Allah s.w.t. in privacy by being the guest; also angels may say Ameen when the believer makes dua. At the same time, there are numerous verses in the Quran and Ahadith of Prophet s.a.w. instructing to uphold the sacredness of Masjid. One such which uphold the sacredness of Masjid is Abu Huraira (RA), who narrated that: Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said: “If salaat is started, do not approach it running, but approach it walking, with calmness. Whatever you catch up with, pray, and what you miss, complete it.”(Sahih Bukhari). The noise of running is unacceptable even at the cost of a believer missing out on prayer.
In the connected world, the communication device has not only made entry into the privacy of homes but has made unholy entry into the Masjid. Now people feel compelled to keep one eye on the screen and the other on the real world. Unfortunately, some believers walk into the Masjid with the devices on and are not even put on silent mode. Some phones bombard sleazy call-tones or notification buzz in the midst of the prayers. Some Masjid visitors use the ayah or poems to compensate for the unholy characteristics of the ringtones. As if they are less bothersome and more acceptable.
Allah s.w.t. has made praying in the Masjid mandatory so that one can disconnect from the commotion of the world outside. Unfortunately, people have brought all the distractions right inside. Imagine being asked by some important person to his office or home to discuss something significant. Amid the discussion, what thoughts would be running through his mind and that of the hosts if his phone starts buzzing? Some praying souls start uncontrollably reaching their annoying phone to press the button to put it to silent. Other few go to the extent of attending the calls and replying to the messages sitting in the Masjid. Some others do the first act after completion of prayer of opening the screen; maybe they get the message of acceptance of prayer instantly. Do these behaviors contest to be acts of an even a namesake believer?
If the believers complain of difficult times, there are attacks day-in-day-out challenging the very existence. Our prayers will continue to be hollow with such unscrupulous practices; we are not only jeopardizing our own salah but also the others. Seeking help through prayers has become a distant wish due to careless few attacking khushu and khudu.
If a believer cannot relieve himself from the intrusive phone for a few minutes while he is supposed to be standing in front of the Lord of Lords, it is advisable to refrain from visiting the Masjid. At least others are not troubled in their weak prayers. Time to introspect and attain to the call given by Allah s.w.t. in the holy Quran– “then where are you going” (Surah At-Takwir Verse 26)