The Masjid is the best place on earth – it is the central place of worship for a Muslim. True faith, good character and obedience is learnt, developed and acquired in the Masjid. The Masjid is the centre for education, reformation and rehabilitation.
The person who frequents the Masjid is promised guidance, and the one whose heart is attached to the Masjid shall enjoy the shade of the Throne on the Day of Judgement when there will no other shade. (Tirmizi)
The lofty position of the Masjid requires that its due etiquette be maintained. The Jurists have outlined various etiquette pertaining to the Masjid that are explained hereunder:
Proceeding to the Masjid
Attending the Masjid is a special invitation from the Creator and Master, Allah Ta'ala to His slave to be present in His Court. Such an important and auspicious meeting requires preparation. Some points to ensure are:
1. Prepare in advance for Salah with the intention to visit the House of Allah and to meet Him.
2. Preferably perform Wuzu at home and focus one's attention to Allah Ta'ala. Avoid worldly talk and chores in this time.
3. Ensure that the body and clothing are clean and there is no unpleasant odour emanating from the body or mouth.
4. Proceed to the Masjid early, focus on the Greatness of Allah Ta'ala and make the intention of guidance, reward, knowledge and purification.
5. Approach the Masjid with humility, dignity and respect. Avoid laughing, raising one's voice, being inattentive and casual when proceeding to the Masjid.
6. Be cautious and considerate when parking. No inconvenience should be caused to others by blocking another vehicle or parking haphazardly.
7. Place one's shoes neatly on a shoe rack and where one will find it easily.
8. On the way, greet others cheerfully. Try to initiate greeting as this is a remedy for pride.
Entering the Masjid
9. Enter the Masjid with the right foot, reciting Durood Sharif and the Dua:
اَللَّهُمَّ افْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِك
Translation: O Allah! Open the doors of Your mercy for me. (Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)
11. Another Dua to recite:
أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ، وَبِوَجْهِهِ الْكَرِيمِ، وَسُلْطَانِهِ الْقَدِيمِ، مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيم
Translation: I seek protection in Allah the Great through His noble countenance and His Eternal Power from the accursed Shaytan. (Abu Dawood)
12. When leaving, depart with the left foot first and recite:
بِسْمِ اللّهِ وَالصَّلاَةُ وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللّهِ، اَللَّهُـمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْـلِكَ، اَللَّهُـمَّ اعْصِمْنِـي مِنَ الشَّيْـطَانِ الرَّجِـيمِ
In the name of Allah, and prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, I ask You from Your favour. O Allah, guard me from the accursed devil. (Muslim, Ibn Majah)
In the Masjid
1. Upon entering the Masjid, make the intention for I'tikaaf (seclusion from the world) for the duration of one's stay in the Masjid.
2. Perform Tahiyyatul Masjid, if it is not a prohibited time for Salah. (Bukhari)
3. In the Masjid one is a guest of Allah Ta'ala. Keep one's gaze low - be grateful for the opportunity.
4. Maintain silence in the Masjid and avoid unnecessary talk.
5. If there is no one in the Masjid, then recite “As salaamu alayna min Rabbina wa ala ibadillahis saliheen.” Also make Salaam when entering.
6. When visiting the same Masjid several times during the day, performing Tahiyyatul Masjid once will suffice.
7. Keep yourself engaged in Zikr, Salah, dua, meditation or seeking knowledge.
8. Dress simply and appropriately when coming to the Masjid. (Suratul A'raaf)
9. Keep the Masjid clean. It is virtuous to pick up dirt that is lying in the Masjid.
10. Scent the Masjid occasionally by burning incense, oud, etc.
Things to avoid in the Masjid
1. Do not indulge in any worldly conversation, meeting or transaction in the Masjid. (Shu'abul Imaan)
2. Do not use the mobile phone in the Masjid unless absolutely necessary. Ensure that it is on silent mode or switched off.
3. Avoid disturbing others by reciting aloud. However, if there are no other Musallees present, one may recite the Qur'an or make Zikr audibly. This will also apply if there are other attendants but the time has been fixed for recitation of Qur'an, Zikr or a programme.
4. Do not wear clothing or garments that are immodest, colourful or reveal parts of the body that should be covered.
5. The Masjid should not be used as a short-cut or thoroughfare. (Ibn Majah)
6. Anything with a bad odour should not be brought into the Masjid.
7. One who consumes garlic or onions should remove the odour before entering the Masjid. (Muslim). The same applies to those who smoke.
8. Avoid announcements that are not religiously related e.g. for a lost item, advertisement or other. (Muslim)
9. Do not perform Salah in such a place that obstructs the free movement of people. (Ibn Majah)
10. Do not force yourself into a space where space is insufficient.
11. Do not cross in front of a Musalli (person engaged in Salah). (Bukhari)
12. Do not raise the voice or engage in disputes and quarrels in the Masjid. (Bukhari, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
13.Do not bring children or a person who will cause a disturbance in the Masjid. (Ibn Majah)
14. Do not crack the knuckles, yawn noisily or fidget with the body or clothing in the Masjid.
15. Do not draw weapons in the Masjid.
16. It is not permissible to remove any of the Masjid's items for personal use.
Allamah Qurtubi (Rahimahullah) has stated that by observing the etiquette of the Masjid a person has fulfilled the rights of the Masjid and the Masjid becomes a fort of protection for him. (Maariful Qur'an)
Fiqh References: Fatawa Alamghiri & Raddul Muhtar