In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful



[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


INTRODUCTION: Masjid is the heart of Muslim Ummah. It is the barometer and the manifestation of its multifarious social, cultural, religious and educational activities. A vibrant Muslim community is judged by its various activities that are centered in and around it.  It is not only the place of worship giving a clarion call to the followers of Islam five times a day for obligatory prayers and open declaration form its minarets and pulpits that Allah is our Lord, One and only One, don’t make any partner with Him or His authority; Mohammad (S) is the Messenger of Allah and  rush to get Falah [success] of both the worlds.   However, it is a different question that neither the Muslims undertake this call as the mission of their life though they are calling the humanity five times a day nor the listeners understand what for the call is given so loudly and vociferously, echoing the four walls of every home and hearth in its surrounding.  Can there be any thing more tragic than this exercise in “futility”? When this Azan [call for prayers was given by Belal bin Rebah (RA) at the time of Rasulullah (S) people used to stop everything what they were doing and rush to Masjid-e-Nabavi and when this Azan was given by a Mujahid fi Sabeel al-Allah [one who struggles in the way of Allah], Batil used to  shiver in its boots.


It establishes the need and importance of Masajid for Muslims. That is why it is the top most priority of their community life to begin with.  Whereever Muslims went they built a mosque as their first and foremost requisite to cater their socio- cultural, religious and educational needs.




Rasulullah (S) and his (S) beloved companions in Makkah were offering their individual prayers in the Haram [Baitullah – the House of Allah]. But when Hijra [migration] took place, Rasulullah (S) built the first mosque in Qubbah within a few days of his arrival, the first mosque that was built on Taqwah. He then moved to Madinah and stayed at the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari (RA)


His (S) very first move in Madinah was to build the Masjid which is called “Masjid-e-Nabavi.  He (S) himself personally participated in its construction. This was and is the model mosque for the Ummah to follow. It was not simply a mosque but Rasulullah (S) used it for different needs and urgencies of the growing Muslim Community and state.


* It was the sacred place for offering Five times prayers where Belal (RA) was the Muazzin [who calls for Azan] and Rasulullah (S) himself was the Imam, leading the obligatory prayers. He (S) was the Khateeb of the Masjid, reciting the revelations of Qur’an from Allah {SWT), explaining its meaning and concept to his (S) beloved followers. He (S) was doing their Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah, both individually and collectively, trimming their behavior and building a trust worthy character in each of them. In fact, it was not only a Masjid but a Training Institution to build the future leadership of the Ummah.


* It was the community hall of Muslims in Madinah. It was the place where the marriages were taking place and where the coffins of dead people were brought for offering the last prayers for the departed souls and making Du’a for his or her Maghfirah [pardon] before the burial.


* It was the open Residential University of Madinah where poor Muslims used to stay, devote their entire time in learning the Qur’an, the Hadith of Rasulullah (S) and the problems of Fiqh. Rasulullah (S) reserved a place for them in the Masjid where these students used to attend the classes during the day and sleep in night. These brothers were known as “Ashabe Suffah”. They were full time students and general Muslims used to arrange for their food and other needs on voluntary basis. Maa'z bin Jabal (RA), Abu Hurairah (RA) and Abdullah bin Umru bin A’s (RA) were the few accomplished students of this University. Rasulullah (S) himself was their teacher and guardian and was always mindful of their educational, physical and spiritual needs as well as the general Muslims of Madinah were taking care of them. 


* These devoted brothers of Ahley Suffah were also the standing team of volunteers of Rasulullah (S). He (S) used to send their selected teams for various Dawah errands as and when needed. They served as the Reservists of Rasulullah (S) with the growing needs of Islam that was expanding all around the Madinah and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. The growing State of Madinah was taking care of this hot bed of the first Open University of Islam which was an integral part of Masjid-e-Nabavi from its very inception within its premises.


* Masjid Nabavi was equally the House of Parliament of Muslim Ummah.  All the political issues of the time were discussed and resolved in it. Foreign delegations were received in the mosques and heard. Missions to kings and monarchs of time were arranged and sent from here. Delegations from different tribes visiting Madinah were entertained in the Masjid. Equally, the decisions about war and peace used to take place within its premises.


* Simultaneously, the Masjid was also serving as the Supreme Court of the fast growing Islamic State. Rasulullah (S) was its Chief justice and he (S) used to decide all the cases that were referred to him and brought to him for his adjudication, especially by the Jewish community of Madinah.


* Games and sports too were conducted often within its premises. The acrobatic game was displayed in the Masjid when a team came from Ethiopia and Rasulullah (S) helped A'yesha Siddiqa (RA) to watch the game standing at his (S) back. The war booty [Ghanimah] was first stored in the Masjid and then distributed amongst the general Muslims as per directive of Allah. Even the POWS from the battle of Badr were kept tied with the pillars of the Masjid. It thus served at the jail for prisoners.


This long list of the activities that were going on in the Masjid Nabavi shows that the Masjid Nabavi was the hub of all socio-cultural-religious-political-judicial- martial activities of the Muslims Ummah whose paramount leader was Rasulullah (S).  He (S) was the head of the state, the commander-in-chief of his army, the supreme judicial authority of the time, the law giver and its final interpreter, the administrator, the benevolent Murabbi and Muzakki and the Masjid was his (S) Head Quarter in all respect and for all purposes. Muslim sisters too were equally attending the Masjid at prayers time and Rasulullah (S) was often addressing them for their special training.    


LET THE MASAJID PLAY THEIR ROLE: So far the Muslim Ummah maintained this status quo, giving central focus to Masjid for all of its multifarious activities, keeping it as the barometer of their community or as an Ummah, they were dominating the world. Since the time our Masajid lost that status, the fate of Ummah is doomed. Masajid have become just the decorated prayer halls like the Churches and the Synagogue. Muslim Ummah has lost its charm and leadership. In most of the Muslim states, the Khateeb are state appointees, and doors of Masajid  are opened only for Salah, reciting Qur’an, funeral ceremonies and delivering lectures on Fridays by  State or Awqa’f    appointed Imams who speaks only what they are directed to speak by State’s Awqa’f ministries.


Muslims must think their position as what they have become and compare it with the condition of their Mosques and see where they stand today in the community of nations. Till the time they do not make their Masajid as the barometer of their total life span, free its atmosphere from the clutches of the political despotic rulers of their respective country, they will never be able to resurrect their fate. Their revival is hanging with the fate of their Masajid. Let our Mosques be the center of all of our activities as was the situation at the time Rasulullah (S). Only then the leadership of this world will pass on to Muslims. Let us make our Masajid Dawah cum service cum justice oriented. It will change the hovering dark clouds of despondency that have enveloped the Ummah with the shinning clouds of hope and resurrection, Insha Allah.


Shamim Siddiqi

April 30, 09