How Should a Congregant be?
Mawlana Rashid Ali Attari Madani
The masjid holds a paramount significance in Islam, serving as the divine abode where Almighty Allah is revered and invoked. The esteemed Quran extols the masjid on over 21 occasions, urging the faithful to fill its halls, engage in spiritual retreats within its walls, and ensure its purity. We are admonished not to hinder the veneration of the Almighty therein but to devote ourselves in worship to Him within its sanctified confines.
Similarly, the importance, etiquette, merits, and rulings of masjids have been described extensively in the Sunnah. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم states, “Whoever loves the masjid, Allah loves him.”
The functionality of the masjid is based on four parts, viz. the imam, the muezzin, the management, and the worshipper.
We have explored the roles and responsibilities of the first in previous editions of Monthly Magazine Faizan-e-Madīnah. In this article, we will look at the worshippers and local community who congregate in the masjid.
This subject comprises of two parts:
1) Necessities of the masjid and the congregants and people of the locality
2) The conduct of the congregants and people of the locality with the imam and muezzin
1. Necessities of the masjid and the congregants and people of the locality
Even if the responsibility of cleaning the masjid is given to the muezzin or a helper, if a person from the congregants or the local people comes forward of his own accord and assists in cleaning, washing etc., this is not to be considered lowly at all, on the contrary there is much reward in this. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:
مَنْ اَخْرَجَ اَذًى مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهٗ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ
“Whoever removes a harmful thing from the masjid, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.”
Another hadith adds:
عُرِضَتْ عَلَيَّ اُجُورُ اُمَّتِي حَتَّى القَذَاةُ يُخْرِجُهَا الرَّجُلُ مِنَ المَسْجِدِ
“The reward of my ummah was presented before me; even the dirt that a man removes from the masjid.”
The youth from the locality should assist the cleaner on a weekly or fortnightly basis with the washing and cleaning of the masjid.
Residents of the area should be mindful of the masjid’s essential needs and associated costs. For perspective, a small home with two rooms accommodating a family of three to five has its set of expenses. Similarly, even a modest masjid equipped with fans, lights, a wudu area, and a sound system incurs electricity bills and potential repair costs. It would be commendable for each attendee to contribute to the masjid’s fund every Friday, according to their financial situation.
It should be borne in mind that those items should be donated to the masjid that are necessary for it. Some people, despite being advised repeatedly, do what pleases them and leave prayer mats, copies of the Quran, individual juzˈ and individual surahs in the masjid. Whereas these are already present there in abundance and like the existing ones these new ones will remain unused, collecting dust. Therefore, whenever you wish to spend anything on the masjid, consult with the committee or the imam first.
Some people have the habit of switching on a separate fan for themselves when entering the masjid when there is already a fan running and there is space under its airflow. Such people should consider how these fans are generating an electricity bill.
Normally there is a lecture after one of the prayers in the masjids. People should participate in such lectures as they convey the wealth of sacred knowledge. Similarly, when the first azan takes place on Friday, one should attend the masjid to attain Islamic knowledge from the imam’s sermon. In those masjids where congregants arrive on time, the Friday sermons are also delivered in an organised manner.
Those people who send food to convey reward to the deceased or for iftari should take back their crockery etc., on time. Some people do not do so and these accumulate in the masjid. Some people complain that their crockery is not returned, but the reality is they do not go to collect it. This should not be done; it does not befit a Muslim.
The members of the masjid committee themselves are part of the people of the locality and do not take any wages to organise the running of the masjid. Therefore, people should be conscious of this when speaking to them. Some people are seen accosting the committee members regarding a broken fan or light, lack of water etc., as though they are their household servants.
2. The conduct of the congregants and people of the locality with the imam and muezzin
Is there a higher honour for the position of imam than the fact that it was occupied by the revered Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the esteemed rightly guided Caliphs رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم and the role for which they selected the best people. Leadership of the prayer is a portion of the representation of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Likewise, announcing the azan is a very felicitous act. Therefore, the congregants and people of the locality should pay attention to the rights and needs of the imam and muezzin.
Lending, borrowing and business affairs are attached to every person. Hence, if alongside their responsibilities at the masjid they undertake permissible trade or employment, no one should have an objection. If some people adopt impermissible means in trade, this does not necessitate that the imam and muezzin do also.
Salah is a sacred duty, mandated by Allah. The jurists of Islam have meticulously outlined its regulations, including guidelines on whose leadership it should be performed under. Regrettably, some treat acts of worship, such as prayer, as if they fall within their personal preferences. When they perceive an imam to have made a slight error — or even when he hasn't but they mistakenly believe so — they opt out of following him in prayer. This is very wrong. An imam had backache, he would come and sit on a chair placed in the corner of the masjid. A congregant stopped attending the masjid just for this reason: ‘why does the Imam sit on a chair in the masjid?’
Keep your personal differences to yourself. In fact, as a Muslim one should keep a bond of brotherhood with other Muslims. Considering the imam or muezzin as one’s adversary due to personal differences is most unfortunate. An imam announced a particular event and an intelligent, educated congregant disappeared from the masjid. The imam noticed, and after a few days, went to meet him at his shop and asked him the reason for his absence, whereupon he learnt that he had a particular grievance against the organisers and because the imam announced their event, he abandoned prayer behind him.
Engaging with people regularly means navigating the ebb and flow of pleasant and less-than-pleasant conversations. It is imprudent to relish all the sweetness of a person's words and then, upon the utterance of a single bitter remark, sever ties. A person who has been active in delivering lessons and sermons for the last 15 years was discussing a matter with his local imam and during the conversation he disliked a particular word, so he did not attend the masjid for many months. May Allah Almighty grant us protection.
If the imam invites towards prayer or participation in a lesson, one should readily accept it. One should not express displeasure or irritation.
An atmosphere of love and compassion should exist between the imam and congregants to enable co-operation in righteousness. If enmity develops due to following of the desires and satanic objectives, effort must be made to eliminate this.
To be continued.
 Majmaʿ al-Zawa'id, vol. 2, p. 135, hadith 2031
 Imam ko Kesa hona Chiye? (Shawwal 1441 AH - Dhū al- Ḥijjah 1441 AH); Mu’azzin ko Kesa hona Chiye? (Ṣafar 1442 AH - Rabīʿ al-Awwal 1442 AH); Masjid Intizamia ko Kesa hona Chiye? (RabīꜤ al-Ākhir 1442 AH – Ramadan o Shʿ aban 1442 AH)
 Sunan Ibn Mājah: 757
 Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī: 2925