18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Decorating Masjids

The Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), said: "The Hour will not come to pass until people vie in boasting with each other in building masjids." [Abu Dawud]

The majority of the jurists (may Allah have mercy upon them) are of the view that it is disliked to decorate masjids with gold or silver, or engrave them, or write on them, or do any other thing that might distract the praying person from his prayer. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "I have not been ordered to build high and lofty masjids." [Ibn Habbaan] Ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) said: "Indeed you will embellish the masjids [and decorate them] in a similar way the Christians and Jews did to their places of worship." Imam Maalik and Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon them) also disliked the decoration of masjids. Some jurists of the Hanbali and Shaafi'ee school are of the view that it is forbidden to decorate masjids with gold or silver, and any such decoration should be removed, because it is a waste of money, and hurts the feelings of the poor.

We see that when substance vanishes people concentrate more on the forms. Decorating masjids is one such example. As Muslims have stopped behaving like Muslims, much attention is now given to beautifying their places of worship and the appearance of Islam. We give more importance to insignificant things to compensate for our leaving the commands of the religion, such as protecting Muslims and their land from the attacks of the Kuffar.

We don't see heads of Muslim countries competing to achieve closeness to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), or to implement the beloved Shariah prescribed by Him, or to return to the simplicity of original Islam: But we see them competing to make the more beautiful masjid or taller building or wear the most expensive suit. Companions such as Abu Hurairah, Abu Ad-Dardaa, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Abu Sa'eed (radi Allahu anhum) used to say: "If you [begin to] decorate the Quran and the masjids, then await your destruction."

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