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The masjid or mosque is the place of Muslim worship.

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Introduction

A Place of Muslim Worship Introduction The masjid or mosque is the place of Muslim worship. It is the central point of a Muslim community, therefore being the most important. The word 'Mosque' literally means a place of prostration. The word 'Masjid' originates from the word 'sajd' which means the place where one prostrates oneself. Men assemble in the mosque five times a day to pray in Jam'aah (congregation). The mosque is also a place for the community to gather, a place of learning and a place where food and shelter can be provided for travellers and the needy. This was also part of the mosque's role at the time of the Last Prophet. In this coursework we will look at: i) The features of a mosque, ii) The role and function of the Im�m (leader) in a Sunni mosque, iii) The role and function of the mosque itself in the Muslim community. i) Describe the main features of a mosque. Jam'aah Khana (Main Prayer Room) Muslims from the surrounding area of a mosque gather together. They unite as one ummah (community) with the same beliefs standing in front of the Lord, Allah. Muslims feel they can trust in one another and support one another, standing together as brothers/sisters. The Im�m uses a microphone at the front so that all can hear the sal�h. The mosque is not usually heavily decorated, as Muslims believe in simplicity. Picture of animals and humans cannot be displayed. Muslims believe that every step must be taken to ensure that their concentration remains fully and only on God. Beautiful, intricate patterns, however, may be used to decorate the mosque. In many mosques, the carpet is usually one that resembles many musallahs (prayer mats) together. In this area shoes cannot be worn. This is due to cleanliness. Many mosques have chandeliers, which are strikingly beautiful and yet not so extravagant. ...read more.

Middle

The mosque in Isl�m has an important role as the central part of the Muslim community. The Im�m, therefore, plays a great role and is not only important in the mosque but also a main part of the Muslim community. He not only leads the sal�h (five daily prayers), which are an essential part of a Muslim's daily life, but he is also a leader in the ummah (Muslim community). In the Qur'aan Allah encourages Muslims to follow leaders as well as the Qur'aan and Sunnah: "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the messenger and those in the authority of Isl�mic order." (Surah 4: Verse 59) The Im�m encourages the members of the community to attend sal�h, stating its benefits and the reward in the akhirah (after-life) for such little sacrifices in this dunya (world). An Im�m is chosen by his ilm (knowledge) of masaa'il (rules) of sal�h. He must be able to recite the holy Qur'aan well, as he leads the sal�h. The Im�m should also have a strong relationship with Allah. He should command what is good and forbid what is evil. "And the believers-men and women- are friends of one another, they command for the right and forbid the wrong, establish Sal�h and pay Zak�h and obey Allah and His messenger..." (Surah 9: Ayah 71) The Im�m should perform all his duties solely for the pleasure of Allah. He should connect himself to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. Before he passed away, the last prophet said: "I am leaving you with two things. If you hold steadfast to them, you shall never go astray. They are: the Holy Qur'aan and my Sunnah." (Hadith) The Im�m should be a person of understanding, aware of his surroundings. He should be studied in Isl�mic and human history. He must be patient and be able to defend his ideas in a presentable manner. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mosques that have the right facilities provide food on many occasions. The main occasion is in the month of Ramadhan. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, everyday for a whole month. At the time of iftaar (breaking of the fast), food may be provided at the mosque. Everyone eats together, sharing the food that Allah has given them, thanking Him for this blessing. This again, creates love and strengthens the bond of brotherhood between them. In the time of the prophet Muhammad, it was important for the mosque to be the main centre of learning. People used to sit in circles or rows listening, learning and teaching. This is still the case today. Giving to charity was also encouraged in the mosque of the prophet, especially at times when there was more need of it. In today's mosques there are always appeals for Afghanistan, Palestine, Kosovo, Chechnya, Bosnia and many other countries in need. When people travel and have nowhere else to stay, they stay in the mosque. This was also a practice at the time of the last prophet. Homeless people should also be given shelter in the mosque. The marriage ceremony was also performed in the mosque at the time of Muhammad. The role of the mosque in the Muslim community is much like it was 1400 years ago. The mosque caters for the needs of all the people in the community, young as well as old. The mosque is not only a place of worship and a place of learning, but it is also where many social events take place. Gatherings in the mosque, for whatever reason, strengthen the bond of brotherhood between Muslims. It creates love between them and unites them in their belief: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." The Qur'aan states the following: "Believers are but brothers, so set things right between your brothers and observe your duty to Allah so that you may obtain mercy." (Surah 49: Verse 10) ...read more.

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