God has commanded His believers in the Quran to be frequent to masjids belonging to Him to remember His name therein. Masjid is an Arabic word whose Aramaic counterpart is “masgid” meaning a place of worship being Semitic root while Aramaic is one of the scriptural languages. To the Muslim community it is well known as mosque, which is a building or structure wherein the congregational Salat prayer is observed being house of worship or prostration.
Instances of masjid
There are 28 instances of masjid in the Quran found in singular and plural form, are reviewed in order to gain a better understanding of the commandment to be frequent to God’s masjids as well as the Sacred Masjid:
[2:114] And who are more evil than those who abstain from God’s masjids (masaajida allahi), wherein His name to be remembered, and strive in their ruin? It is not for them that they enter them except in fear. They will have humiliation in this world as well as will have a dreadful retribution in the Hereafter.
Note: The commandment for the believers to attend God’s masjids regularly to remember Him along with a severe warning of humiliation for not going to God’s masjids.
[2:144] We see the turning of your face towards the sky. Thus, we set for you a focal point that will be pleasing to you. You shall turn your faces towards the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami); and wherever you may be, you shall turn your faces towards it. And those who have been given the scripture know that it is the truth from their Lord. And God is not unaware of what you do.
[2:149] And from anywhere you are, then you shall turn your face towards the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami). Indeed, it is the truth from your Lord. And God is not unaware of what you do.
[2:150] And from anywhere you are, then you shall turn your face towards the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami). And wherever you may be, you shall turn your faces towards it; that the people will have no room for debate with you, except those of them who are wicked. You shall not fear them, but fear Me; so that I may complete My blessing upon you and that you may be guided.
Note: Qibla was restored back towards the Sacred Masjid, and it was just a test for the believers for changing it towards Jerusalem while God’s commands must be complied at all situations to be guided by Him.
[2:187] Permitted for you is to approach unto your wives during the nights of fasting. They are garments for you and you are garments for them. God knew that you used to betray your souls. So He has redeemed you and has forgiven you. Now, you may have relation with them and seek what God has permitted for you. And you may eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then, you shall fast until the night. And do not have relation with them while you are devoted in the masjid (`aakifoona fee al-masjidi). These are the God given limits, so do not transgress them. Thus, God makes His revelations clear to the people so that they may be righteous.
Note: It is an update in the Quran permitting sexual relation during the nights of Ramadan fasting excluding those who will volunteer to devote themselves in the masjids. However, the mention of masculine form in the commandment does not exclude the women if they wish to devote themselves in the masjids.
[2:191] And you may kill them where you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out. Oppression is worse than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid (inda al-masjidi al-haraami), unless they fight you in it. But if they fight you, then you may kill them. Such is the requital for the disbelievers.
Note: Fighting is prohibited in the Sacred Masjid except against aggression.
[2:196] And you shall complete the Hajj and the ‘Umrah for God. But if you are prevented, then you shall make an animal sacrifice what is easy to obtain, and do not shave your heads until the animal sacrifice reaches its destination. But whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of his head, then you may expiate either by fasting or giving a charity or a sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever continues the ‘Umrah to the Hajj, then he shall make an animal sacrifice what is easy to obtain. But whoever has no animal sacrifice, then you shall fast for three days during the Hajj and seven when you return. This is ten in all; that is for him whose family does not live near the Sacred Masjid (haadiree al-masjidi al-haraami). And you shall fear God, and know that God is severe in enforcing the retribution.
Note: Here is the reference of the Sacred Masjid in connection with the observance of Hajj that the animal sacrifice can be substituted with ten days of fasting.
[2:217] They ask you about the sacred month whether there is fighting in it. Say: “Fighting is sacrilege in it, but repelling from the path of God and disbelieving in Him and the Sacred Masjid (wa-al-masjidi al-haraami), and driving out its people is a greater sin with God while oppression is worse than killing.” And they will fight with you until they turn you away from your religion if they are able. And whoever among you turns away from his religion, then he dies while a disbeliever, then these has nullified their works in the worldly life and the Hereafter, and these are the people of the Fire, they will abide in it forever.
Note: To call any other masjid to be the Sacred Masjid other than the Sacred House (Ka’ba) is a gross sin.
[5:2] O you who believe, do not violate the rites of God, nor the sacred month, nor the animal sacrifice, nor what is garlanded with, nor those coming to the Sacred House (al-bayta al-haraama) for seeking bounty from their Lord and blessing. And when you come out of Ihram, then you may hunt. And let not you incite the hatred for a people when you are prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami) that you transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in committing sin and aggression. And you shall fear God, indeed, God is severe in enforcing the retribution.
Note: Those who came to the Sacred House to observe Hajj shall fulfill all its rituals and shall not incite the hatred for the people if they are prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid.
[7:29] Say: “My Lord encourages justice. And you shall stand yourselves at every masjid (inda kulli masjidin), and call upon Him being sincere, devoted the religion to Him as He initiated you, so you will return.”
Note: Here is the commandment for the believers to call upon God being sincere at every masjid.
[7:31] O Children of Adam, you shall dress up nicely every time to the masjid (inda kulli masjidan). And eat and drink but do not be immoderate. Indeed, He does not love the immoderate ones.
Note: Here is the commandment to attend the masjid with appropriate dressing.
[8:34] And what is for them that God should not punish them as they prevented from the Sacred Masjid (‘anial-masjidi al-haraami), while they were not its custodians? Not are its custodians except the righteous while most of them do not know.
Note: God will punish those who prevented others from the Sacred Masjid.
[9:7] How can the idol worshipers have a pledge with God and with His messenger except those with whom you made a pledge at the Sacred Masjid (inda al-masjidi al-haraami)? As long as they are honest with you, so long you are to be honest with them. Indeed, God loves the righteous.
Note: If the idol worshiper break the treaty made at the Sacred Masjid, the believers will have to do the same to be honest with them.
[9:17] The idol worshipers are not to go to the masjids of God (masaajida allahi) while they witness their own disbelief. Those have nullified their works and they will abide forever in the Fire.
Note: The idol worshipers whether they go to God’s masjids or not that does not matter, their destination is Hell wherein they will abide forever.
[9:18] Only those who believe in God and the Last Day, and observe the Contact Prayer and give the obligatory charity, and do not fear except God, will be frequent to the masjids of God (ya’muru masaajida allahi). Then it is that those are the guided ones.
Note: Those who fear God as well as believe in Him and the Last Day to be frequent to God’s masjids including fulfilling other obligations.
[9:19] Have you made providing water to the pilgrims and taking care of the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami) like who believes in God and the Last Day, and strives in the cause of God? They are not equal to God, and God does not guide the wicked people.
Note: Taking care of the pilgrims and the Sacred Masjid is not an alternative of the righteous works and those who do so are not the guided ones.
[9:28] O you who believe, the idol worshipers are wicked; they shall not be permitted to approach the Sacred Masjid (yaqrabual-masjidi al-haraami) after their year of this. And if you fear loss of income, then God will enrich you of His bounty as He wills. Indeed, God is Omniscient, Most Wise.
Note: There is an assurance for the believers to compensate the loss for not allowing the idol worshipers to join at the Sacred Masjid anymore, which indicates the righteous to be the custodians of the Sacred Masjid.
[9:107] And those who have established a masjid (ittakhadhu masjidan) for misuse and disbelief, and division among the believers, and as a station of those who fought God and His messenger before. But they will surely, swear, “We do not wish except the good” while God bears witness that they are liars.
Note: The masjid that was not founded on the basis of righteousness is not worthy of praying in it.
[9:108] You shall never stand in it. A masjid (la’masjidun) founded on the righteousness from the first day, is more worthy that you shall stand in it. In it, there are people who love to be purified and God loves those who purify themselves.
Note: Those who wish to purify themselves should be regular to the masjid, which is founded on the basis of righteousness but to avoid what is not founded on the basis of righteousness.
[17:1] Glory be to the One who took His servant (Muhammad) by night from the Sacred Masjid (min al-masjidi al-haraami) to the farthest place of worship (ilaa al-masjidi al-aqsa) which we had blessed its surroundings that we may show him of our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearer, the Seer.
Note: Muhammad, the soul not the person was taken to the ultimate point (53:14) to place the entire Quran into his soul that took place in 13 B.H (610 A.D.).
[17:7] If you do good, you do so for yourselves, and if you do evil, then it is so (for you). So when the promise of the second time came, they will make your faces filled with sorrow and will enter the masjid (al-masjidi) as they entered the first time, and they will completely destroy what they had conquered.
Note: Those who do good, do it for themselves and those who do evil, do it for themselves while the ultimate winner is the righteous.
[18:21] And thus we caused them to be discovered so that they would know that God’s promise is true, and the Hour wherein there is no doubt. When they disputed among themselves about their affair, they said, “Let us build a building around them.Their Lord is the best knower about them.” Those who prevailed said, “We will have a place of worship around them (lanattakhadhanna `alayhim masjidan).”
Note: The story of the dwellers of the cave, the young Christians who followed the teachings of Jesus but fled away from the prosecution of the neo-Christians who proclaimed a corrupted Christianity, the Trinity doctrine followed by the Nicene Conference at 323 AD after the death of Jesus. The history and archeological discovery are considered together to depict the truth around the dwellers of the cave. Franz Miller, an Austrian archeologist discovered the tomb of the dwellers of the cave located in Ephesus about 200 miles south of ancient Nicene, and 30 miles south of Izmir in Turkey in 1928.
[22:25] Surely, those who disbelieved and prevent from the path of God and the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami) that we made it for the people equal therein for the resident and the visitor but whoever intends deviation with wrongdoing therein, we will make him taste of the painful retribution.
Note: Those who disbelieve and prevent others from the path of God and the Sacred Masjid will suffer the painful retribution.
[22:40] Those who are driven out of their homes without justice except that they said, “Our Lord is God.” And if God had not exposed some people by others, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and masjids (masaajidu) wherein the name of God is remembered would have been destroyed. And surely, God helps him who helps Him. Indeed, God is Powerful, Almighty.
Note: Monasteries are places of worship wherein the name of God would have been remembered so are the masjids to remember the name of God therein.
[48:25] They are the ones who disbelieved and hindered you from the Sacred Masjid (‘anial-masjidi al-haraami), and prevented your offerings from reaching their destination. And there had been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, you may have hurt them, and you would have committed a sin unknowingly. God will admit into His mercy whomever He wills. If they were apart, We would have punished those of them who disbelieved with a painful punishment.
Note: The believers who has committed sin for hurting the believing men and women unknowingly in the opposition group will admit into God’s mercy.
[48:27] God has fulfilled His messenger’s vision with truth: “You will enter the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami), God willing, secure, having with your heads shaven and shortened, without having any fear.” Thus, He knew what you did not know, and He granted, besides that a near victory.
Note: The final victory came when the prophet accompanied by the believers were able to enter the Sacred Masjid to fulfill Hajj rituals.
[72:18] And that the masjids belong to God (al-masaajida lillahi), so do not call anyone with God.
Note: Masjids are places wherein God is remembered without associating anything or anyone with Him to avoid idol worship.
Studying each verse cited and context, 26 instances of masjids including the instance of the Sacred House (al-bayta al-haraama) out of 29 have been found relevant to the commandment to be frequent to masjids including the understanding of the Sacred Masjid. These 26 instances are found in 25 verses across 9 suras of the Quran. If the relevant sura and verse numbers are added, the sum is a multiple of 19 =>1976 = 19x104 (see the table below for details):
Note: The highlighted verses in the table indicate the instances of the Sacred Masjid (al-masjidi al-haraami) including one instance of al-bayta al-haraami (the Sacred House) in 5:2 while the instances of masjid in the verses, 9:107 for ordering us not to stand in it and 18:21 for reflecting the importance of the story of the dwellers being a monumental-like instance of masjid are not included in the mathematical calculation. The instance of al-masjidi al-aqsa translated to the farthest place of worship in 17:1 does not contribute to the mathematical confirmation for not being an instance of any masjid on earth to stand in it except the ultimate point where the prophet was taken to give him the whole Quran.
The review of occurrences of masjid and Sacred Masjid can be summarized as: (a) masjids- (1) believers are commanded to be frequent to God’s masjids with appropriate dressing, (2) masjids are places wherein God is remembered without associating anything or anyone with Him, (3) believers are to call upon God being sincere at every masjid, (4) destination of idol worshipers is Hell whether they go to God’s masjids or not, (5) sexual relation is prohibited during the nights of Ramadan fasting for them who devote themselves in masjids, (6) believers only standin masjids founded on the basis of righteousness, (7) who do good, do it for themselves and who do evil, do it so for themselves, (8) reflection to the story of the dwellers of the cave, and (b) the Sacred Masjid – (9) Qibla was restored back towards the Sacred Masjid, (10) fighting is prohibited in the Sacred Masjid except against aggression, (11) animal sacrifice is substituted with ten days fasting, (12) calling any other masjids to be the Sacred Masjid except the Sacred House is a gross sin, (13) those who come to the Sacred House fulfill all rituals of Hajj without inciting the hatred if prevented, while those who do it will be punished, (14) if the idol worshiper break the treaty made at the Sacred Masjid, the believers will have to do the same to be honest with them, (15) taking care of the pilgrims and the Sacred Masjid is not an alternative of the righteous works, (16) not the idol worshipers but the righteous to be the custodians of the Sacred Masjid, (17) Muhammad, the soul not the person was taken to the ultimate point from the Sacred Masjid, (18) who has committed sin for hurting the believing men and women unknowingly in the opposition group will admit into God’s mercy, and (19) the final victory came when the prophet accompanied by the believers were able to enter the Sacred Masjid.
We must reflect to God’s commandment to be frequent to His masjids while His commandment to stand only in masjids founded on the basis of righteousness cannot be taken lightly either. In addition, we must attend masjids to remember His name without associating anything or anyone with Him and call upon Him being sincere at every masjid. But it is unfortunate that it is very difficult to find a God’s masjid around us wherein God can be remembered without idol worshiping. Most masjids around us are founded on the basis of sects and sub-sects while the call to the prayer and the prayer are corrupted associating Muhammad’s name with God. God is the most merciful and has given us a way out of it as a good news to the believers to turn their homes to places of worship as reflected in (10:87) to avoid idol worship to be the guided ones and to develop our souls to be used as quantitative data on the Day of Judgment to determine our destination to Paradise.
God has designated the House built at Mecca (3:96-97) by prophet Abraham (2:125, 22:26) to be the Sacred Masjid to be used as the prayer house and the focal point (qibla) from anywhere in the world as well as to observe Hajj in it. He has also warned us not to violate the Sacred Masjid considering any other masjids of the world to be a Sacred Masjid. Thus, the masjid founded on the tomb of prophet Muhammad to call it another Sacred Masjid and to visit it as a part of Hajj ritual is the violation of the commandment of God given in the Quran.
This review is a detailed explanation of the relevant verses having the instances of masjid and the Sacred Masjid along with the mathematical confirmation may open a door for the true believers to perfect their practices related to Salat and Hajj to develop their souls as well as to purify their souls. Anyone who could do it, he would do it for his own good to be among the righteous ones.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.