Mind your Manners : Muslimahs in the Masjid

Mind your Manners : Muslimahs in the Masjid

I’m not going to delve into the fiqh and ahadith  focus of women being allowed in the masaajid. In the time of Nabi SAWS, they were allowed and that’s the framework that we will adhere to for this article.

Having attended taraweeh at the NMJ Islamic center again this year there’s been a mix of feelings and experiences when interacting with the sisters in Durban. The 1st of Ramadan i found myself seated in the first saf, and for the entire Esha salah, and up until the 10th rakahs of the taraweeh, there was a two year old running around in front of me. At the end of the 8th rakah, she began to sing humpty dumpty LOUDLY. The mother was also seated in the first saf (row), not praying and took no measure to ensure that her child did not disturb the congregation. After the 10th rakah I politely suggested that the parent find seating in the section that caters for women with children so as not to disturb the congregation. It was awkward for me to do mainly because no one likes to be told that they are wrong or causing inconvenience, and you never know how someone will  react to you. It made me ponder over the lack of knowledge of  etiquette that is deemed appropriate for the masjid. We need to be considerate.

On alot of levels I think there needs to be a refresher on etiquette of the masjid with little pointers like:

  • Turn your phone off or switch to silent in the masjid. There is nothing more annoying that blaring vocal ringtones that cut into ones concentration. Be considerate. You know you have a phone, take the time to be aware of the sanctity of the masjid and at least change your ringtone to something less conspicuous.
  • Do NOT persistently BBM between rakahs! its distracting to the person next to you. Constant pings are really annoying.
  • Do not run to the mosque. Walk briskly. When you arrive, lower your voice. There really is NO NEED to announce your presence, Allah already knows you’re there. 🙂
  • Recite dua for entering masjid
  • Try to wear quiet shoes to the mosque. If you are walking fast in heels you are likely to get unnecessary attention by the clip clop heels on your way to the masjid. Its something to bear in mind, especially if you pass the men’s section of the mosque.
  • TRY to remain silent or curb socialising for a better setting. Its understandable that you may not be praying at the time, but there are other sisters who are there… offering their duas, dhikr and thoughts to Allah. You need to respect that, and not disturb them.
  • Please ensure that you are dressed appropriately for Salah. Ensure that your satr is adequately covered. Ensure that your hair is covered entirely. NO fringe showing in front as much as you may deem it ‘fashionable’ or think that it makes you look cute. Cover your hair.
  • Sisters also tend to assume they can drape their scarfs in a catchy style to display their ears and earings.  As much as there’s fashion appeal in this, your ears need to be covered as they are part of the head. For salah… your face, hands and feet are allowed to be visible. Feet are required to be covered if you belong to the Shafi’ee Madhab.
  • If you are new to visiting the masjid you may not know what to do when you get there.  It is good to offer 2 rakahs Salah – Tahiyyatul Masjid.
  • Then offer your sunnah for the salah that is to follow.
  • It is good to make intention for Nafl Itikaaf for the duration of your stay in the masjid
  • Sisters who have babies and toddlers should be conscious of their child’s age, and it may be preferable for them to be seated at the back. This is to ensure your child doesn’t run around in and if you need to attend to a crying baby, it is easy for you to slip out to fulfill your parental duties. If you have bigger children that won’t be running around disturbing the congregation you can use your discretion as to what is appropriate for you.

If you are going to be attending taraweeh prayers it might be good to pack a ‘mosque bag/ Salah Bag’. There usually isn’t much time between magrib, iftar and taraweeh, so its easy to grab on the go.

My salah bag has a water bottle, tasbeeh / counter, tissues for those tears that well up during prayer, and a small travel musallah. I usually lay out the travel musallah so that the ppl next to me don’t squash me during salah as it marks out some space for me to make sujood. Its a habit i picked up during hajj because  people tend to spill onto you, and sit one your foot, or squeeze you during salah. I’m very tiny and petite so i tend to get smashed alot. It is a good idea to pack your own wudhu towel. A face towel will suffice. If you follow the Shafi’ee Madhab don’t forget to pack your socks 🙂

May we be conscious of ourselves and our behavior in the masaajid as they are the house of Allah SWT

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  1. Gadija Omar

    I completely agree with this…if only women would first learn masjid adaab and then consider if they want to be there or remain at home…i think its disgusting especially when there are youngsters around who pick up on this wrong behaviour and still carry it through…

    • Hasina Suliman

      In Cape Town it is common for women to sit in the masjid, i’ve never experienced any disruption or rowdyness in all my time there. However in durban, the salah facilities for women at mosques are few and far between. I think its imperative to remind sisters, of etiquette and dressing. We are only human after all.


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