Q. What is ruling of the Sharia’ regarding using the Masjid/Musallah as a residence for a short or a long time? What is the ruling about somebody coming from overseas for the cause of Islam (for instance a Jamaat or an a’lim coming over to teach the deen) and staying in the Masjid for a period? If it is allowed for such a Jamaat or an a’lim to stay in the Masjid, then for how long can they stay? What is the ruling about a Muslim who comes from overseas simply for the purpose of business or is merely passing through? What is the ruling about a local Muslim citizen who has gone overseas to study in a Darul Uloom/Madrasa and comes back to his native country during the break, can he stay in the Masjid?
A. A Masjid is the house of Allah which is built for the worship of Allah. The Holy Quran states, ‘Certainly the Masjid is for Allah’.
While commenting on this verse the sound and reliable commentators have stated that the verse means that the masjid is used for the purpose of worshipping Allah, and doing His remembrance. The concept of Ibadah (worship) includes the act of preaching and teaching Islam and so, if people (a Jamaat) has come to a Masjid only for the sake of preaching and teaching Islam, then it will be allowed for them to stay at the masjid to the extent that it takes for their preaching/teaching. This, in no way means that they are using the masjid as a residence, instead, the purpose of their stay at a masjid is only that they may preach Islam to the people.
Having said this, it must be understood that the Masjid/Musallah cannot be used as a person’s home or residence. It also cannot be used conveniently for passers-by to stop and spend nights when they are in the locality for business purposes. It cannot be used as the home for a person when he is on a break on holiday and has returned to his country. In all these cases, it is clear that the masjid/musallah is being used to one’s convenience, leisure and pleasure. In all these cases, there is no objective of preaching/teaching the deen of Allah, nor is it for the remembrance of Allah. That which has become evident in these cases, is that the Masjid/Musallah is used as a replacement for a home, residence or house. In other words, a person is simply using the masjid conveniently as his house. This is totally wrong, since the masjid (House of Allah) was not built for this purpose.
With respect to the Ashab-Suffa, they stayed in an area attached to the Prophet’s Masjid, only for the sake of learning Islam, and learning the life of the Prophet (SAS). This area was not where the Salaah and other acts of Ibadah (worship) used to be done. It was separate from the Musallah of the Prophet (SAS). This was not recognized to be their official residence or home. Instead, it was built to accommodate those who wished to be steadily in the Prophet’s company to learn from his blessed teachings.
As for those who may be engaged in the service of the Masjid like an Imam etc., separate accommodations were built for them in an area of the masjid compound. The masjid was never used for this purpose, since it has to be accessible night and day, for those who wish to perform Salaah, those who wish to recite Quran or be engaged in the remembrance of Allah, and those who wish to be engaged in the teaching and preaching of Islam. The Masjid is the place which has been built for these purposes and it has not been built to be used as a person’s home or residence. Using it for this purpose is totally wrong.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan