Decorating the Masjid with lights, etc.

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

DECORATING THE MASJID WITH LIGHTS, ETC.

It has always been the practice of all Muslims to brighten Masjids and make special arrangements for lighting and decorating on significant occasions, e.g. Lailatul-Qadr in Ramadaan, 12lh Rabiul-Awwal, etc. The Masjids of Wahabies, however, remain without luster. They rule this action of decorating the Masjids to be Haraam and even shirk. For this reason, we shall discuss this topic as well.

PROOF OF ADORNING MASJIDS

To always keep Masjids bright, especially during Ramadaan or when completing the Quran on Lailatul-Qadr, Meeladun- Nabi صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, etc. is a great act of worship (ibaadat). There are many proofs for this,

I. Allahعزوجل states in the Holy Quran, “Only those who have Imaan on Allahعزوجل and Qiyaamat cause the Masjids to thrive.” 34.1 – Surah Taube, Verse 18

The Commentators of the Holy Quran (Mufassireen) state that having namaaz in jamaatsin Masjids, keeping the Masjids clean, spreading mats of high quality, brightening the Masjids with lighting, etc. arc all included in causing Masjids to prosper. Hadrat Sulaiman علیہ السلامused to make the Masjid Baitul-Muqaddas bright with Kibreet-e-Ahmar (a flammable substance). There was so much brightness because of this that women miles away were able to spin their threads! – Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan

2. Hadrat Abu Saeed Khudri رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہstates, “The Sahabi, Tameem Daari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ was the first person to light lamps in the Masjids.”34.2 – Ibn Majah

This proves that brightening Masjids is the practice of a Sahaabi. Bear in mind that lighting lamps was not the general habit in the Holy Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم time. At the time of jamaat, sticks of the date- tree were burned for light. Hadrat Tameem Daari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہwas the first to light lamps there.

3. Ummul-Mu’mineen, Sayyidah Maimunah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہasked the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم “Give us an instruction regarding the Masjid at Baitul-Muqaddas.” He said, “Go to it and read namaaz there.” During those times, there was a war taking place in that area. For this reason, Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said, “If you cannot reach the Masjid and perform Salaah in it, send oil there so that it can be used to light the Masjid’s lamps.” 34.3 – Abu Dawood

Four points arise from this narration,

1. Traveling to the Masjid of Baitul-Muqaddas to perform Salaah in it is Sunnat. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم led all the prophets in namaaz there on the night of Me’raj. He (as well as all other prophets) traveled there for this very reason.

2. Many lamps used to be lit in the Masjid of Baitul-Muqaddas. This is known from the usage of the word ‘Qanadeel’ in the Hadith.

3. The thawaab of brightening the Masjid is comparable to the reward of performing namaaz there. In other words, it is a great ibaadat and a means of attaining reward.

4. To send oil from afar to brighten a Masjid is the sunnah of the Sahaaba.

4. Imam Muhaddith Rafee رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہstates that Hadrat Mu’aaz ibn Jabal رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہreports the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم to have said, “Allahعزوجل builds a home in Jannat for the person who builds a Masjid for Him. 70,000 angels will make dua of mercy for the one who lights lamps in the Masljd, and they will continue making this dua for him until the lamps are extinguished.” 34.4

We come to know that causing brightness in the Masjid is a means of attaining dua from 70,000 angels.

5. Hadrat Mu’aaz ibn Jabal رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہalso narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم once said, “70, angels me dua .of mercy for the one who ha Ass a lamp m the Masjid. They contmue doing so until the lamp goes out.

So, just as how lighting lamps {i.e. causing brightness in the Masjid) is thawaab, so too is giving lamps or oil (i.e. supplying provisions for lighting) to the Masjid a means of thawaab.

6. Hadrat Abu Ishaaq Hamdaani رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہstates, “On the first night of Ramadaan, Hadrat Ali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہcame to Masjidun-Nabawee while lamps were shining and recitation of the Holy Quran was being made. He said, “O Umar ibn Khattab! May Allah عزوجل brighten your grave just have brightened his Masjlds at the time of the Quran’s recitation. -Ibn Shaheen

7. Some Muhadditheen report Hadrat Ali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہto have said, “Allahعزوجل the grave of Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ Just as how he has bnghtened our Masjids.34.7- Sahihul-Bihaari

From the last two narrations, it is proven that brightening the Masjids in Ramadaan has been practiced from the time of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ.It should also be noticed that the other Sahaaba didn’t object to this. Rather, Hadrat Ali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ made dua for him. We also learn that by brightening the Masjids, Insha-Allah, our graves will also be brightened. Thus, whoever now stops this practice is not only making his grave darker, but is objecting to the Sunnat of the Sahaaba, The Holy Quran speaks about such people, “Who is a bigger tyrant than he who stops Allah’s عزوجل remembrance (Zikr) in Allah’s عزوجل Masjids and tries to ravage them?” 34.8 -Surah Baqarah, Verse 114.

In this ayat, those who prohibit Salaah, the Zikr of Allahعزوجل recitation of the Holy Quran or Naat Sharif to be read in the Masjids, as well as those who stop the decoration of Masjids with lamps, lightings, carpets, etc. have been censored and rebuked because their stopping and prohibiting adds to the ruining of the houses of Allahعزوجل. In this day and age, to adorn Masjids, continuously keep them bright and make special provisions for lighting on important occasions is good even according to common sense, because we frequently decorate Our homes and go out of our way to have special lighting installed on special occasions, e.g. weddings, etc.

When our homes are worthy of being decorated and made bright, surely Allah’s عزوجل house, which is the most excellent of homes, should be decorated more than any other so that the greatness of Masjids is inculcated in the hearts of people. This practice is a means of propagating the deen of Islam, and instilling a sense of awe into the Muslims for the Masjids.


OBJECTIONS AND ANSWERS TO LIGHTING THE MUSJIDS, ETC.

OBJECTION 1: To decorate Masjids with lights is waste. The Holy Quran bas prohibited wasting, “Eat and drink and don’t be wasteful. Verily Allahعزوجل dislikes those who waste.” 34.9 -Surah Aaraaf, Verse 31

Answer – Saying “brightening Musjids is wastage is incorrect. Wasteful spending is the spending which has no worldly or religious benefit. Brightening Musjids is decoration for the house of Allahعزوجل. It is an act of worship and a means of thawaab.

Hadrat Ali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہcame to Masjidun-Nabawee while lamps were shining and recitation of the Holy Quran was being made. He said, “O Umar ibn Khattab رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ! May Allahعزوجل brighten your grave just as how you have brightened His Musjids at the time of the Quran’s recitation.”

OBJECTION 2: When light is attained by one lamp or light, all the others are useless and are now considered wastage.

Answer – When the Satr (area of the body necessary to be covered) is covered with one vest and pants, then wearing a shirt, waistcoat, etc. on top of these things should also be considered wastage and Haraam. What about buying different materials when simply cotton will do? Or spending thousands on electrical fittings when a RS lamp is enough to light the home? Is traveling in first- or business-class also Haraam because third-class is sufficient for a person to reach his destination? Friends, light is definitely attained by one lamp or fitting, but many lights are a decoration for Musjids. Both lighting and decorating is ibaadat.

OBJECTION 3: If brightening the Masjid with lamps and light was a good act, why didn’t the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم himself do it in Masjidun-Nabawee? Are you more excellent than Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم or more sympathetic to the deen than him? What right do you have of doing that which the Messenger صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم didn’t?

Answer -‘If wearing waistcoats, clothes of high-quality, velvet, etc. was a good act, why didn’t the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم use them? Wahabies, why do you do that which Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم hasn’t done? Why do you have electrical fittings in your homes?

In the Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلمtime, homes were simple in construction because it was the e of many Jihads and thus, the Sahaaba had more important matters at hand. He time of the Sahaaba however, when people increased the standards of their homes, the Jurists amongst them thought, “The deen is far more excellent than the and Allah’s عزوجلhouse (i.e. Musjirlun-Nabawce) is far more excellent than homes. For this, Our houses shouldn’t be more brilliant than Allah’s عزوجلhouses” With this in mind, Hadrat Uthman رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہrefurbished and renovated Masjidun-Nabawee magnificently. He also adorned and decorated it imposingly. Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم states, “Be steadfast on my Sahaaba and that of my Khulafaa-e-Raashideen.” 34.10

Just as how the Sunnat of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم is worthy of practice, so is the Sunnat asoolullah’sSahaaba commendable in following (and we know that the Prophet’s companions decorated Masjidun.Nabawee). In fact, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم himself ordered oil to be sent to Baitul-Muqaddas to be used in its.

OBJECTION 4: Hadrat Ibn Abbas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہquotes Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم to have said, “I not been commanded to decorate Masjids. Hadrat Ibn Abbas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہalso “You will decorate like the Jews and Christians.34.11-Abu-Dawood.

Hadith proves that there is no command of decorating Masjids, and ling places of ibaadat is the practice of the Jews and Christians, not Muslims. It is quite clear that brightening Masjids is decoration. Thus, it is prohibited.

Answer- There are two replies to this,

1. If this Hadith’s implication is taken to mean that decorating Musjids and having lighting there is prohibited, Why didn’t Hadrat Ibn Abbas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہstop Hadrat Umar and Uthman رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہfrom decorating them? Why did he go contrary to his own narration? Why didn’t any of the Sahaaba take this Hadith’s meaning to be what you have accepted? If this is the actual meaning of the Hadith that you have cited, it will go against the Holy Quran, i.e. Surah Tauba, Verse 18.

The Quran Sharif has declared decorating and populating the Masjids to be the sign of Imaan. So, we come to know that you have incorrectly understood the Hadith.

2. Here, the prohibition is not against every decoration. Rather, impermissible Ilaunter has been censored, e.g. decorating with pictures, photos and statues. That was why likeness to the Jews and Christians was made (their places of worship are strewn with such decorations). It could also refer to the decoration that is not for Allahعزوجل but for show (riya), boast and fame as per the deduction of the following Hadith in Objection 5. The decoration and brightening which is solely for Allah’s عزوجلpleasure and respect of the Musjid is admirable. May Allahعزوجل grant us the correct understanding of the Holy Quran and Hadith Sharif.

OBJECTION 5: Hadrat Anas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہstates that the Prophet once said, “Truly a sign of Qiyaamat is that people will show-off in Masjids.” 34.12 – Abu Duwood, Nasaa’t, Daarlmi, Ibn Majalt

We come to know from this Hadith that the decoration of Masjids is an indication of Qiyaamat. May Allahعزوجل save us from this.

Answer – The meaning of this Hadith is what we have spoken about in Objection 4, concerning boastfully building Masjids and decorating them in conceit (such as a suburb which decorates their Masjid in contest to another area’s). Reading namaaz for show and boast is prohibited. This doesn’t mean that even sincere people should stop reading namaaz!

The Hadith may also mean that close to Qiyaamat, people will go to the Masjids and, instead of making the Zikr of Allahعزوجلthey will indulge themselves in worldly chatter and contest amongst each other in boast and superiority. This is a severe sin.

Even if the Hadith’s meaning is accepted to be what you have understood (that decorating Masjids is a sign of Qiyaamat), still too is prohibition not proven by it because not every sign Qiyaamat is bad. The advent of Hadrat Esa علیہ السلامand the appearance of Imam Mahdi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہare also signs of Qiyaamat. They are not bad but are full of blessings.

OBJECTION 6: Decorating Musjids with lights is a Bad Innovation (Bidat) and every Bidat is deviance.

Answer – This is wrong because doing so is the Sunnat of the Sahaaba, as we have explained in the first chapter. Even if this was an Innovation, every Innovation is not Haraam or a deviance. Printing Bukhari Sharif is an Innovation but is not Haraam.

In. fact, doing so is thawaab! The Science of Hadith, as well as its categorization, is also an Innovation but is not Haraam. We have already explained Innovations (Bidat) in this book. In. that section, we have proven that today, the Kalima and namaaz (in fact, all acts of worship) have several Innovations within them but thawaab is given nevertheless.

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