The prayer of greeting the Masjid
Allah’s greetings to his servants in the hereafter is Asalam (peace) also his name is Al-Salam (The All-Peaceful, The Bestower of peace), thus he made the greetings of people when meeting each other, “Asalamu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatu llahi Wa barakatuh” Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
We praise Allah lord of the Realms and May Allah’s Prayers, blessings and peace be upon his Prophet, the seal of His Messengers and upon all his Family and companions.
Greeting is the source of greet, greets with a greeting. Its linguistic origin derived from, supplicating for leading a life and prosperity. Allah’s greetings to his servants in the hereafter is Asalam (peace) also his name is Al-Salam (The All-Peaceful, The Bestower of peace), thus he made the greetings of people when meeting each other, “Asalamu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatu llahi Wa barakatuh” Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
There are more than one usage for the word “Greeting” in language.
1- Greeting amongst the beloved ones, Allah almighty said “And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant.” [Al-Nisa’ 4:86]
Transliteration: Waitha huyyeetum bitahiyyatin fahayyoo biahsana minha aw ruddooha inna Allaha kana AAala kulli shayin haseeban
2- Greeting the dead while passing by a grave saying, “Peace be upon you, the residents of these graves, among the believers, and God willing we shall join you. I beg of Allah peace for us and for you.” [Reported by Muslim]
3- Jurists use the word “greeting” as in greeting the Masjid, i.e. Praying two Raka’as when entering the Masjid and before sitting.
Al-Disouqi said: They mean by “The prayer of greeting the Masjid”, to greet the lord of the Masjid, by analogy when a person enters a kings palace he greets the king not the place itself.
Does praying a witr (odd prayer) prayer suffice as the Masjid greeting prayer?
The Witr Prayer is a definite Sunnah according to the majority of Jurists and done in any odd number. Aby Ayub Al-Ansari narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “Witr is a right upon every Muslim, whoever pleases to make an odd prayer of seven (Raka’as), he may, if he pleases to make an odd prayer of five, he may, if he pleases to make an odd prayer of three, he may and who pleases to make an odd prayer of one, he may.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
Then Praying a witr with one Raka’a is sufficient for greeting the Masjid?
The opinion of most of the jurists; that one Raka’a isn’t sufficient as for greeting the Masjid, because the hadith stated that it must be two Raka’as. A Hadith narrated by Aby Qatadah saying, “Whomever of you enters the Masjid must pray two Raka’as before sitting.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
The notion of the hadith implying, that the prayer of greeting the Masjid must consist of two Raka’s, not one.
Imam Al-Nawawi commented saying, “If someone prays a funeral prayer or prostrates for offering thanks to Allah or during Qur’an recitation with the intention of greeting the Masjid, most proper opinion that it doesn’t suffice, this is also our opinion. Some of our colleagues said it would suffice, but that is inconsistent and contradicts the meaning of the hadith.
Greeting the sacred Masjid of Makkah:
Greeting the sacred Masjid of Makkah is by performing two Raka’as, like any other Masjid in the world, according to the general rule of the prayer of greeting the Masjid without specifying a certain Masjid with a certain greeting. Whoever enters the sacred Masjid of Makkah wanting to settle waiting for the prayer, or attending a lecture or reciting the Qur’an, he could pray two Raka’as for greeting the Masjid. Who enters the Sacred Masjid intending to perform Tawaf (encompassing) this would be sufficient as a Masjid greeting instead of two Raka’as, While saying that encompassing the Ka’ba is the greeting of the Masjid compulsory upon every one that enters must be reviewed:
1- Because of the weak Hadith stating the obligation, “Who arrives to the House of Allah (Al-Masjid Al harram) must encompass it as a greeting.”
2- There is difficulty upon the visitors of the sacred Masjid, especially in the religious occasion like Ramadan and Hajj.
Greeting the Masjid during Friday prayer
Its recommended to whom enters the Masjid on Friday (Jumu’ah prayer), during the sermon given by the imam to pray two light Rak’as according to a Hadith narrated by Jabir – may Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet said, “When any one of you comes on Friday, while the Imam delivers the sermon, he should observe two Raka’as and should make them short.” [Reported by Muslim]
Taken into account that the two Rak’as must be short, not extended, as prescribed in the Hadith.
The Prayer of greeting the Masjid during disliked and prohibited times
The prohibited times of praying are three:
1- At sunrise until it rises to a length of a spear.
2- Before the decline of the sun and until the decline ends.
3- The yellowness of the sun (where it does not harm the eyes when looking) until it sets according to Hadith narrated by ‘Uqba Ibn ‘Amer saying, “The Messenger of Allah prohibited us from praying during three periods neither we grave our dead during it, (1) During sunrise until it rises. (2) During the decline of the sun before noon until it declines. (3) When the sun begins to set, until it disappears. [Reported by Muslim]
It is permissible to pray two Rak’as of Greeting the Masjid at the times of prohibition according to the most correct opinion by the scholars. Therefore, whoever enters the Masjid at the times of prohibition and sits without praying two Rak’as of greeting the Masjid, he had disobeyed the order of the Prophet and lost the benefit of good deeds from it. Because he gave a general order to pray it at any time not restricted by the time of prohibition, moreover he would be disobedient and exposing himself to be sinning. It would even be wrong for him to even stand or wait outside the Masjid so he does not pray the two Rak’as.
Sheikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiah said, “Muslims are still entering the Masjid between sunrise and sunset, the prohibition (if it even existed) of the Prophet from praying the prayer of greeting the Masjid would be obvious through their actions (they would refrain from it at these times which will be apparent). Moreover, He ordered them to observe the two Rak’as if they arrive during the Friday sermon, isn’t his order to pray at this time considered as a notice so they would not neglect it at other times?”
Observing the Prayer of greeting the Masjid during the Athan
If a person enters while the Athan is observed, must he observe the two Rak’as or does he wait and repeat the Athan until the Muezzin finishes?
There are two issues concerning this Matter:
1- If a person enters the Masjid on Friday during the Athan of Jumu’ah he must observe the prayer and leave out the repeating of the Athan. Because the sermon is obligatory and the repeating the Athan is sunnah, therefore a sunnah preferred over obligation.
2- If the person enters the Masjid during the Athan of the normal prayers, it favorable for him to wait until the Athan ends then pray the two Rak’as, thus, joining two good deeds. Ibn Qudamah Said, “If a person enters the Masjid and hears the Muezzin he’d better wait until the Muezzin finishes repeating after him the Athan, thus joining between two good deeds. However, whoever observes the two Rak’as during the Athan, and then there is nothing with it.”
1. Praying lightly does not mean wrapping up the two Rak’as, rather it will be limited by only performing the Pillars and obligations of the prayer while leaving out the Sunan (non-mandatory acts).
2. It is not permissible to pray more than two Rak’as during the Jumu’ah Sermon, because listening to it is obligatory.
3. Imam Al-Nawawi said, “If a person enters the Masjid during the sermon and most likely he will not be able to perform the Prayer of greeting the Masjid due to approach of Takbeerat Al Ihram (Beginning of obligatory prayer) he must stay standing and not sit until the Iqamah (second prayer calling), so he would not be sitting without performing them.” However if he was sure he could perform it before Takbeerat Al Ihram then it is all right if he did so. If the Imam begins the Sermon it is forbidden upon everyone to initiate any Supererogatory prayer, because listening to the sermon is obligatory, and obligatory acts are more important than non-obligatory acts. If the person was praying and the Imam Initiated the sermon, he must end it in a light manner according to the agreed opinion among jurists.
Observing the prayer of greeting the Masjid during the second call for prayer (Iqamah)
There are two issues concerning this matter:
1. He initiates with the greeting prayer during the second call (Iqamah) or while the Imams reciting.
2. He is praying the greeting prayer then the second call (Iqamah) of the obligatory prayer made.
The first case: He is not Allowed to observe any supererogatory prayers during the second call (Iqamah) for the obligatory prayer, according to a Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira – May Allah be pleased with him – that the Prophet -peace and blessings be upon him- said, “When the prayer commences then there is no prayer (valid), except for the obligatory prayer.” [Reported by Muslim]
The second case: During praying the greeting prayer, the second call (Iqamah) of commencing the obligatory prayer made, if he thinks that most likely he could catch up directly with Imam after Takbeerat Al Ihram, he could consummate his Prayer, on the other hand if he doesn’t then he - most preferably – will cut his prayer to join the congregation e.g being in the First Raka’a. The Messenger of Allah said, “He who observes a Rak’a of the prayer, he in fact observed the prayer (in congregation).” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
At the instance of cutting the prayer he doesn’t have to make Tasleem (concluding it with Asalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah twice) because its dedicated only for complete prayer.
Observing the prayer of greeting in the Chambers of the Masjid (Rooms)
The perimeters of A Masjid: It is the place dedicated to perform five daily prayers in congregation. Thus, any place dedicated to perform the five daily prayers in congregation is a Masjid. On the other hand, the chambers or rooms of the Masjid are dedicated for multiple uses, the living room of the Imam or Muezzin, Library etc…. These kinds of rooms are not dedicated to pray in, therefore it doesn’t hold the entity of a Masjid. It entails that anyone entering these rooms can sit directly without observing the prayer of greeting the Masjid.
The Ruling of the prayer of greeting the Masjid
It’s obligatory, confirmed with the Hadith narrated by Aby Qatada that the Prophet said, “If any one of you enters the Masjid, he must observe two Rak’as (for greeting the Masjid) before sitting.” [Reported By Al-Bukhari And Muslim]
Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: Sulaik Ghatafani came on Friday when the Messenger of Allah was delivering the sermon. He (Sulaik) sat down. He said to him: O Sulaik, stand and observe two Rak'as and make them short, and then said: When any one of you comes on Friday, while the Imam delivers the sermon, he should observe two Rak'as and should make them short. [Reported by Al-Bukhari (without naming Sulaik) and Muslim]
Aby Qatada once said, “Observe the rights of the Masjid”, the people replied asking, “what are the rights of the Masjid?” he answered saying, “observing two Rak’as before sitting.” [Reported by Ibn Aby Shaiba]
Do we repeat the prayer whenever leaving and entering the Masjid even if there are short intervals?
The notion of the hadith indicates that observing the Prayer of greeting the Masjid is repetitive in relation to leaving and entering the Masjid, proved by the hadith narrated by Aby Qatada. This is the opinion of a number of scholars like Al-Shirbini Al-Khateeb Al-Shafe’i, he said: the greeting of the Masjid is observing two Rak’as before sitting, for every single entrance even if the time interval between leaving and entering is short or there are two Masjids with common walls. Even Imam Al Nawawi commented saying, “If a person enters the Masjid more than once in a single hour, it is preferable for him to observe the two Rak’as for every entrance.” This is the choice of Sheikh Al-Sa’di in his fatwa, stating that it is a Sunnah to perform it whenever the entrance repeated.
Does an obligatory or supererogatory prayer count as a greeting of the Masjid?
Most of the jurists held the opinion that whoever begins praying with an obligatory or supererogatory prayer, it suffices as greeting to the Masjid. For example, if someone enters the Masjid during Al-Asr prayer joining the prayer the obligation of praying two Rak’as as a greeting falls off him and the same goes for definite or supererogatory Sunnah. No difference in this case if the title of the prayer varied, its applicable even if the obligatory prayer is in congregation or as a makeup of a past prayer and prayer consecrated to Allah. Same goes to non-obligatory prayers be it definite or normal Sunnah. The reason behind this ruling is the importance to observe a prayer greeting the Masjid before sitting, honoring the Masjid with praying any prayer before sitting, thus Glorifying Allah by greeting him. Al-Hattab said, “The two Rak’as of greeting the Masjid are not specified with a particular intention to be drawn-up. Thus, any prayer performed suffices the task of the two Rak’as, being obligatory or supererogatory performance.”
Does the greeting elapse by sitting?
The prayer of greeting the Masjid does not elapse by sitting; this is the opinion of the Majority of scholars. Therefore, if a person enters the Masjid then sits before observing the two Rak’as, he must get up and perform them. According to Jabir’s Hadith that “Sulaik Al-Ghatafani came on Friday when the Messenger of Allah was delivering the sermon. He (Sulaik) sat down. He said to him: O Sulaik, stand and observe two Rak'as and make them short.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari (without naming Sulaik)and Muslim]
And the Hadith by Abu Qatada, a Companion of the Messenger of Allah, said: I entered the Masjid, when the Messenger of Allah had been sitting among people, and I also sat down among them. Upon this the Messenger of Allah said: What prevented you from offering two Rak'as (of Nafl prayer) before sitting down? I said: Messenger of Allah, I saw you sitting and people sitting (around you and I, therefore, sat in your company). He then said: When anyone among you enters the Masjid, he should not sit till he has observed two Rak'as. [Reported by Muslim]
The evidence deduced from the reaction of the Messenger of Allah when he saw the companions sitting, he denied this act and ordered them to get up and observe the two Rak’as a greeting to the Masjid.
The greeting of the Masjid is specified for whom intends to settle in the Masjid.
The Prayer of greeting the Masjid specified for whom intends to settle in the Masjid not to who does not intend to do so. Proved by the Hadith of Abu Qatada "When anyone among you enters the Masjid, he should not sit till he has observed two Rak'as" [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
We could only understand from the hadith that the one meant by this performance is the person intending to settle. That’s why another narration stated, “If any one of you enters the Masjid he must observe two Rak’as (for greeting the Masjid) before sitting.” [Reported By Al-Bukhari And Muslim]
Such words will not be directed towards whom did not intend to settle, as for who is passing by there is no rule concerning him. It was reported that the companions –May Allah be pleased with them – and their followers –May Allah have mercy on them- used to enter the Masjid and leave without observing the prayer of greeting the Masjid. It is Reported by Abdul Razaq in the Musanaf, narrated by Al-Alaa’ Ibn Abdul Rahman saying: I saw Ibn Omar – May Allah be pleased with them- entering the Masjid and leaving without performing the prayer of greeting the Masjid. And Ibn Qasim said, “And I saw Malik do the same passing by without observing any Rak’as.”
Translated by Wathakker.info website