Let’s put a stop to bad behavior in mosques

Let’s put a stop to bad behavior in mosques

Mohammad Areef

Mohammad Areef

I AM not writing about the Islamic position on how to behave in mosques, because the prohibited, lawful or recommended behavior in mosques is something for Islamic scholars to discuss.

Instead I would like to discuss some of the bad behavior that happens in mosques that irritates and annoys worshippers. For example, people have a tendency to park inappropriately when visiting mosques. They try to park as near as possible to the mosque’s entrance. As a result, you end up seeing clusters of cars parked randomly in front of mosques, blocking roads. This is not appropriate Muslim behavior.

Some car owners remain inside mosques for a long time after prayers with no concern about the people they have blocked. They do not care whether the person they have blocked might be in a hurry, have a hospital appointment or may need to attend a function. When they come out of the mosque, there might be an argument with the person they have blocked, leading to swearing and even fights.  In which case, they always ask: “Why don’t you want us to pray?” and act as if they are unable to pray without annoying people.

I have asked Islamic scholars about this and they have replied that a person who blocks the cars of others is committing a sin. He might even lose the reward of praying by committing the sin of annoying a fellow Muslim. What is interesting is that those people who park their cars in the wrong way in front of mosques usually arrive early when there are parking spaces available. However, they still insist on parking in front of mosque entrances. By parking like this, they obstruct entrances and exits.
Disabled people and people who use wheelchairs are also left without room to enter mosques because of these people.

Such people forget or pretend not to remember the virtues of walking to the mosque and that there is a reward for every step they take. They do not even want to park their cars 100 meters away and instead insist on causing traffic jams and annoying other people.  They do this despite their good health and ability to walk.

I think traffic officers should stop such behavior and impose penalties on those who park inappropriately around mosques. This is because the advice and instructions issued by imams are not really making much of a difference. If the police do not take action, then people will continue to violate the law.

Another bad behavior is people sitting on chairs reserved for those who are elderly and in poor health. As a result, you see young men sitting on chairs and not caring about the elderly. Putting up posters telling people that the chairs are for the old and invalid could solve this problem.

Another type of bad behavior involves some worshippers, especially expatriates, taking extra bottles of water from the refrigerators in mosques. You sometimes see expatriates with five or more bottles with them in mosques. As a result, the fridges quickly become empty and other worshippers are left unable to find water.

These people head for the refrigerators straight after prayer to empty them; they also end up obstructing people who wish to leave. The solution to this problem lies in putting up signs in different languages instructing people that the policy is one bottle per person. Other wrong behavior includes bringing children to mosques and also not switching off one’s phones.