Differences between Masjid and Musallah

Jun 19, 2023 | Salat (Prayer)


Assalāmu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi wa Barakātuhu

Based on my experience and observations while living in Australia since the 1990s, Muslims find it convenient to practise 5 times salaat, learn basic Islamic education (Qur’aan, du’aa, fiqh etc.) and perform da’wah and tableegh activities daily in a masjid or musallaa that is within a 10-minute walk or 2-minute drive from their home. Anything greater than this can be burdensome and can potentially demotivate brothers from performing roghteous deeds.

In consideration of this, is it allowed for a religiously, motivated individual, or a few of them, to start up another masjid or musallaa in a locality for the convenience of themselves and wider locality? If so, what Shari’ah rules should be borne in mind whilst undertaking this task?

JazaakAllaahu Khayraa


It is permissible to establish a prayer space (musallah) or a masjid in one’s locality if there is a need for it and done with the right intention. Insha Allah it will also be very rewarding as it will be an ongoing-charity (sadaqah jariyah) for those who take part in establishing it.

There is a difference between a generic prayer space and a masjid. A masjid has strict rules in place that must be observed whereas a prayer space has more flexibility. For example, a masjid can only be established in a free hold building and not a rented building. Once established as a masjid it can only be used for masjid related activities and cannot be sold or rented out in the future. A person who is in the state of major ritual impurity cannot enter the masjid space. All spaces above and below the designated masjid area must be used as a masjid, unless a specific area has been excluded at the time of designating the masjid. In such a case these excluded areas must still be used for the benefit of the masjid and cannot be used for any alternative purpose.

As for a generic prayer space, these rules do not apply.

We would advise you to sit down with a local scholar and carefully go through the rules and regulations of a masjid to decide what type of prayer space you want to establish and the details surrounding it. As mentioned before, once an area is designated as a proper masjid it will always remain as a masjid, hence, we strongly advise careful planning before designating a masjid space.

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (4/ 358) – لَوْ بَنَى فَوْقَهُ بَيْتًا لِلْإِمَامِ لَا يَضُرُّ لِأَنَّهُ مِنْ الْمَصَالِحِ، أَمَّا لَوْ تَمَّتْ الْمَسْجِدِيَّةُ ثُمَّ أَرَادَ الْبِنَاءَ مُنِعَ، وَلَوْ قَالَ عَنَيْتُ ذَلِكَ لَمْ يُصَدَّقْ تَتَارْخَانِيَّةٌ، فَإِذَا كَانَ هَذَا فِي الْوَاقِفِ فَكَيْفَ بِغَيْرِهِ؟! فَيَجِبُ هَدْمُهُ وَلَوْ عَلَى جِدَارِ الْمَسْجِدِ. وَلَا يَجُوزُ أَخْذُ الْأُجْرَةِ مِنْهُ وَلَا أَنْ يَجْعَلَ شَيْئًا مِنْهُ مُسْتَغَلًّا وَلَا سُكْنَى، بَزَّازِيَّةٌ.

الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي (3/ 21) – “ومن اتخذ أرضه مسجدا لم يكن له أن يرجع فيه ولا يبيعه ولا يورث عنه” لأنه تجرد عن حق العباد وصار خالصا لله، وهذا لأن الأشياء كلها لله تعالى، وإذا أسقط العبد ما ثبت له من الحق رجع إلى أصله فانقطع تصرفه عنه كما في الإعتاق.

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (2/ 440)
باب الاعتكاف وجه المناسبة له والتأخير اشتراط الصوم في بعضه والطلب الآكد في العشر الأخير. (هو) لغة: اللبث وشرعا: (لبث) بفتح اللام وتضم المكث (ذكر) ولو مميزا في (مسجد جماعة) هو ما له إمام ومؤذن أديت فيه الخمس أو لا.
وعن الإمام اشتراط أداء الخمس فيه وصححه بعضهم وقال لا يصح في كل مسجد وصححه السروجي، وأما الجامع فيصح فيه مطلقا اتفاقا

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel