The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) is reported to have said that whoever pleases Fatimah (p) pleases…
We often look for some sort of benefit from the places we choose to go and spend time. When we go to school, we are seeking an education. When we go to the doctor, we look to improve our health. Similarly, when we go to the mosque and attend religious programs, there are also many spiritual and social benefits that can encourage our individual and communal progression. Imam Hasan (p) states in a beautiful tradition, “Whoever goes to the mosque regularly will enjoy one of the following eight benefits: a decisive verse, access to a helpful brother, new knowledge, an awaited act of mercy, a word leading him to the way of salvation, a word preventing him from [committing] evil, quitting sins out of public shame, and [becoming] God-fearing.”1 Reflection on this narration helps us to recognize the privilege and honor it is to spend time in our places of worship.
Spiritual Benefits of Attending Our Mosques
Life is full of lots of distractions that can result in losing our spirituality. Thus, it is important that we make time in our busy schedules to reconnect with our Creator, and there is no better place to do that than to visit a mosque. Going to the mosque at least once a week can help us do just that. The above narration speaks wonders in terms of our relationship with the Almighty. When we attend religious programs in our mosques, perhaps we may hear a verse of the Holy Quran (while the reciter is reciting it) that can help us with an issue that we are going through. We may hear pieces of advice from the speaker about a subject that may lead us to the right path if we were getting off track. If we cannot relate to either of these, perhaps we will learn something new which is always great. We often take for granted the personal development we gain from our access to Islamic centers, but it is vital that we recognize that they are a means to reconnect and spend time in God’s remembrance.
Social Benefits of Attending Our Mosques
In addition to the spiritual benefits of attending places of worship, we cannot discount the social aspect. In the above tradition of Imam Hasan (p), he mentions two direct social benefits, “access to a helpful brother,” and “quitting sins out of public shame.” We may meet someone who is able to assist us with something, even if it is as small as dropping us home (from the mosque) during harsh weather when we do not have a ride back.
Without a doubt, being in good company can encourage us to perform good deeds and positive actions. Imam Zayn al-Abidin (p) advises us in a tradition where he states, “Associating with the righteous invites you to goodness.”2 Perhaps attending religious programs may help us stop committing sins and keep us on the right path. From spending time in mosques where people remember God and the teachings of his beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp), there is more potential to interact with the righteous and benefit from positive influences.
Bits of Advice
1. Make yourself known to your community: Whatever field we concentrated on in our professional lives, we should make ourselves known to our communities with the intention of aiding our fellow community members. In his Advice to the Youth, Sayyid al-Sistani advises to “Learn a trade and acquire a specialty, expend as much effort as you can in its pursuit, and work hard for it. There are many blessings in this: it occupies a portion of your free time, you can support yourself and your family, [and it] benefit[s] society.”3 As a growing community, it is important that we are skilled in a variety of different trades and that we utilize our knowledge base for communal progress. If we are knowledgeable in a subject, for instance if we have a background in medicine, our community should be aware of how we can share those skills to benefit everyone.
2. Play an active role in your local mosque: In a tradition the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) states, “God commanded me to take care of people in the same way he commanded me to perform the obligatory [prayers].”4 We should volunteer in some capacity in our mosques, whether it is to help the elders get around, serve food, or lend a hand to clean up the space at the end of the programs.
3. Bring your family to the mosque, especially children: Many life-long friendships begin at local Islamic centers. These relationships become as strong as family, and in some cases stronger. It is not surprising that God, the Most-High, has said, “Believers are each other’s brothers.”5 Therefore, we should bring our families and children to our mosques so that they can establish these important bonds.
1. Tuhaf al Uqul , p.235.
2. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 75, p. 141.
3. “Advice to the Youth from His Eminence, Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani.” I.M.A.M., 17 July 2017, www.imam-us.org/advice-youth-eminence-grand-ayatullah-sayyid-ali-al-sistani/.
4. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 72, p. 440.
5. The Holy Quran, translated by Muhammad Sarwar, 49:10.