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Home » Worship and Jurisprudence » Prayer » Rulings of the Prayer

Prayer in the Masjids of Makkah is not like Prayer in the Sacred Masjid (Al-Masjid Al-Haram)
Question:

Is the reward of the prayer (As-Salah) in the Masjids of Makkah like the sacred Masjid (Al-Masjid Al-Haram)?
Answer:

This is one of the issues where there is a difference of opinion between the people of knowledge. The correct view is that it (prayer in other Masjids of Makkah) is not like the prayer in the Sacred Masjid and that the increase (in blessings) of the prayer is only in the Sacred Masjid, which is the Masjid of the Ka'bah. This is due to what Muslim recorded in a Hadith from Maimunah that the prophet said:

"A prayer in it (my Masjid in Al-Madinah) is better than a thousand prayers in other Masjids, except for the Masjid of Ka'bah." (Muslim no. 1396)

In reference to the rest of the Masjids that are inside the Sacred Area (Al-Haram) of Makkah, there is no doubt that they are better than the Masjids that are outside of the Sacred Area. For this reason, when the Prophet stayed in Al-Hudaibiyyah, some of it was outside of the Sacred Area while some of it was inside of the Sacred Area. Hence, when the term 'the Sacred Masjid' is used, it generally means the Masjid itself (at the Ka'bah). Allah, the Most High said:

"O you who believe, verily the Mushrikun (polytheists, idol worshippers,pagans) are impure, so let them not come near the Sacred Masjid (Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah) after this year of theirs." (At-Tawbah 9:28)

If what was intended by the term 'the Sacred Masjid' (in this verse) was whatever was inside the surrounding boundaries, it would not be permissible for the polytheists to come near the surrounding areas. Rather, it would be obligatory for them to stay away from even these boundaries. Yet, it is well known that they may come near the boundary areas, but they may not enter them. They have only been prohibited from entering the boundary areas, even though the text of the verse says:

"So let them not come near the Masjid". (At-Tawbah 9:28)

Thus, the prohibition of coming near, no doubt, is not the prohibition of entering the Sacred Masjid. This proves that when the Prophet mentioned the Sacred Masjid, he intended by it the Masjid (at the Ka'bah) itself. This is also supported by the statement of the Prophet:

"Do not undertake a religious journey except to three Masjids: the sacred Masjids, this Masjid of mine (in Al-Madinah) and the Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem)." (At-Tirmithi 326 and Ahmad 2/234)

It is known that if a person intends to undertake a religious journey to the Masjid of Ash-Shi'b, for example, or the Masjid of Al-Jumayzah or another Masjid, then we say that it is not permissible. This is because the Prophet said not to undertake a religious journey except to three Masjids. If we permitted religious journeys to every Masjid inside of the Sacred Area (Al-Haram), the person could make religious journeys to tens or hundreds of Masjids. However, if the Sacred Masjid is full of people praying and the people become pressed against each other and they end up praying in the market, then it is hoped that these people who pray in the market get the reward of whoever was inside of the Masjid. This is because it is all that they were able to do and they took part in offering this act of worship with the people of the Masjid.

Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen
Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol.3, p.g 47-49, DARUSSALAM.
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