What is the ruling and virtue of performing Taḥiyyah al-Masjid?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
It is a highly recommended Sunnah to perform two Rakʿah Nafl Ṣalāh upon entering the Masjid before sitting down. This has become an abandoned Sunnah that needs to be revived. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr (d. 463/1071) highlights the unanimous position of the scholars regarding the desirability of performing the two Rakʿah so long as it is not a time wherein Nafl Ṣalāh is prohibited and mentions that according to the literalists this Ṣalāh is obligatory (al-Tamhīd, 20: 100). Although ʿAllāmah Shawkānī (Nayl al-Awṭār, 3: 82) and some literalists prefer the view that it is wājib (obligatory), according to the vast majority of scholars it is an important emphasised Sunnah.
The virtue and importance of Taḥiyyah al-Masjid is illustrated by the following narrations:
- Abū Qatādah al-Sulamī (d. 54/673-4) (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “If one of you enters a Masjid, he should perform two Rakʿah before sitting” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 444).
- Abū Qatādah al-Sulamī (d. 54/673-4) (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Give the Masjids their due.” He was asked, “And what is their due?” He replied, “Two Rakʿah before you sit down” (Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, 3422).
- Jābir ibn ʿAbd Allah (d. 74/693-4) (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “I went to the Prophet ﷺ in the Masjid and he instructed me to pray two Rakʿah. He owed me some money and repaid it to me and gave more than what was due” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 443).
- Abū Dharr (d. ca. 31/651-2) (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “I entered the Masjid, and the Prophet of Allah ﷺ was sitting alone, so he said: ‘O Abū Dharr, truly the Masjid has a greeting, and indeed its greeting is two Rakʿah, so stand up and perform them” (Ṣaḥiḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, 361; al-Mustadrak, 4166; Ḥilyah al-Awliyāʾ, 1: 166; also see Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, 3423).
- On one occasion, a companion of the Prophet ﷺ, Sulayk al-Gaṭfānī (n.d.) (may Allah be pleased with him) entered the Masjid on Friday and sat down whilst the Prophet ﷺ was delivering the sermon. The Prophet ﷺ instructed him to offer two Rakʿah (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 875). Whilst this practice during the sermon is not established according to the Ḥanafī and Mālikī schools of thought, it nevertheless demonstrates the importance of Taḥiyyah al-Masjid.
This ḥadith and the one preceding it affirm that Taḥiyyah al-Masjid can be performed even after one has sat down (al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq, 2: 38; al-Nahr al-Fāʾiq, 1: 290; Ḥāshiyah al-Ṭaḥṭāwī ʿAlā al-Marāqī, p. 394; Radd al-Muḥtār, 2: 19).
Allah knows best
Yusuf Shabbir, Blackburn, UK
3 Jumādā al-Ūlā 1436 / 3 March 2015