Why Many Mosques Are Being Abandoned

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Mosques are sacred places for Muslims to perform prayers and engage in various activities. The term “mosque” originates from the Arabic word سجد-يسجد, meaning to prostrate, forming the word مسجيد, an “ism makan” that signifies a place for prostration.

Mosques, intended as centers of worship and communal gathering, should be the vibrant heart of Muslim life. However, a growing phenomenon is the increasing abandonment of mosques by their communities. Despite Allah’s command for Muslims to keep mosques vibrant, as stated in Surah At-Taubah, verse 18:

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إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰهِ مَنْ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْاٰخِرِ وَاَقَامَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتَى الزَّكٰوةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ اِلَّا اللّٰهَ ۗفَعَسٰٓى اُولٰۤىِٕكَ اَنْ يَّكُوْنُوْا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِيْنَ

“The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish prayer, give zakat, and fear none but Allah. It is expected that those will be of the (rightly) guided.”

The term “vibrant” in this context comes from the Arabic word يَعْمُرُ, meaning to inhabit or dwell. This word also gives rise to عُمُر, referring to someone still living in the world, and عمران, meaning civilization.

During the Prophet’s era, mosques were multifunctional, serving not only as places of worship but also as centers for education, discussion, and problem-solving. In contrast, today’s mosques often serve solely for worship, losing the multifaceted role they played during the Prophet’s time, despite Allah’s command to keep them vibrant.

Social factors play a significant role in the declining mosque attendance. Rapid urbanization and high mobility have altered social dynamics, weakening social bonds and reducing the motivation to visit mosques. Many mosques fail to adapt to modern social and spiritual needs, making them less appealing to the younger generation.

Moreover, the lack of comfort in mosque facilities, such as illegal parking fees, exorbitant charges for luggage storage, and similar issues, deters people from attending. The presence of elderly imams with frequent errors in their recitations further discourages worshippers.

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