Would you like to visit a mosque being as careful as possible not to offend the believers? In this article, we offer you 10 things to avoid when visiting a mosque.
Currently, traveling to Istanbul or flying to Marrakech are options that are in high demand by travelers from all over the world. And there is no shortage of reasons: they are some of the most attractive destinations in the world. Among them is its monumental wealth, especially its mosques.
Visiting them is something that you cannot stop doing if you travel to a Muslim country. However, it is advisable to know in advance the rules of ritual decorum that exist in these temples.
In this way, we can enjoy its beauty, saving ourselves from uncomfortable situations. In this way, you will be able to enjoy artistic marvels such as the ones that we describe in this article about the largest mosques in the world.
Find out about visiting hours (and, depending on the place, whether access to non-Muslims is allowed)
This is an important point. You have to know that not all mosques are open to non-Muslims. Islam covers a very wide region of the planet, ranging from Africa to Indonesia. It is therefore a space in which there are many tendencies of theological interpretation.
Non-Muslim access to holy sites is often a point of contention between schools; therefore, you must inform yourself well on this matter. For example, while in Istanbul access to mosques is quite wide, in North Africa it is still a matter of controversy, so don’t be surprised if you are denied access.
Wear appropriate clothing…
As in practically all the temples of the world, very precise dress regulations apply in the mosques. Men must wear loose-fitting shirts and pants. It is also recommended that, in the case of shirts, you wear them buttoned up.
Women should also wear loose clothing, preferably loose clothing such as skirts, which should be long and cover the ankles. The upper part must also be carefully covered, including the neck and wrists. And, of course, it is necessary to cover your hair with a scarf or veil.
And, regarding the colors, both in men and women, the most respectful thing is to wear clothes with sober and discreet tones.
…and be careful what you do with it
During prayer, rules of decorum and piety apply that are related to what we do with our clothing. Actions that may be casual for us have a negative meaning if they occur during prayer: they may indicate disrespect or distraction from prayer.
For example, it is advisable not to fix your clothes while praying and not to roll up your sleeves, uncovering your arm.
They are, as we say, rules that are applied to Muslims in the course of prayer; however, we advise you to also comply with them in order to be as respectful as possible towards the believers.
Take off your shoes before entering
In the same way, as in other religions such as Buddhism, it is necessary to take off your shoes before entering the prayer area. In general, you can find wardrobes where you can deposit your shoes; however, in some mosques, many of them in India, there are shoe keepers to whom you can trust your shoes in exchange for a few coins.
Pay attention to your posture inside the mosque
As you surely know, prayer in mosques is done on the ground. For this reason, it is recommended that you interfere as little as possible in the service and be discreet. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
Above all, remember that sitting with your legs outstretched is a sign of disrespect and that kneeling is a prayer position reserved only for those of the Muslim faith.
However, it may happen that you attend a prayer performed standing up (which also exists). If you find yourself in this situation, it is advisable not to put your hands on your waist, since it is considered a disrespectful gesture.
It is also not advisable that, during prayer, you look at the sky; it is considered a lack of trust in Allah. It is a rule that, of course, applies to believers, but it is also recommended that you follow it to show maximum respect for them.
Do not forget that during worship men and women have to remain separated
It is something that should be known if we are going to visit a mosque with someone of the other sex. Women are separated from men according to religious tradition. A use that can vary depending on the mosque or the region.
It may happen that in some mosques, for example, those in Istanbul, the women are located in separate rooms, or that, as in other Muslim temples, the women are placed behind the men.
Stand at the back of the prayer area
If you are not a Muslim or do not know this religion very thoroughly, we advise you to try to interfere as little as possible in the cult. Stand at the back of the prayer area. In this way you will not hinder the path of the believers who are going to pray. Also, keeping silent during worship is a sign of respect that will help you go more unnoticed.
Take photos discreetly
It is not advisable for you to wander around the interior of the mosque during prayers taking photos, as is sometimes the case in Western churches. However, it should be noted that taking photos is not prohibited.
The most advisable thing is to do it when no liturgical act takes place. However, if you want to prevent yourself from any mishap, we recommend that you take photos with some discretion, even outside of liturgical hours. After all, for believers you are in a sacred space and not a tourist attraction.
It is advisable that you take a scarf with you in summer
As we mentioned in a previous point, covering your head with a veil is mandatory. If you are going to visit a mosque at a time other than summer, when there is normally less crowd and it is not hot, it is optimal that you accept one of the scarves that are offered to you at the entrance.
However, in summer, it is recommended that you bring your own scarf. This will save you from having to put on one that has been previously worn by someone else (and maybe sweated by someone else).
Put the mobile on silent
Very important. It goes without saying that this act is absolutely essential if there is someone praying in the room. It is necessary to respect your collection without mobile sounds (both calls and WhatsApp notifications).
Even so, if you want to maintain maximum respect, it is best to silence your mobile even if you are not close to a person praying or at a time when a liturgical act is taking place.