English Across the Curriculum


Rules on How to Behave in a Mosque

There are many rules that worshipers must obey when they are in a mosque. In most mosques, a religious leader, called imam, is in charge of praying, but in smaller mosques prayers may be said by ordinary Muslims.

Muslims must clean themselves before they enter a mosque. There are washing areas where they can wash their hands and face before entering the prayer hall. The floors of such a hall are normally covered with a carpet. It is not allowed to step on it with shoes.

Loud talking in a mosque is forbidden. It is also disrespectful to walk in front of Muslims who are praying.

Traditionally men and women are separated in mosques, although the Quran does not say anything about separation. Sometimes the women pray in rows behind the men, but more often they stay at home and pray.

Most mosques in bigger cities are open to tourists, but they too must obey the strict rules. You must wear clothes that do not offend Allah. Women are required to wear clothes that cover their body to their ankles and wrist. In some areas mosques are only open to Muslims.

Prayer hall in Hongkong

Chongkian, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons