#190: Searching for Lost Item in A Mosque

Question:

Is it permissible to search for a missing item in a mosque?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

The mosque is an important institution in developing society. The role of a mosque includes as an agent to unite the society and help in solving their affairs. A truly functional mosque will bring about a lot of benefits and advantages to the surrounding society in the aspect of spiritual and knowledge development as well as a reference and service centre in society. Furthermore, its functions can also be widened to the islah of economy and society.

Mosque (مَسْجِد) in Arabic is a name of the place of prostration. According to syara’ it can be defined into two: A surface of the earth, this is based on the statement of the Prophet PBUH:

وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا

“The earth has been made for me a place of prostration,” [1]

Whilst, the terminology or ‘urf (customarily known) mosque is a place prepared to pray forever. [2]

The prohibition against broadcasting a missing item in a mosque is stated in the prophetic evidence narrated from Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

مَنْ سَمِعَ رَجُلًا يَنْشُدُ ضَالَّةً فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَلْيَقُلْ لَا رَدَّهَا اللهُ عَلَيْكَ فَإِنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لَمْ تُبْنَ لِهَذَا

“Whoever hears a man crying out in the mosque about something he has lost, he should say, ‘May Allah not restore it to you, for the mosques were not built for this.” [3]

Ibn Abd al-Barr stated: Allah SWT states that a mosque is built to uphold and pronounce His name and recite tasbih to Him every morning and evening. This is the reason a mosque is built. Then it is permissible to purify a mosque from matters that it isn’t built for. [4]

Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili, the brother of Syeikh Wahbah al-Zuhaili, wrote the book Mausu’ah Qadhaya Islamiyyah Mu’asarah (1/217-219) the functions of a mosque. A mosque as Allah’s house is not built solely for worship and prayer but includes various risalah of a mosque, among them, are:

  • A mosque’s role is as a place for spiritual development.
  • The role of a mosque is as a place to socialize and strengthen social relationships.
  • A mosque is a place of education and training.
  • A mosque is a place to resolve one’s life’s problems such as qadha’ and others.
  • A mosque is a place to plan or strategize political systems such as syura, bai’ah and decide on resolutions as well as in making huge decisions

According to the above question, we state that a mosque is not the place to search for a lost item and it is unnecessary for him to raise his voice to inform others in a mosque. We suggest that it is enough for it to be broadcasted or written on the notice boards. State the type of the missing item and if there is anyone who claims it is his, then ask the person to describe the item before returning it to him.

Wallahu ‘alam.

 

[1] Narrated by al-Bukhari (438)

[2] (See Mu‘jam Lughat Al-Fuqaha, pg. 428 and Ahkam al-Sajid, pg. 26-27).

[3] Narrated by Muslim (568), Ibn Majah (1321), al-Tirmidzi (767), al-Tabarani (480) and al-Hakim (2339).

[4] See al-Istidzkar, 2/368

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