Ahaadeeth about the decoration of mosques
Fatwa No: 300670

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I read 2 hadiths and would like to know whether they are correct 1. Abu Darda said that when you start decorating your mosques and beautifying your mus-haf... 2. Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said that when the sins of a nation increase, then their mosques become greatly decorated. And decorated mosques will only be constructed at the time of the emergence of the Dajjal. And what are their references?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

As for the first hadeeth, it was cited by ʻAbdur-Razzaaq in his book Al-Musannaf as a mawqoof report (i.e. a narration attributed to a Companion) on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reading, “When you adorn your mus-hafs (i.e. the written copies of the Quran) and embellish your mosques, then destruction will be your lot.

The hadeeth was also cited by Al-Hakeem At-Tirmithi in his book Nawaadir Al-Usool on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him as a marfooʻ hadeeth attributed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam. It was also cited by Ibn Al-Mubaarak in his book Az-Zuhd and Ibn Abi Layla in his book Al-Masaahif. Ibn Abu Layla also cited the hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him in the same book. It reads, "When you start decorating your mosques and adorning your mus-hafs, then await your destruction." Al-Albaani declared the version cited by Al-Hakeem At-Tirmithi as good. It is cited in Saheeh Al-Jaami’, hadeeth no. 585.

As for the second hadeeth, it is a mawqoof report attributed to Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him  and not attributed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, as a marfoo’ hadeeth. It was cited by Abu ʻAmr Ad-Daani in his book As-Sunan Al-Waaridah fi Al-Fitan on the authority of Layth ibn Abi Sulaym from Abu Husayn that Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, “When the sins of a given people increase, then their mosques become decorated; decorated mosques will only be constructed at the time of the emergence of the Dajjaal (Antichrist).Al-Albaani commented on this report saying, “This mawqoof report is weak because its chain of narration contains Layth ibn Abi Sulaym who was labeled as mukhtalit (confused in his narration due to poor memory because of old age, an illness, or the like).

The majority of Muslim jurists hold the view that it is disliked to decorate the mosques with gold or silver, engrave them, write on them, plaster them, or do any other thing that might distract the worshipper from his prayer. Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “I have not been ordered to build high, lofty, plastered mosques.” [Ibn Hibbaan, Abu Daawood, and Ibn Maajah] Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, “Indeed you will decorate the mosques just like the Christians and Jews decorated their places of worship.

The version of the hadeeth cited by Ibn Maajah reads, “I see that you are going to build your mosques high after my death in the same way that the Jews built their synagogues high and the Christians built their churches high.

Anas ibn Maalik  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The Hour will not come to pass until people would vie in boasting with each other in building mosques.” [Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Hibbaan, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]

Allaah knows best.

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