In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Mosques are houses for worshiping Allah. In principle, they should be simple and plain.
2- Too much decoration in mosques is not only a waste of money, which is utterly forbidden, but also deprives the mosque of the sense of serenity that usually accompanies simplicity.
3- However, there is nothing wrong with providing the worshippers with moderate kinds of comfort and ease.
Responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of College of Islamic Studies, Mishkah University, states:
The establishment and maintenance of mosques are of the greatest acts of good which a person may embark on or take part in. This is by frequenting the houses of Allah as well as by building and maintaining them.
Allah Almighty says, “The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; perform Salah, and give Zakah and fear none but Allah. It is they who are on true guidance.” (Al- Tawbah 9:18)
Abu Dawud reported from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “I have not been commanded to build lofty mosques”.
When `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gave order to rebuild the mosque, he said: shield the people from rain, but beware of using red or yellow so as not to distract the people.
Having said that, it is important to say that the three sacred mosques are to be honored (without extravagance) for that brings comfort and confidence to the hearts of the Muslims.
The shades are helpful to protect people from the scorching heat of the sun in Arabia. Moreover, marbles make the ground cooler. These things are not for extravagance, but rather for comfort. If there are other manifestations of extravagance, they are not from the Sunnah of the Prophet.
We must also honor the Ka`bah. Muslims have always taken special interest in its cover, but as Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, the Muslim is more sacred than it in the sight of Allah. This statement of Ibn `Umar is not an exaggeration, for in the Muslim’s heart is the tawheed (monotheism) of Allah and faith in Him.
This doesn’t mean to neglect the Ka`bah, but it certainly means that we should give precedence to the hungry and needy Muslims, particularly those who suffer from other forms of injustice such as the occupation of their lands or embargo, etc.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.