Back in 2014 I visited a mosque 3 times and the final time was very informative and a valuable experience. I'm thinking of attending again this Wednesday.

However it's been long time and I've forgotten the rules and etiquette (aside from the fact that you're not supposed to wear shoes inside the Mosque).

What is the dress code when attending a Mosque? And more specifically, are shorts appropriate? It is insanely hot in the middle of summer right now and I'd rather avoid wearing dress pants or jeans. Although I'll do it if I need to.

Is there anything else I should be aware of before I visit the Mosque?


3 Answers 3


Muslims don't really expect non-Muslims to know what to do, and etiquette will vary from mosque to mosque. It's really not a big deal if you slip up unintentionally; at worst, someone will politely explain it to you.

With regards to dress, here's the NewMuslims.com guidelines for new Muslims:

The general rule is that a Muslim should be clean, wear clean clothes, and not smell bad when he or she comes to the mosque. He should avoid everything that has an offensive smell like that caused by eating raw garlic, raw onions, or smoking.

This seems like good advice for the non-Muslim too. Just dressing respectably and modestly should be fine, and if there's anything specific the people at the mosque will let you know.

I would advise against wearing shorts, but probably no-one will care unless you enter a prayer area:

For tourist the rules are less strict, but when you plan a trip to a mosque try to dress modestly. The hair of the women as well as the shoulders and knees of both genders should be covered. If this is not the case, some mosques provide scarves and attires free of charge. -- The Istanbul Insider

What else you would need to know:

  • In indoor spaces in the mosque, you'll need to take off your shoes.

  • Don't make a lot of noise. And ensure your mobile phone does not ring in the prayer areas.

  • Avoid walking in front of anyone praying. See: Is my congregational prayer invalid if a person walks in front of me?

  • Ordinarily, it's okay to take photos of the mosque, and photos with friends while you're there, but avoid taking photos of random people.

  • Touching the Qur'an should be done in a state of purity, but it's probably not a big deal for non-Muslims, provided they treat it with respect: Can Non-Muslim read Qur'an without wudu?

  • There's often a place to donate to the mosque and the charities it supports.

  • Some people might be uncomfortable with seeing images of beings with souls during prayer. [E.g. I took a keyring with chicks (i.e., baby chickens) into mosque, and the lady next to me moved it out of view. This also gives an idea of what might happen if one slips up.]

For women:

  • Women should be careful not to enter the men's prayer area, which might not be so obvious to non-Muslims. (Actually, this is true for men, but usually the women's spaces are far too difficult to walk into unintentionally.)

  • In some mosques, women will be required to cover their hair. So remember a headscarf (or borrow one).

  • I got thrown out of one although I did everything right (I was with a muslim friend). It was a friday just after some big prayer. I would add to the list "avoid going at the time with the biggest frequentation". Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 23:45

Consider picking the right time of the day/week depending on what you hope to see/do:

If you:

  • just want to have a look at people praying - look at the Mosque's prayer times (should be on their website).
  • Have a chat with someone about Islam - maybe ring the Imam (leader, like a priest I guess?) and see when he's available. I am sure he would be happy to answer any questions you have.
  • Listen to a speech - if so you should look at the mosque's website and find what days they have it on, OR possibly go to the weekly Friday sermon+prayer at noonish (but sit somewhere near the door/back so you can leave if you wish when they all get up [usually close to the spot they sat down in] and start to pray). Also note men and women sit in different rooms - as per Rebecca's answer.

    • One thing to be aware of is they chuck in a few Arabic words for things here and there so the first one you hear, a portion of it might sound like gibberish. It's still in English, but for words like the topic of the speech they might use Arabic words and you could be left wondering what they are talking about haha.

Especially in Turkey, every day thousands of tourists visit the Blue mosque, Selimiye mosque, and there are scarf and long skirt near doors before come in mosque.

It's funny that we saw that a man who with shorts they wear long skirt.

If you want to read more information about Turkey mosques can read that article top famous mosques in Istanbul.

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