Why do we remove our shoes when entering a Mosque? 20:12

In Tawaf around the Kaaba.

سُوۡرَةُ طٰه

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

إِنِّىٓ أَنَا۟ رَبُّكَ فَٱخۡلَعۡ نَعۡلَيۡكَ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ بِٱلۡوَادِ ٱلۡمُقَدَّسِ طُوً۬ى (١٢)

“Verily I am thy Lord! Therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa. (12)


Allah Subhanawataala is teaching Prophet Muhammad of the difficulties that Prophets in the past have endured. The example Allah Subhanawataala gives here is the story of Moses (AS) Thus when Moses AS is traveling he sees a fire at some distance. He speaks respectfully to his wife that “I have seen a fire which feels different than any other fire and that is might lead me to some guidance and that I may bring a small part of it, to you”, and Moses (AS) heads towards the fire.

TAFSEER BY DR. FARHAT HASHMI (Translated from Urdu)

As Prophet Musa (AS) reaches near the Fire He is called and the voice says: I am your Rab (Your Lord) and remove your shoes, you are in a holy valley of Tuwa.

Allah Subhanawataala is teaching Moses (AS) and all of us the etiquette of approaching a Holy place (Muqaddas) where one may be in front of Allah Subhanawataala.

Why did the valley of Tuwa become Holy?

It was because Allah Subhanawataala was going to address Moses AS and confer upon him Naboowat (Prophethood) at that place. Any place where Allah’s Dhikr is done, Salah is done, Quran is recited, becomes a holy (blessed) place.

This ayah reveals the etiquette of being in front of Allah (whether it is in Salah or Dhikr) .The removal of shoes is an essential part of the etiquette of being in a holy place and in the presence of Allah.

Sometimes people say well, my shoes are clean; I don’t need to remove them. The primary reason for removal of the shoes is not necessarily that they are dirty (which is a valid reason also) but because it is a sign of respect when we step into a holy place, where one addresses Allah (Dhikr, Salah, and recite Quran).

Though we are given clear guidelines in what is the etiquette of standing in front of Him (Salah), but Allah Subhanawataala through his infinite mercy has made exceptions in certain extenuating circumstances where one can wear shoes to pray Salah.

Allah says this valley is Holy.

When does a place become holy (Muqaddas) ?

it is when a holy act is performed there, where Allah’s Dhikr is done, where Allah is remembered, and Salah is performed. For example, The Haramain, to do tawaf around the Kaaba, and in the masajed around the world.

The essential intention of removal of shoes is to demonstrate ones respect and humility in front of Allah.

End tafseer

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