In an attempt to keep the decorum of the Mosque as a place of worship, we advise brothers and sisters to switch off their cell phones upon entering the Masjid. This will help them as well as other people praying to perform their prayers in tranquility.
The prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, states the following: “Islam is keen that the Muslim’s prayer should be perfect in terms of focus and humility, far removed from anything that may distract the praying person from prayer.
Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We used to pray with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when it was intensely hot. When one of us could not bear to press his face to the ground (because of the heat), he would spread his garment and prostrate on it.”
(Reported by Al-Bukhari).
In his commentary on the aforementioned Hadith, Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, states: “The apparent meaning is that they used to do that in order to remove the distraction caused by the hot ground.” (Fath Al-Bari, 1/493)
It is reported that Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, went into I’tikaaf in the Mosque, and he heard them reciting Qur’an in a loud voice. He drew back the curtain and said, “Each of you is conversing privately with his Lord, so do not disturb one another or raise your voices above one another when reading the Qur’an – or he said, when praying.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, 1332)
The above Hadith clearly makes it forbidden for people to distract one another from prayer by the Qur’anic recital.
In conclusion: Islam stresses on humility and concentration in prayer and encourages us to be persistent in that. What we see of these cell phones in the situation you mention is something that causes people to lose concentration and humility in prayer, because it is a disturbance that affects the spirit and tranquillity of prayer. We advise our brothers and sisters to switch off their mobile phones at the time of prayer.”