It goes without saying that building mosques is a meritorious act, as the mosque itself plays a great role in Islam. At the mosque prayers are offered, Allah is remembered, praised and glorified, the Qur’an is read, and the rulings of Islam are taught. But the role of the mosque is not restricted to this. The mosque plays an important social and political role. Praying in congregation in the mosque teaches people unity. The mosque also serves as a meeting place where people discuss their problems and try to find solutions for them.
Dr. Marawan Shahin, Professor of Hadith and its Sciences, Faculty of Usul Ad-Din (Theology), Al-Azhar Univ. states: “In fact, there is nothing wrong in turning this basement into a mosque to be a sadaqa jariyah or perpetual charity whose reward is dedicated to your father. In the books of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) it is stated that having a building above the mosque is permissible. Therefore, there is nothing at all against utilizing this basement as a mosque. This act should be encouraged, particularly if there is a need for a mosque in the area where this basement is located. However, if there is no need for a mosque in the area, it would be better to keep the unity of Muslims by having one mosque instead of causing them to be torn between several mosques in the same area. In this case, you can turn this building into a useful place for the community such as a charitable hospital or a kindergarten or nursery school in which children may learn the Qur’an and religious subjects. In this way, your father will gain the reward of sadaqa jariyah as well.”
Elaborating on the permissibility of turning basements into mosques, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states: “One of the characteristics of the Muslim Ummah is that Allah made the earth for Muslims a place for praying; therefore, any Muslim can pray wherever when the time of a prayer is due. Therefore, if one allocates a certain place for prayer and leads prayers therein, then it automatically turns into a mosque and all rules related to mosques are applied to it, and prayer in this place will become better and more rewardable than praying in any place other than mosques.”