Is Using the Word ‘Mosque’ Offensive to Muslims?
There’s a lot of discussion about the origin of the word “mosque.” One of the most popular explanations is that during the reign of King Ferdinand and his wife Queen Isabella -when they were expanding Christianity against the Muslims-one of them supposedly stated that they were going to swat the Muslims in the masjid where they congregate, like mosquitoes.
This allegedly gave rise to the term “mosque.” Now, there is no conclusive evidence that this story is true, however, the term “mosque” is not correct, whether it’s offensive or not.
Make no mistake about it, many Muslims are offended by the term. So, what does this word “mosque” mean? Mosque is used to describe the place of worship for Muslims.
As the church is to Christians
As the temple is to Jews
As the “mosque” is to Muslims
What’s the big deal? Well, “mosque” is supposed to be a translation of the Arabic word “masjid” (pronounced just as you see it).
The problem is that there is not one word in the English language that defines masjid. “Mosque” is derived from the French language. Generally, you’re not going to define an English word with a French word.
The best English translation for masjid, and Allah knows best, is 4 words and they are “the place of worship.”
So, the next time you’re speaking with a Muslim and this subject comes up, use the term “masjid” (this will show that you know a little more about Islamic terms than the average person) or “your place of worship.”
You’ll avoid a headache.