Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
There is a mosque nearby which was initially a youth center with a soccer/basketball court inside. This center is now called a mosque and has plans to upgrade and become a more prominent mosque, but this may take years. It still retains the indoor soccer arena and is still used for sports before prayer time.
Does this center qualify as a mosque, although we still pray in the basketball area where sports are played?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.
As long as the center’s owner validly declared it to be a Mosque, as per the specifications below, it is a Mosque, and the other activities will not detract from its status as such, and Allah knows best.
Declaring Land or a Building, a Masjid
Land or a building becomes a Mosque (masjid) when the owner verbally permits people to pray in it and declares it as an endowment (waqf) to be used as a Mosque. [Mahalli, Sharh Al-Mahalli ʿala Al-Minhaj; Shirazi, Muhadhdhab]
‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) wanted to give some palm trees of his in charity, so he consulted the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). He instructed ‘Umar to turn it into a waqf (endowment) and said: “Give it in charity as a waqf that is not to be sold, given as a gift or inherited, but its yield may be spent (on charitable causes).” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Playing in the Mosque
Moderate and lawful recreational activities in a Mosque are permissible and do not detract from the status of the building or land that has been declared as a Mosque, and Allah knows best.
Our Mother, ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), said: “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was screening me with his rida’ (garment covering the upper part of the body) while I was looking at the Ethiopians who were playing in the courtyard of the mosque. (I continued watching) till I was satisfied. So you may deduce from this event how a little girl (who has not reached the age of puberty) who is eager to enjoy amusement should be treated in this respect.” [Bukhari]
I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.