Monday, August 8, 2011

Children in the Mosque

I know that it's not as recommended for women to pray in the mosque as it is for men (where it can even be said that it's obligatory). I chose to see it like that ("not as recommended") instead of the similar but very different point of view that women are better at home and therefore not only is it less recommended for them to pray at the mosque, but flat-out not recommended (since there is a better option). But that's not really what my post is about...

Since it's "less recommended" for women to pray at the mosque, in the case that her child is interrupting others' prayers at the mosque, is it better than she stop her own prayer to re-pray it later, either in the mosque or at home, in order to stop her child and allow others to pray in peace?

My personal point of view is that yes, a mom is better off stopping right in the middle of her own prayer to tend to her child, whether the child is interrupting because of being hurt, crying or even laughing or running around. I don't really care the reason - if it's bothering people, it needs to be addressed. It will benefit the rest of the congregation (being able to pray in peace) and as well the child who will learn how they should behave instead of being left to do whatever they want until the prayer is over.

This happened with me on Friday. Nora was being quiet (so she was doing what I had requested of her) but she was making another child laugh by silently peekabooing and then later by pretending to run after the child. The child was laughing A LOT and Nora was also emitting a quick giggle here and there (trying to be quiet). I decided to stop it right there and brought her outside to explain that even if she was being quiet, it was not appropriate to be making another child laugh because prayer was a quiet time and that she would not go in until others were finished their prayer. She was upset but understood and when we went back in, she prayed all 4 rakahs beside me. She told me and her dad she was sorry and then she continued quietly playing with the toys she brought. I explained that it was OK to quietly play and make a little bit of noise during this time because prayer was over, but that we still could not be loud.

So in the end, I did my prayer at the mosque even if it was not in congregation and Nora really did learn something, AND ended up doing it with me!

I asked the imam and he said it was better not to stop the prayer unless there was danger for the child. So in a case like mine, his advice was to continue praying, saying that people understood that children did things like that in the mosque and they had to be understanding. He was very nice and open about it though. Didn't tell me I did wrong, just that it would have been better to continue my prayer and that it was possible to give her a gesture or grab her if needed while praying without breaking my prayer. He taught me something useful though - that if during congregational prayer I stop it, I can come back in for any of the rakahs and start my prayer there, continuing beyond the congregation to finish my rakahs. I didn't know this so I'm glad to have gotten this beneficial information from him.

What do you moms do when your child is being disruptive or what do you think should be done if you don't have children?

9 Comentários:

Kaighla said...

You absolutely did the right thing. Whether it is because she is crying, laughing or screaming, it is the best thing to stop in the middle and let everyone enjoy their prayer right now and you can enjoy your later. This is a real pet peave of mine, being the sheikh's wife, and especially during Ramadan. People are always asking me why I don't come to the masjid more often and I explain that it is because my son is 3 and rambunctious and my daughter is 7 mos and very fast at crawling. They seem disappointed and I explain that not only will they be distracting people in their prayer (therefore taking away their sisters' rights in the masjid) but I wont be able to focus either, so it is better not to. And during Ramadan, there are some women who, for whatever reason, refuse to put their kids in the baby-sitting. These women that babysit in our masjid are amazing, very kind, very patient and very considerate with the kids and mothers. anyway, they refuse to put them in babysitting and everytime they have to bow for rukoo, the kid starts screaming until the sujood is over and the mom picks him up again. It's insane! and let's not even breach the subject of teens and tweens roaming the halls, sitting on the stairs and chit-chatting away! AARRRGGHHH!!!
And on the subject of "better to pray at home" and such, it really isn't as complicated and/or sexist as it seems. We get more reward for praying at home according to an authentic hadith. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said that the greatest reward for a woman in her prayer is to pray at her home in the innermost roome of her home, so as private as she can get it. It is my theory that this is because, for one thing, that women are more easily distracted in their prayers when surrounded by other people because we are creatures of beauty and environment and we are natually inclined to admire the beauty of someone's jilbab or be annoyed at the smell of something or worry about someone's screaming kid. And as far as this implying that women should therefore always pray at home and are not recommended to pray in the masjid, this is false. The Prophet Muhammad's wives used to go to fajr alone and he even said that one should not stop his wives from going to the masjid even if it is in the middle of the night. And again, it's about intentions. Why are these women going to the masjid? Are they trying to focus in their salat or are they chit-chatting with their homies in between rakats? Ya know what I mean?

Mona Z said...

I tend to side with you, I'd rather stop and tend to the child than to be responsible for a whole bunch of people not being able to concentrate. But the women's section in the mosque here is a zoo so I don't go.

Fahad said...

Glad that you are on the right track :)

Anonymous said...

A lot of women I know seem to think that if they enforce the respect and honor that the masjid deserves as a house of worship, that somehow the children will not grow up to love Islam... I find this utterly ridiculous. And this goes with the idea that we need to "make Ramadan fun" for children when we are not in a Muslim dominated society... This is my opinion, coming from a convert (so take it how you like).
I have seen this all before, and been that child (only in a different religion). The holidays are made to be fun with decorations, gifts and the focus becomes about "what will I get?" instead of "what do I give?" and the house of worship becomes about "is it fun for me and do I get to see my friends?" Instead of learning how to pray, understanding the history and how I should live my life.
Then I grew up. My understanding of religion was empty. The meaning behind holy days lost. So I went on a path to find my belief and faith. Thanks to God, I found my Peace; Islam.

So, take it as you wish, but if you want your child to grow up as a strong Muslim teach them about the respect, devotion, difficulties, strengths, history and tradition of Islam. Someday they will grow up and need all of that.

truth said...

lots of respect.your comment is thought provoking.
many other stephi's lost their faith also the following words

which YOU said :
.... but if you want your child to grow up as a strong Muslim teach them about the respect, devotion, difficulties, strengths, history and tradition of Islam. Someday they will grow up and need all of that.
ME: i really want to follow your advise.

Candice said...

Stephi: I didn't know how to take your post when I first read it. I thought maybe you misunderstood me or one of the comments because no one said anything like that. I think you just meant to show the other side of the picture and show you agree with me and most comments?

truth said...

I also agree with sister Kaighla.
So close to my feelings.

Candice said...

Kaighla: So weird that women would not put their children in the babysitting. It's there for a reason! Unless the child is at a praying age or learning to, he or she should be in babysitting if the service is available (and good).

You really gave me a lot to think about about women being more easily distracted. I think it might be the case overall (but maybe not - who knows). Women with children though - yes. More easily distracted than men with kids I'm sure. Most men will just totodoodloo and continue what they're doing without worry.

lala said...

you did the right thing. kids are smart and if they know they can get away with something at a certain time, they'll usually try it lol! you have to let them know that you will always correct them when necessary in my opinion... that being said, i dont go to the masjid bc i have a 1.5 month old and a toddler who isnt even 2, and our masjid has no daycare

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