By: Iftikhar Islam
Whenever I visit mosque for prayers, especially on Fridays, I witness a common behavior of adults with children. Children are separated from the main rows and pushed behind to form a new separate row exclusive of Children. They are separated in such a manner which affects the psychology of Children. Usually they come early for prayers and to listen ‘Friday Khutba’ – with parents, friends or alone – and occupy front rows. At the time of Congregation (Jama’a) they are pushed behind to form a new row or usually they have to stand out of the mosque or in hot sun, and amazingly many of the brothers even push children while they are praying. What effect will the child have when he is pushed during prayers? Do you think your prayers are better than them?
If you come late you don’t deserve the front rows, you don’t even have the authority to send any one back and occupy his place. Prophet (peace be upon him) strongly prohibited cutting rows and coming front and imagine when you send someone back to occupy his seat, is it not more disliked??
If we, being adults, behave in this fashion and think that we have done a great job, then let me tell you, we are at fault, we are not only cheating ourselves but cheating Allah too! And we don’t have any right to blame the young generation who walks near theatre, colleges, or roam here and there. Don’t blame children for their bad habits. It is you who have trained them. You never allowed them to pray in peace when they were children! And if you keep children away from mosque then what results are you expecting? “The seeds you sow, shall reap one day.”
Even at the time of Friday sermon (Khutba), youths as well as oldies (usually, those who maintain the mosque) watch children and threaten them to maintain silence. Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When the Imam is delivering the Khutba, and you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen, then no doubt you have done an evil act." [Saheeh Bukhari 1:13:56] If you allow children to pray along with his father or guardian he learns the prayer at an early age and will be keen in praying Salah. And there will be no need to stand and waste your jumah for maintaining silence. When a child can lead prayer, then why can’t he pray in between the rows??
The prophet (peace be upon him) never restricted children from entering the mosque. And he never prohibited from bringing children to mosque. In fact, Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whenever I stand for prayer, I want to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I would shorten it as I dislike to put its mother in trouble." [Saheeh Bukhari 1:12:827]. Indeed, Allah says “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern…” [Surah Ahzaab (33):21] (I suggest you to read full verse and ponder upon it). Do you think you are more sincere than the Prophet (peace be upon him)?
Abu Qatadi reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying the prayer while he was carrying Umama, daughter of Zainab, daughter of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). and Abu'l-'As b. al-Rabi'. When he stood up, he took her up and when he prostrated he put her down, [Saheeh Muslim 4:1107]
Make the mosque a familiar place for children and teach them the proper method of Praying. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.” [Abu Dawood 2:495] Realize the importance of Salah and hook your child with the mosque for it is the only place where your child will groom as a righteous person.