Children in the Masjid
By Um Walid
Nowadays, it is unfortunate that in many masjids both brothers and sisters are annoyed at the presence of children. A cry from a baby or a roaming toddler can sometimes illicit a rude comment. As always, our best example is the prophet (saws). These hadith illustrate the prophet (saws) attitude at the presence of children in the masjid.
The Messenger of Allah SAWS came out to us for one of the two later prayers (dhuhr or asr), carrying Hasan or Hussein. The Prophet then came to the front and put him down (next to his right foot) said takbir for the prayer and commenced praying. During the prayer, he performed a very long prostration, so I raised my head and there was the child, on the back of the Messenger of Allah , who was in prostration. I then returned to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah had offered the prayer, the people said: 'O Messenger of Allah! in the middle of your prayer, you performed prostration and lengthened it so much that we thought either something had happened or that you were receiving revelation!' He said: 'Neither was the case. Actually, my son made me his mount, and I did not want to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish.'" (Reported by Nasaa'i, Ibn Asaakir, and Haakim)
"He (the Prophet ) was praying. When he performed sajdah, Hasan and Hussein jumped onto his back. When the people tried to stop them, he gestured them to leave the two alone. After offering his prayer, he placed them in his lap and said, 'Whoever loves me should love these two.'" (Reported by Ibn Khuzaimah and Baihaqi)
"The Messenger of Allah SAWS was praying and he was carrying Umama the daughter of Zainab, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, and she was the daughter of 'As ibn Rabi'a ibn Abdu-Shams. When he prostrated, he put her down, and when he stood, he carried her (on his neck)." (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
"The Prophet said: 'When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child's mother.'" (Reported by Bukhari)
Advice from Lukman to his son
Surah Lukman verse 12-19
Some commentary on these verses from Tafseer Ibn Katheer.
*About Lukman there are different interpretation about him. He was most likely a righteous man of African descent and was a distinguished man among his people. There were three probabilities of where he came from. He was either from the area of Ethophia (Habshah), Nuba (south of Egypt) or Sudan. He was believed to live during the time of Prophet Dawuud (AS).
12. And indeed We bestowed upon Lukman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.) saying: "Give thanks to Allah," and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his own self. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.
13. And (remember) when Lukman said to his son when he was advising him: "O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.
*Verse 13 informed us to obey and worship Allah and not to associate anything with Him. Shirk or making partner with Allah is a great transgression.
14. And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents, - unto Me is the final destination.
*From verse 14 Allah (SWT) make it a significant obligation to take good care of our parents which come right after the order of worshipping Him and not making Shirk.
(Children need to be reminded of how hard it is for the parents especially the mother to take care of them, especially when they were small and helpless)
15. But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.
*From verse 15, we need to treat the children with kindness while asking them to treat us with kindness. We ourselves have to show kindness to our parents at all times even if they asked you to disobey Allah’s order.
16. "O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed , and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle (in bringing out that grain), Well-Aware (of its place).
*From verse 16, we need to emphasize to the children that even small deeds, good or bad will receive its reward or punishment and all will be brought out by Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgment. This will encourage them to pay extra attention to and be more careful of the consequences of their behavior.
17. "O my son! Aqim-is-Salat (offer prayer perfectly), enjoin (people) for Al-Ma’ruf - (Islamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e disbelief in the Oneness of Allah, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily! These are some of the important commandments ordered by Allah with no exemption.
*Verse 17. Lessons here include encouraging children to make salah on time. Keeping in mind that we, the parents are PRIME examples. Making the salah according to what is prescribed by the Prophet SAW. Encouraging them to do good and forbid evil to the best of their ability and be patient while doing this because not everybody will respond positively to them and some people may make fun of them instead, so it is best to remind them of this often.
18. "And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster.
*Verse 18. Encourage them to have good manners. To be gentle, helpful, and to treat people with respect. Be humble and avoid arrogance.
19. "And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass."
*Verse 19. Teach them not to walk with pride, not to walk too fast or too slow and do not raise their voices unless it is necessary.
Encouraging Children To Pray
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Asr, narrated that the Apostle of Allah (saw) said, "Command your children to make salah when they become seven years old, and spank them for it (salah) when they become ten years old, and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately." (Abu Dawud)
Informal teaching should start when child starts to show interest usually occurs around the age of two.
Let them pretend to make salah.
Invite them to pray along side and join the family jemaah prayer.
The next step is to learn al-Fatihah which should begin around the age of three or four. Break down the instructions by using reasonable number of verses or small segments.
The practice session should only last between 5 to 15 minutes. At this age consistency is more important than length of practice.
Important to remember that not all children are ready at the same time and that not everyday will the child be ready to learn new materials.
Educational products can assist parents in achieving success with their children because children generally learn in different ways therefore introduction of material through different format (video, coloring book, going to the masjid) will help ease and reinforce the learning process.
One of the most important thing that a parent should do is to praise the child for each accomplished task and encouragement to achieve more success.
Al Jumuah Vol 11 Issue 5/6
Being Fair and Just with Our Children
The Messenger of Allah (saw), also said: "Treat your child equally, treat your child equally, treat your child equally." (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban)
Al-Nu'man ibn Bashir said: "My father conferred upon me a slave as a gift. He took me to Allah Messenger (saw), to get a witness. The Messenger of Allah said, 'Have you given a gift to every son of yours such as you have awarded Al-Nu'man?' He my father said, 'No.' The Messenger of Allah said, 'Be mindful of your obligation to Allah and do justice in respect of your children.' My father came back and revoked his gift." (Agreed upon)
Usama bin Zaid (ra) narrated: Allah Messenger (saw) used to put me on (one of) his thighs and Hasan bin Ali on his other thigh, and then embraced us and said: "O Allah! Please be Merciful to them, as I am merciful to them." (Bukhari)
Al-Jumuah Vol. 11 Issue 9