Should You or Should You Not Bring Your Child to the Masjid?
*Snippet from my upcoming book #Abahsdiary
Every parents might have that dilemma of wanting to feel the serenity of performing ibadah at the Masjid but are caught in between what you want and what is best for your children. I would like to share with you two stories that made me think twice before bringing my child to the Masjid. Maybe you can relate.
Several months before Ramadan (1439/2018), I brought my son to the nearest Masjid to our home. My son at this time is 2 years 3 months old. My intention was to familiarise him with the House of Allah thus implanting in him the love of Masjid, something that my father did when I was young.
Understanding the temperament of children, research has identified three temperament types of practical significance in children’s development and adjustment namely: easy, difficult, and slow-to warm-up temperament. Generally, the three temperaments (However, the temperaments may overlap with one another) are characterised below:
1. Easy: is generally in a positive mood, quickly establishing regular routines in infancy and adapts easily to new experiences.
2. Difficult / Feisty: tends to react negatively and cry frequently, engaging in irregular daily routines and is slow to accept new experiences.
3. Slow to Warm Up Child: has a low activity level, is somewhat negative, shows low adaptability and displays a low intensity of mood.
Knowing my son, he falls under the categories of Easy and Difficult / Feisty. He adapts rather quickly with other stranger-kids and is happy when we go out to somewhere new to him. He gets bored easily, that’s why we don’t usually stay at home very often, we go out to the park or playground to entertain his energy. I would categorise this as easy. My son is very loud. He expresses his frustrations and demands very loudly and clearly. This is feisty I believe.
My son is pretty much exited to go to any Masjids because of the song “Mari Ke Masjid” by the famous Omar & Hana edutainment cartoon by Digital Durian (DD) and Astro. So that day, him and I went to the Masjid to pray Maghrib prayer. As usual, he will make noise like saying out-loud “Tepi, Adik nak lat” (Tepi, adik nak solat / Move away, I want to pray) as he makes his way through the lines of people to get to stand beside me. When I am making my sujud (prostration), he will climb on my back. If I am praying fardhu prayer, I will try to gently shake him off, but if I am praying sunat prayer, I will let him climb on my back until he descends by himself.
Actually, I have several times brought him to other Masjids before. But this time, after I’ve prayed sunat prayer after Maghrib, an elderly man with white hair came to me. He greeted me like asking where I live, how many children do I have, where do I work. But then came his real intention “I want to give a piece of advice, please don’t bring your child to the Masjid. He is noisy and he is disturbing other people.” I can argue with him in a hadith the prophet prolonged his prostration because one of his grandchildren was on his back. He waited until his grandchild autonomously came down.
But I did not want to prolong the disagreement with him, he is an old man. It’s difficult sometimes reasoning with an old man. Usually they will think that they are right all the time. Initially, I wanted to spend some more time reciting the Quran while my son will inspect the Masjid by himself, let him be free without the influence of his parent. But since the old man has disrupted my intention, I thanked him and quickly made our retreat.
Our Masjids are not child-friendly. Let me rephrase, people who go to the Masjid are not child-friendly. Unnecessary rules like what the uncle said to me is the status-quo believed in our society. Children’s job is playing. Society’s job is to accommodate that and look beyond the ‘nuisance’. Things like this make me dislike bringing my child to the Masjid. We want to educate the young, to be close to the house of Allah, but other people wish to rescind that relationship.
Then you question “Why we do not see young people at the Masjid?”
During Ramadan, the volume of people who go to the Masjids quadruples with adults and children alike. The spirit of Ramadan surely changes how people think. During Ramadan, the mentality of “don’t bring your child because he will disturb other people” is not seen. Maybe because of iftar and terawikh.
But another challenge lies ahead. That day, after several times bringing our son to the same Masjid, Masjid Hasanah, Bandar Baru Bangi for iftar, our son seems to be familiar with the Masjid’s design. The catch is, like Masjid Putrajaya, Masjid Hasanah has a bigger and more enticing playground. But we have never brought him to play there, strictly for iftar then Maghrib prayer.
My son, as I’ve explained above, cannot sit still. He is active and he must do something to quench his energy. I like to joke with other people “My son will only be quiet when he eats and when he sleeps”. Each time after iftar, I will bring him to pray beside me along with the congregational prayer. Before this, throughout the prayer, he will disappear for a while, but he will come back to me. Three rakaats of prayer then three times he will come back and stand beside me. But that day, he was beside me in the start of the prayer, then he vanished without coming back to me.
I was in anxiety. This time around, the news of 17-month-old Nur Aisyah Hasmizan being kidnapped was viral on social media. The infant was kidnapped and left in the trees where she was bitten by insects. A heart-breaking news indeed. Can you imagine such incident happened during the month of Ramadan? How ill hearted is the culprit?
My son is just a year older than Nur Aisyah. In my mind, if somebody would kidnap my son, in the midst of hundreds of people in the Masjid, the hopes of me finding him would be near to none.
After finished prayer, I informed my wife and of course, she was worried. I searched the whole enormous Masjid Hasanah for him. I was petrified, will I lose my son? Are there any hopes of finding him?
I remembered that this Masjid has a playground, let’s check there. To my surprise, my wife called me while she was holding my son in her arms. What a relief. My son was leaving the playground and most probably was going to the main prayer hall where we were initially there.
My wife told me that she asked him “Adik pergi mana?” (Where did you go?) he answered innocently “Adik gi main” (I went to play). I nearly cried. My wife nearly cried.
This is another reason you will think twice before bringing your child to the Masjid.
My wife said that we will never go to the Masjid ever again. But I said to her, if we want to bring him after this, we will have to take turns.
The world other than our own is full of unpredictability. We do not know who is our neighbours; maybe they are good people, maybe they are bad people in disguise. We cannot shut ourselves from the world outside but we got to take extra precautions.
In answering the above question, there is no simple answer. You should bring your child to the Masjid regardless of what people may think provided that you have taken all the necessary steps to secure the safety of your child.
 Guerin, D. W., Gottfried, A. W., Oliver, P. H., & Thomas, C. W. (2003). Temperament: Infancy through Adolescence. The Fullerton Longitudinal Study. Boston, MA: Springer US.
 The Messenger of Allah came out to us for one of the two later prayers [Thuhr Asr], carrying Hasan or Hussein. The Prophet then came to the front and put him down, 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 grandson 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)