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What is the age at which we should take our children to mosque for prayers.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

 

AA, my questions are about us taking our children to the mosques for prayers. you are requested to please send your reply in light of Quran & Sunnah:

 

i) what is the age at which we should take our children to mosque for prayers. Can we take children less than the age of 6-7 to the mosque.

 

ii) Children are a cause of noise and diturbance at time of prayer. people complain about lack of concentration etc while praying when children make noise.

 

iii) when we teach basics of living to children at age 1 - 2 years then why shall we not take them to mosque at that age so as to being them in harmony with their life to be.

 

iv) As i live in Pak. almost all the mosques/imams dont allow children if they are under 6-7 years age or in their own terms, bringing children is not recommended as they dont have any understanding of respect for mosque/prayers. Is this correct.

 

v) what is the view of Imam Abu Hanifa (Rehmat Ullah Allaih) on the issue as most of us Pakistanis follwo his sect.

 

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Answer:

 

What age to take children to mosques

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Q-1: what is the age at which we should take our children to mosque for prayers. Can we take children less than the age of 6-7 to the mosque.

Amr ibn Shu'aib related from his father that the Prophet (saws) said, "Order your children to pray when they reach the age of seven. Beat them (if necessary if they refuse to pray) when they reach the age of ten. And have them sleep separately."


Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Hakim.

 

Even though it is not obligatory upon the children to offer prescribed prayer until they reach the age of puberty (about 11-12 years), the Messenger of Allah (saws) guided the believers to encourage and at the age of ten enforce the prayers upon their children, so that a habit is formed in them from an early age. If one does not encourage or (at age 10) does not enforce their children to pray, it would be rather difficult for them to instill this absolutely obligatory habit and rite suddenly when they are adults.

 

In light of the above guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws), it would be advisable for the parents/guardians to encourage their children to accompany them to the masjids when the child has reached the age of understanding or comprehending at least the absolute minimum basic etiquettes of attending a masjidthings like he is not to urinate or release wind in the masjid, or talk, or move unnecessarily, etc. Although the age may vary according the confidence each parent has on his child to abstain from transgressing the basic etiquettes, it could be anywhere between the ages of 5-8 years.

 

Q-2: Children are a cause of noise and diturbance at time of prayer. people complain about lack of concentration etc while praying when children make noise.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 1.116 (part)

Abdullah ibn Ghanam related that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (r.a.) gathered together the people of his tribe saying, " O Tribe of Ash'ari, gather together, and gather your women and children to teach them how the Messenger of Allah (saws) prayed with us in Madinah." They all gathered to watch him perform ablution. After it, he waited until the sun had just passed the meridian and there was some shade, and then he made the adhan. He put the men in the row closest to him, the children in a row behind the men, and the women in a row behind the children.

 

Dear and beloved brother in Islam, the practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws) in setting the rows for congregational prayers was that the men formed the rows immediately behind the imam leading the prayer; then the rows of children (below the age of puberty) were formed after the rows of men; and then the rows of women after the children.

 

Although the prayer of the adults is not invalidated simply because children are standing along with the adults in prayer, if one offers prayers in a mosque where there is an arrangement made for all the children to stand in a separate row behind the adult believers, or some amongst the adult believers are uncomfortable or cannot concentrate on their prayers with the children amongst them; one must talk to their children with love and tenderness, and explain to them that it would be best if they stood in the row of children behind the adult believers in the congregational prayers.

 

It is possible that a child being a child, even after being explained by his parents the etiquettes of attending a masjid, might do something which might cause some noise or disturbance to an adult worshipper.but the adult believers must have and show some compassion and mercy for the betterment of the next generation, and unless and until the disturbance caused is absolutely unbearable and affecting their prayers severely, they should try to overlook and forgive for the greater cause of Islam; rather than displaying their anger at the child or the parents, or humiliating their brother who chose to bring their child to the masjid, or abusing or throwing the child out of the masjid!

 

Abdullah ibn Shidad relates that his father said: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) once came to us either during the noon or afternoon prayers and he was carrying Hassan or Hussain (bin Ali (r.a.)) The Prophet (saws) proceeded to the front and put him down and made the takbir for the salah. During the salah, he (saws) made a long sajdah. I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (saws) while he (saws) was in sajdah. I returned to my sajdah. When the Messenger of Allah (saws) finished the salah, the people said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah (saws), you prostrated during your salah so long that we suspected you were thinking about some matter or you were receiving some revelation.' He (saws) said: 'None of that happened but my (grand)son was resting and I hated to rush him until he had finished what he desired."'

Related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim.

 

There is an incident related in the times of the Prophet (saws), when the Prophet (saws) was once leading a prayer in congregation in the masjid, and his beloved infant grandson Al-Hasan or Al-Husayn ibn Ali (r.a.) climbed the back of the Prophet (saws) while he (saws) was in the act of prostration in prayer! Far from throwing or pushing the infant child off his back, our compassionate and merciful Prophet (saws) elongated and lengthened his prostration to the extent that he (saws) did not raise his head from his prostration until the infant had satisfied himself with his blessed ride! Such was the compassion and the mercy the Noble Prophet (saws) showed towards children!

 

Q-3: when we teach basics of living to children at age 1 - 2 years then why shall we not take them to mosque at that age so as to being them in harmony with their life to be.

In our humble opinion age 1-2 would indeed be to early, and the child might not have developed the wisdom or understanding of the basic etiquettes.but at the age of 5+, one should definitely encourage their children to accompany them at times to the masjids, so that they may be encouraged to form this blissful habit of praying from a very early age.

 

Q-4: As i live in Pak. almost all the mosques/imams dont allow children if they are under 6-7 years age or in their own terms, bringing children is not recommended as they dont have any understanding of respect for mosque/prayers. Is this correct.

It is indeed unfortunate that we as elders do not show the compassion that is needed towards our next generation, whose challenge on staying on the path of Islam will obviously be much greater than what we are faced with today!

 

Q-5: what is the view of Imam Abu Hanifa (Rehmat Ullah Allaih) on the issue as most of us Pakistanis follwo his sect.

All the eminent Imams of the past, including Imam Abu Hanifa, etc., never ever even voiced an opinion regarding the prohibition or discouraged the believers from taking their children to the masjids.

 

Unfortunately, it is only in recent times, when our ignorance, and our intolerance, and our lack of compassion and mercy towards our fellow brethren has allowed our society to dare to display such inconsideration towards our young believing children; that some amongst our brethren get away by discouraging or preventing our children from visiting the Houses of Allah!

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan


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