There is a particular need to bring children to the mosque to allow them to become accustomed to it and the way to act therein. If children are well behaved and do not distract mussalleen from their prayers by running around, shouting or otherwise acting in a manner not befitting to the environment, then IANL encourages their attendance providing:
- They are kept with their parent/guardian at all times
- They are appropriately covered
- They adhere to the etiquette of the mosque including remaining quiet at all times.
- If children are either too young or otherwise unable to adhere to the etiquette of the mosque then their attendance during congregational prayers is discouraged until such time as they are mature enough to attend without disturbing others.
- IANL recognises that parents/guardians sometimes have no choice but to bring their child or children to the mosque, eg when out shopping and seeking somewhere to pray. In these cases it is beholden upon the parent/guardian to stay with their child/children at all times to minimise any disruption to others and, if they are sufficiently old, to teach them about the etiquette of the mosque.
Please note that this guidance is applicable to both the men’s and women’s main prayer halls.
It is permissible to take children to the Masjid if they are from those who will not ruin the contents of the Masjid nor will they pollute it with their impurities or the like nor do they disturb (people in worship). As for those who do not sit in one place and they misbehave and they disturb (those who are worshipping) it is not permissible to bring them and (in addition) the children should also be kept away from the middle of the rows and the front row. And it is recommended not to leave gaps in the rows rather (we are obliged) to close them.
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds and praise and blessings be upon the Messenger Muhammad SAW, his family and all of his companions.
May Allah reward you, oh questioner for your love and concern for the Masjid. May Allah have mercy on me and you.
Children are of two types, a group who don’t ruin the furniture and contents of the Masjid (if they are bought to the Masjid) or those who may have the capacity to do it but if they are told not to do it then they will refrain from doing so and there is no harm in this group attending the masjid and it is better (advised) that they are kept next to their parents or one of the elder relatives. It is (even) possible to accompany young children below the age of 7 if they can be described as calm and would not distract the worshippers. For these we should engender the reverence of the Masjid and the importance of peace and quiet and not fidgeting in prayer all the while teaching them the etiquettes of the masjid and being patient upon (imparting) that in a way that they grow up with the love of the masjid instilled in them. We should be warned not to ban or forcibly remove any children (from the Masaajid) resulting in the Masjid becoming a hated place.
A proof of the permissibility of entering children in to the Masjid is the hadith narrated by al-Shaykhan (Bukhari & Muslim) on the authority of Abu Qatada Al Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) who said, I saw the Prophet SAW lead and Umamah the daughter of Abil ‘Aas (the daughter of Zainab the daughter of the prophet SAW) upon his shoulder when he bowed he put her down, and when he arose from sujud, he returned her (upon his shoulder).
And (similarly) the hadith that is reported by Imam Ahmed on the authority of Abu Huraira RA, who said we used to pray with the messenger of Allah SAW the ‘Isha prayer and when he went to sujud Hasan and Hussain would climb on his back, and if he raised his head he would take them with his hand from behind him gently placing them on the ground and when he would return they too would return until he had finished his prayer he would sit them down on his lap.
Imam Thrimidhi narrated that Abdullah ibn Buraidah said he heard Aba Buraidah say the prophet SAW delivered a sermon when Hassan and Hussain entered (the Masjid) both wearing red garments, they walked and looked inquisitively, the Prophet SAW descended from the Minbar and picked them and placed them in front of him then he said Allah spoke the truth! “Indeed your wealth and your children are a tribulation”[al-Quran]
And the prophet SAW would shorten (lighten) his prayer if he heard the cry of a child. The prophet SAW said “ I stand in prayer and I want to prolong (the prayer), (whereupon) I hear the cry of a child and I shorten it being fearful that there be difficulty on the mother”. (Narrated by Abu Dawud). This hadith indicates the permissibility of bringing (even) very young children to The second category are those children who ruin the Masjid and it’s contents, and they are a cause for distraction for those who pray, it does not suffice to tell them to stop. In the case of these children, it is not permissible to bring them to the Masjid. And if they were brought (to the Masjid) they should be removed because of the harm that they cause.
And perhaps this category is what is eluded to in the hadith that was narrated by Ibn Majah on the authority of Wathilah ibn Al Asq’a RA, That the prophet SAW said “Keep away from your IANL children’s attendance masajid your children, your mentally retarded, your buying and your selling, your disputation and the raising of your voices….” In the isnad is Al harith Ibn Shihaab and he is weak. Understanding this hadith to apply to this category is better than to neglect it because of the weakness in it’s chain By doing this you are combining all of the narrations mentioned in this subject and utilizing them all and Allah knows what is more correct.
These two categories were mentioned in Muwahib Al Jaleel (a text) in the Mailiki School. Al Hattab: (to bring a child providing he is not ruinous and he refrains if he is told). Ibn Farhoon said in his commentary of ibn Al Hajib “if the child is ruinous and he does not refrain if told it is not permissible because of this hadith (Keep away from your masajid your children and your mentally retarded..)”. So the condition or the permissibility of bringing them is one of two, either that he is not ruinous or that he refrains when he is told. And that which is apparent from the author (Ibn Al Haajib) is that he stops being ruinous if he enters the masjid and in the commentary of At Tuhibi who said “This means that he stops if he is prohibited before entering the masjid meaning that he is a child who obeys when he is commanded and refrains from what he is prohibited from”; because what is intended, (from these prohibitions) is to free the Masajid from child’s play in fact they are also prohibited from raising their voices even with knowledge.”
It is reported in Al Majmoo’ in the Shafi’i school “Imam as Shafi’i and his companions said that the children are commanded to attend the Masajid and the congregational prayers so that they become accustomed to it”.